Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Even With a 78 Percent Kill Rate, The Animal Shelter is the Way to Go

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 5:00 AM

The Tennessean has a great story about the kill rate at Metro Animal Care and Control, which is depressingly high.

A spokesman with the Metro Health Department, which oversees the city’s animal control program, said though its euthanasia rate is high, it is improving.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, Metro impounded 10,290 animals, of which 8,058 were euthanized, a 78 percent death rate. The previous year, though, the percentage was even higher, with 10,933 animals impounded and 8,867 were killed — a rate of 81 percent.

East Nashville resident Sarah Martin and other activists say that lackluster funding is part of the culprit.

Petition supporters are calling for increased funding for the city’s $1.8 million animal control program to shore up the program’s workforce and space.

“There are steps that can be taken that could lower the euthanasia rate immediately,” Martin said.

I just would like to add one thing — from a slightly different angle, living, as I do, out where people dump their unwanted pets. Yes, 78 percent is a high number. And yes, if you drop your pet off at the pound, it has a three in four chance of dying. But it will die quickly in a painless fashion.

When you dump your unwanted pets out in the "country" (and people, if you're not getting even as far out as Old Hickory Boulevard, you are not in the country), you are all but guaranteeing that they will suffer immensely and die. They don't live happy carefree lives being feral. At best, one of my neighbors shoots them. At worst, they get injured and suffer until they succumb to their injuries or to predators. But the most heartbreaking ones are the animals that keep coming back to the road, running up to cars, hoping that one of them is your evil ass.

The ones that keep coming back for you die fairly quickly. Someone hits them and then they rot in the bike lane.

It's depressing as hell. If you cannot care for your animal for whatever reason, you have an obligation to place it with someone who can, or to turn it over to someone who will either try to find it a home or kill it in a merciful manner. That is the least you owe that animal.

So, yes, the kill rate at our shelter is terrible. But the kill rate of people who just ditch their animals is much, much worse. So as we're working to lower the shelter kill rate, let's not forget about encouraging people to use shelters to begin with.

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