On Tuesday County Commissioners voted to adopt a no-kill policy that is designed to save more animals at the Manatee County animal shelter. The goal is that by December 2012 the county will adopt or foster 90 percent of the animals that come into animal services, while increasing the spay and neuter rate across the county.
The no-kill policy was adopted without an increase in the county's animal services budget. Advocates and Manatee County Animal Services worked on this for more than three years and hoped that eventually the county could serve as an example to other communities around the country.
It took one day. See the following letter sent via e-mail to Carol Whitmore, chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission:
Hi Ms. Whitmore,
My name is Karen Lawson and I volunteer at our animal shelter in Douglas County, Georgia. I've been working with a group of people at our Humane Society in an effort to improve the conditions at our shelter. We are also trying to formulate a plan to someday make our shelter a no-kill facility.
I was very impressed when I read the article about your county striving to become no-kill eventually while gradually reducing the euthanasia's that take place in the meantime.
The portion of the article that really caught my eye was the fact that the plan can lower costs to the county and possibly increase revenue while not requiring additional funding.
Although we have rescues that pull from our shelter each Monday (Tues are euthanasia days), most of them can only take 4-5 animals and our facility holds probably 100 + animals at a time. They are euthanizing about 10-15 dogs a week. I'm not sure of the number of cats. At one point a few months ago, they euthanized 60 animals on one Tuesday alone.
We have volunteers that work furiously to beat the clock, photographing and posting on FB, email blasts, etc, begging people to come forward and adopt, foster, or otherwise rescue. One Friday I photographed about 11 dogs with wonderful personalities only to discover that on Tuesday several of the sweetest ones were euthanized.
Our biggest obstacles to any suggestions we have made for improved conditions and lower euthanasia rates have been the cost to the county, the mindsets of most of our commissioners that it is cheaper and easier to euthanize rather than take steps to make improvements to the facility, along with citizens who aren't interested in the welfare of animals complaining about any costs involved.
If we could present our case in a way that is beneficial to our county and community by saving money, I believe we could bring our commissioners on board with our plan and really make a difference in the lives of so many animals
languishing in our shelter.
Would you be willing to share a portion of your plan with us? It seems that you have some great ideas that are coming to fruition.
Thank you so much,