Quad-cities safest region in Arizona for homeless pets
A little more than a year ago the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) officially implemented a "no-kill" ethic. This ethic embodies a commitment to the proposition that for every animal who comes through our doors, there is a kind and loving person or family, and it is our mission to bring them together. Once this ethic was applied the practical consequences immediately began to fall into place and can be measured by three statistics animal shelters use to explain success - or failure - in reducing pet euthanasia (or killing).
1. The Live Release Rate (LRR) refers to the number of animals who get out of a shelter alive. It includes adoptions, transfers to rescue organizations and lost pets returned to their owners. Some no-kill advocates claim an 85 percent LRR is the "threshold" at which "no-kill" is achieved (conceding there will always be irremediably suffering or dangerously aggressive animals for which euthanasia is the only remedy).
Over the past year (July 2010 - June 2011), YHS maintained an 87 percent Live Release Rate. Our goal is to strive for a rate as close to 100 percent as possible.
2. The Euthanasia Rate is the inverse of the LLR and refers to the actual number of animals euthanized. Over the past year, YHS' euthanasia rate fell 68 percent (533 compared to 1,663 the prior year). This difference (1,110) represents three additional lives saved every day of the year!
3. The Per Capita Rate refers to the number of animals killed per 1,000 residents. For instance, if a community of 500,000 people kills 5,000 dogs and cats per year, you divide 5,000 animals by 500 to determine a kill rate of 10 animals per 1,000 residents. The per capita rate allows an objective "apples to apples" comparison to other communities.
For the past 18 years "Animal People" magazine has issued an analysis of U.S. shelter killing. This year's report reveals U.S. shelters are killing fewer cats and dogs per 1,000 Americans than at any time since relevant annual data began being collected nearly 50 years ago. The report found the national kill rate fell to 11.3 animals per 1,000 Americans compared to 13.5 in 2010.
In 2010, YHS euthanized 17.25 animals per 1,000 residents; a substantially higher rate than the national average. However, over the past year, ending June 30, the YHS euthanasia rate plummeted to 3.7 - making western Yavapai County the safest region in Arizona for pets living in communities that share this data. Phoenix/Maricopa County reported a 13.9 kill rate; Tucson/Pima County came in at 25.3; and Mohave County killed 33.5 animals per 1,000 human residents.
While YHS is gratified by our progress, we are convinced we can do better - but we'll need your help. If you want to play a role in further transforming our community into Arizona's most humane society follow these five steps:
1. License your dog and microchip your pets. YHS has one of the highest "return to owner" rates in the nation (68 percent). When you license and microchip your pet you help reduce the number of lost pets killed. You can obtain a license and microchip at the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic located at 2989 Centerpointe East, Prescott on any Friday without an appointment.
2. Obey the leash law. Don't allow your pet to run at large, especially if not spayed or neutered. Keep your cats indoors.
3. Spay/neuter all your pets. Pets should be spayed or neutered before sexual maturity. Call the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic (771-0547) to make an appointment today.
4. Become a YHS member by making a life-saving donation. Consider YHS in your planned giving and let us know when you include us.
5. Join the YHS volunteer program. Your involvement brings new energy and expertise to our organization and will make a big difference in the lives of the animals and people in our community. Consider volunteering at our Thrift Shop, too!
Call or email me if you have questions or ideas about how you can help. Thank you to everyone who helped achieve this past year's success!
Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.