Wichita sharply reduces shelter pet euthanasia rate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Changing policies and a better relationship with animal advocates has helped the Wichita Animal Control Department reduce the euthanasia rate of shelter dogs and cats by about two-thirds in the last eight years, according to city officials.

In 2009, the city euthanized 6,300 unwanted dogs and cats. The number steadily dropped to a low of 2,000 in 2016, according to a report given to the City Council this week, The Wichita Eagle reported.

“We’re doing better,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We’re not just killing people’s pets at the same rate we used to. And I love to see that kind of improvement.”

The decline can be attributed to a closer relationship with the Humane Society and rescue groups, and a new policy to keep the animals alive twice as long as the state requires, said Wichita police Capt. Michael Allred, who runs the Animal Control Department.

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The state requires shelters to hold pets for a minimum of three days but Wichita has decided to keep the animals for six days before euthanasia is considered, he said.

Technology also has helped by giving pet owners a way to search for them online of via a mobile app, making it easier to find their pets and reclaim them, Allred said.

The report said 94 percent of dogs and puppies that came into the shelter last years were either reclaimed, adopted to a new home or put in foster care, the report said. That’s an improvement from 53 percent in 2009.

Only 57 percent of shelter cats are reclaimed or saved but that save rate is nearly triple the 20 percent in 2009, the report said.

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The city shelter receives between 9,500 and 10,500 animals a year, Allred said.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com