The Duluth Animal Shelter and Animal Allies Humane Society are announcing a joint goal of not euthanizing a single healthy animal starting this year.
When Duluth Animal Control Officer Carrier Lane took her job in the early ’90s, the conditions she found at the city animal shelter were nothing short of deplorable, she said.
Animals were rarely let out of their cages, weren’t being spayed and neutered, and a dozen — if not dozens of — healthy animals were euthanized each day.
“That was easily the hardest part of the job,” Lane said.
But things have improved so much that the shelter and Animal Allies Humane Society are announcing a joint goal of not euthanizing a single healthy animal starting this year.
“If we can make that part of our job go away,” Lane said, “that would really help us. And separate from us, it’ll be good for the animals.”
That may not seem like such a challenge, but nationally the rate of animals euthanized at shelters can be up to 40 percent for dogs and 70 percent for cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Euthanizing healthy animals at one point was a major problem in Duluth, said Animal Allies executive director Jim Filby Williams, who said about 25 years ago that 1,500 were euthanized in a single year. Last year, the number was 59.
The total of euthanized animals last year, 344, is thought to be a record low for the city.