Saturday, June 04, 2011

No-Kill - By the Numbers - Update

The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) has completed eleven months since implementing its “no-kill ethic”. This ethic embodies our 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.

Many ask what effect our “no-kill ethic” has had in the lives of the animals in our care. There are three numbers that animal shelters use to explain their success, or failure, in reducing pet euthanasia (or killing).

1. The Live Release Rate (LRR): This number refers to the animals who get out of a shelter alive. It includes adoptions, transfers to rescue organizations, and lost pets returned to their owners. Some animal shelter experts claim anything over an 85% LRR can be considered “no-kill”.

Since July 2010, YHS has maintained an 87% Live Release Rate (compared to 71% for the same evelven months a year earlier).

2. The Euthanasia Rate: This number is the inverse of the LLR and reports the actual number of animals euthanized.

Since July 2010, YHS’ euthanasia rate fell 67%. This difference represents three additional lives saved each and every day.

Without question, the above numbers are cause for celebration. However, they don’t explain how YHS compares to other communities. The next number does, which is why I suspect so many shelters avoid talking about it:

3. The Per Capita Rate: This number 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 (groups of 1,000 residents) to determine a kill rate of 10 animals per 1,000 residents. The per capita rate provides an objective “apples to apples” comparison to other communities.

ANIMAL PEOPLE magazine issues an annual National Shelter Killing Report based on this number. In the 2009 report, the national kill rate average was 13.5 animals per 1,000 U.S. residents.

In 2009, YHS euthanized 17.25 animals per 1,000 residents; sadly, a substantially higher rate than the national average.

However, over the past 12 months (June 2010 - May 2011) the YHS kill rate fell to 4.7, well below the national average; thanks to applying the “no-kill ethic”.  This is using the number of animals killed (700) divided by the 2010 Census number of 146,000.

Clearly, YHS has come a long way - from 17.25 to 4.7; but just as clearly, we have a long way yet to go. To create a “no-kill community” requires all of us to play our part as responsible pet owners.

Here is the Top Five List for how you can help transform our community into a truly humane society:

1. License your dog and microchip your pets. YHS has one of the highest “Return to Owner” rates in the nation (68%). When your pet comes to YHS with a current license or microchip he has a guaranteed ticket home.

2. Obey the leash law. Don’t allow your pet to run at large, especially if not spayed or neutered.

3. Spay/Neuter all your pets. Pets should be spayed or neutered before sexual maturity. Call the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic to make an appointment today!

4. Become a YHS Member by making a live saving donation. Consider YHS in your Planned Giving strategies.

5. Join the YHS Volunteer Organization. Your involvement brings new energy and expertise to our organization and will make a big difference in the lives of the animals and people of Yavapai County.

Call 928.455.2666 Ext. 21 if you have questions or ideas about how you can help. Together we can make Yavapai County the safest community in Arizona for our pets.