OUTCOME REPORT for Pima Animal Care Center: A cause for celebration and more need to focus
The outcome data for the fiscal year ending June30, 2016 is mostly encouraging, including slight improvements the second half of the year over the first half.
Compared to the same period one year ago, adoptions increased from 49% to 55% overall (61% for cats) and the Live Release Rate increased from 78% to 81%. PACC reports a Modified Live Release Rate ** without including owner requested euthanasia- and for this period that modified live release rate was 89%!
This graph represents the outcomes for 18,266 live cats and dogs who came to PACC between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 and had outcome information posted by July 25, 2016.
Important improvements this year:
The MODIFIED** Live Release Rate has reached 89% (does not include owner’s requested euthanasia)
The percentage of adoptions continues to make great strides, achieving 55%. AND while the number of adoptions went up by 800 this year, the number of returns went down by 30. Returns are those animals brought back to the shelter within 30 days of an adoption.
Offsite adoptions doubled to at least 1,780 this year.
A new program offers a new option to cats that are unable to be handled and previously lived outdoors. The Working Cat Program relocated close to 60 cats this year. They are placed in barns, ranches or warehouses where they work to keep their space free of pests!
Focusing in on the Live Release Rate
The percent of owner requests for euthanasia who were actually put down leveled off this year at 76%. That means PACC is evaluating those requests and about 1/4 are deemed to be unnecessary requests. Those animals are part of the live outcome. For a comparison, in fy 2013, 97% of those requests were honored.
On the other hand the number of those requests for euthanasia had been declining every 6 months until this period when we had a 2% increase in euthanasias that that was logged as owner request for euthanasia. This is something we will continue to monitor.
As we get closer to our goal of saving the saveable we need to identify who those dogs and cats are that still need our help and seek solutions to those challenges. Which animals had treatable medical conditions or behavioral issues that may have been addressed and corrected?
For the dogs, the behavioral challenges are considered the last major gap in the No Kill Equation in Pima County. This year the County has been planning to add a full time position, with part time help, to focus on behavioral assessment and intervention.
For the cats, and many dogs as well, the biggest challenge is some particular medical conditions that the shelter is not able to handle and the animals can quickly deteriorate if they are not moved to a home where they can get proper treatment. PACC currently does not have true isolations areas (though the new shelter will, including a parvo ward, in the current plans) and also does not have certain medications or procedures readily available. Problems such as ringworm in cats continues to be a serious problem if not removed from the shelter by fosters or rescues.
Fortunately more and more medical conditions are no longer preventing animals from being available for adoption. Where once an upper-respiratory infection meant an animal was destroyed, now even FIV+ and FELV cats are being adopted. And in fact even a few animals with untreatable illnesses who can live comfortably are finding hospice services with community rescue organizations.
The percent of animals who died in their kennel, in foster care, en route to the shelter or at a vet is higher for cats than for dogs. Actually, even though the number of dogs that came into the shelter is more than double that of cats, two thirds of those who died were cats (222). The data reviewed indicates more than half of the cats who died were underage and most were in foster care. Is there more that can be done to help these fosters and these kittens?
As we focus on these medical challenges we also note that only 7% of cats went to rescue though that number did increase since the first half of the fiscal year. More of the treatable cats could be helped if the shelter and community can develop more rescue resources to meet their needs.
**Understanding the Modified Live Release Rate
PACC and many shelters in the country report their Live Release Rate without including those that were brought to the shelter specifically for euthanasia services for untreatable conditions.
PACC provides a low cost ($15) community service for humane euthanasia. Some argue that is not the best use of resources for the county shelter while others believe the animals and their owners need a resource such as this so the pets are not left to suffer. Regardless of the debate, it is important that the shelter evaluate these animals as records and observations have shown that people brought perfectly healthy animals to the shelter to be destroyed. In 2012 and 2013 requests for euthanasia which were hovering at a 99% death rate and as recent as the year ending June, 2014, 25% of the documented reasons for the request had nothing to do with the pet being sick, old or dangerous. PACC’s Live Release report also does not include euthanized animals that were already at the shelter when they developed or identified an untreatable condition and notified the owner who asked to have the animal put down. Those are often dogs that were quarantined for biting.
We hope you will consider what you might do to achieve a no kill community
No Kill Pima County believes there is significant room for more community involvement, particularly with rescues whose role has been diminished over the past two years. While the shelter’s foster program began during these years and improved efforts at special needs adoptions, the numbers do not compensate for lower rescue numbers and indeed should only have been ADDED to those rescues numbers. NKPC hopes to support efforts from within the shelter and in the community to nurture those collaborations.