Cats get extra lives

Posted: July 25, 2014

CAT EUTHANASIA numbers fell by 50 percent in June contrasted with June 2013, according to numbers posted by the Animal Care and Control Team, the city-supervised animal shelter.

In numbers, 924 cats were put to death in June 2013, contrasted with 459 last month. For the year to date, 1,351 cats have been euthanized this year, contrasted with 1,972 last year.

This is a notable achievement because the summer months are "kitten season," when many are born.

The goal remains saving every kitten that comes through ACCT's doors, says Sue Cosby, executive director. ACCT was given a big push this year through a $50,000 grant from Best Friends Animal Society that expanded the foster-care program to save kittens' lives. Under that program, volunteers care for and raise kittens in their own homes until they are ready for adoption. It is a safety valve that keeps the kittens out of the "E-room," as the euthanasia room is called.

Animals are euthanized once the shelter reaches capacity to make space for new arrivals.

Other cats are taken from the shelter by rescue groups that find new homes for the animals.

For dogs, in June of this year, 203 were euthanized, contrasted with 305 put down last year, another happy achievement. In the year to date, ACCT put down 1,095 dogs this year and 1,561 last year, the drop being a victory.

For dogs, the live-release rate peaked at 78 percent in May and has been in the 70 percent range for the year, except for January's 66 percent. A year earlier, the live-release rate ran in the 60s all year.

For cats this year, the live-release rate was in the 80 percent range - until kitten season, when the shelter got swamped. The live-release rate dropped to 77 percent in May and 70 percent in June.

"Live release" is the percentage of animals who have left the shelter alive, either to adoptive homes, rescue groups or foster care.

A decade ago, when I started writing about animal issues at the-then city shelter, the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association, the live-release rates were in the 30s and then sank as low as 11 percent. It's hard to be more miserable than that.

So, looking at those hideous old days, there is great progress, but too many homeless animals are being destroyed through no fault of their own.

There are too many homeless animals because too many animal owners do not spay or neuter their pets. They allow them to become pregnant and then drop the puppies or kittens on the city's doorstep.

Their problem becomes our problem. It is the ultimate act of callous selfishness.


Email: stubyko@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky

Blog: ph.ly/Byko

Columns: ph.ly/StuBykofsky

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