Community Progress: 2017

Wichita Falls Euthanasia

 

Each year, we anxiously await the numbers from our Animal Services Center and the Humane Society. While P.E.T.S. works to end the unnecessary deaths of dogs and cats, we also lessen the burden on Animal Services and the Humane Society. The data they collect shows us how we’re doing.

We love what we do, and we love your support in getting it done, but day to day, it becomes easy to imagine that our impact is not substantial. We see litters from those who breed dogs, dogs dumped in the country, cats left behind during a move, and we hear and are a part of stories that might make your blood curdle.

This is why we look forward to the numbers. They are a reminder that what the clinic is working towards, what we are all working towards, is not an unreachable goal.

Thanks to your donations, volunteer work, and getting the word out, it is our great pleasure to announce that the intake of unwanted pets decreased dramatically last year. In 2016, Animal Services and the Humane Society took in 4,746 dogs and cats locally, and 2,131 were put down. In 2017, that number dropped to 3,678 with 1,761 put down.

Here’s a breakdown of the last 7 years:

Year2011201220132014201520162017
Taken In5568585052814925498447463678
Euthanized3104325225912944253821311761
Percent Euthanized56%56%49%60%50%44%47%

 

You can see the euthanasia rate increased slightly from 2016 to 2017 but numbers are tricky. In 2016, only 44% of the unwanted pets were euthanized but that still equated to 2131 animals. In 2017, even at 47%, only 1761 cats and dogs were euthanized.

Outside of all you make possible at P.E.T.S., this record-breaking decrease is thanks to our local community pet services, rescues, and everyone who donates and volunteers to save dogs and cats. 496 dogs were pulled from Animal Services by the Humane Society and P.E.T.S. Underdog Express.

That is a substantial number and not easy to pull off. Not only does the Animal Services Director have to manage relationships, arrange transport, and handle out of city rescues, but local rescues and the P.E.T.S. Underdog Express program rely solely on donations, adoption fees, and grant money to save these pets. Adoptions are on the rise all over town, and Animal Services is no exception. They saved 477 pets through their adoption program in 2017.

This also gives the Humane Society and P.E.T.S. Underdog Express the opportunity to pull at-risk dogs from surrounding communities like Young County, Jacksboro, and Mineral Wells. The Humane Society has not had to euthanize any animals in 2 months. They only had to put down 30 Wichita County pets in all of 2017. Their efforts have also saved 391 pets outside of our area that would have otherwise been killed.

These numbers are an inspiration, and they are a thrilling sign of progress. We cannot forget, however, that they still indicate a community where only 50% of these animals make it out alive. Especially when the numbers are broken down, as the euthanasia rate for cats is 71%.

Before P.E.T.S., over 10,000 unwanted animals were taken in every year, and over 90% were put down. While the progress is tremendous, we still have 315 unwanted dogs and cats taken in each month. That is 11 every day of the week.

Are we making progress? Yes! Do we still have a serious and devastating problem? YES! What can YOU do about it? A lot!

Spay and Neuter. Rescuing is important work. These dogs and cats exist because of our carelessness, and they deserve help. Without spaying and neutering, however, we simply cannot keep up with the homeless pet issue. The only solution to pet overpopulation is spaying and neutering. That means we must educate those who do not understand. One extra litter is a problem. That is at around 7 homes that will no longer have a place for unwanted animals. One unaltered male and female, and their unaltered litters can produce 144,000 offspring in six years. If you do not like the idea of putting down “extra” animals, fix your pets, and help spread the word!

Adopt! Breeders would not breed if there was no one to buy their litters. Even if the puppy or kitten is in horrible shape and at a reduced price because of issues, the buyer is not “saving” them. That still puts money into the breeder’s pocket. 30% of shelter pets are purebred and there is a rescue with pets waiting for every breed. If you do not like the idea putting down “extra” animals, adopt!

Stop shaming the animal welfare groups and facilities. It is NEVER the Animal Services Center’s fault for euthanizing. Everyone got into this work because of a passion. Many are volunteers and even paid employees are not getting rich. We do what we do because we love it. Usually, nonprofits exist because there is a breakdown in our community somewhere, whether it is homelessness, domestic violence, or more. In a perfect world, there would be no need for animal shelters or human shelters.

Stop typing “shared.” Instead, just share the post. There is no doubt that making sure everyone sees posts related to fundraising, lost dogs, and events is helpful. But comments like, “Shared,” or “We already have two dogs,” are just making it harder to get to helpful comments.

Donate and/or Volunteer! Put your time and energy into helping all of us reach our goal. Help put us out of business! Give money. Your donations save lives. We would be nothing without all of you that donate. Transport pets to rescues. Foster an animal and create space for a new one. If you have time to criticize you have time to help. Choose to focus your energy on doing something positive.

I am very proud of what our community has accomplished, but I am not content. We are grateful to all of the animal welfare groups that give their blood, sweat and tears fixing a problem they do not create or contribute to. We are grateful we have the Animal Services Center and the Humane Society. Without them, unwanted pets would just be dumped, shot, suffer, or starve. Our community is better than that. We are also better than 3678 unwanted pets annually. Let’s prove it!

I challenge you to make 2018 the year, you step up! Do one thing you don’t normally do that will help us save more lives. If you already donate, donate more! If you have never fostered a pet, foster one time. If you have never volunteered, volunteer one single day. Let 2018 be the year you find your voice. Say something when your friend wants to buy a puppy. Speak up when your family member wants to breed. They may not know any better. You could change that. The only difference between 3678 unwanted pets and 100 is YOU! It is time to get to work. All of us already fighting the fight are doing everything we can. What are you going to do this year?

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