City’s animal euthanization rate goes down

Thousands of animals are found in Tallahassee neighborhoods every year. Next, they are placed in the city’s Animal Service Center, hoping that this critical step will aid them in finding a new home.

However, Tallahassee animal shelter officials say they need help increasing adoption rates and to limit the number of animals euthanized every month.

According to Tallahassee shelter statistics, in 2019, at least 23.4 percent of these sheltered animals were euthanized. Although this rate is lower than what it has been in the past, the Tallahassee Animal Services director, Erika Leckington, hopes that this frequency will decrease with the help of people in the community.

“We are always looking to improve because we are looking to decrease the number of animals coming in by helping people provide more resources for their animals so that they can take responsible care of them,” she said.

About 4,929 cats, dogs and other animals enter the kennel every year. The annual goal for the shelter is to decrease the intake of animals and find homes and healthy environments for the pets they already have. The shelter is making adjustments in efforts to decrease these rates. The HART program is just one way they plan to cut these numbers in half.

“We always want to be the last resort for any animal in the community; 2019 was our best year ever because we were able to save over 78 percent of the animals that came to us, “ Leckington said.

The HART program aims to neurter dogs back to health through heartworm assistance and rehabilitation training. This will allow people more variety when picking a new furry friend for their family because fewer of the caged dogs at the shelter will have health concerns.

Thomas Muffley, a local dog rescuer, says that pets don’t deserve to be locked up. If you visit the shelter, he said, you might get lucky and find a cool friend, just like Max, his beloved pup.

“You can go spend an afternoon. Take your kids with you, go to the shelter,” Muffley said. “Take the dogs for a walk and get them out of that environment they’re caged up in.”

Leckington says that there are many ways for pet owners and the rest of the community to get involved in lowering the number of intakes. By taking a few measures of precaution, the city will be able to rescue fewer animals and house more of them instead.

“Spaying and neutering your animals, making sure they report it as lost as soon as it does go missing; making sure that your animal is microchipped and obviously helping us out to reunite animals as well,” she said.

Visit the Tallahassee Animal Shelter or its website to find out how you can help.