AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin may be the largest no-kill city in the country, but Texas doesn’t have that high a distinction. In 2018, the state had the highest number of cats and dogs killed in its shelters, 114,000 animals, more than any other state in the country. This is according to bestfriends.org, a non-profit which collects data from shelters across the US.
An easy way to understand how a community is doing is to look at their save rate, this is the percentage of pets saved from euthanasia in an area. In 2018, Austin had a 95% save rate while Texas had only a 72% save rate. That means only 72% of animals that enter a shelter in Texas survived.
There’s good news: some major cities are making huge strides in increasing their save rate. San Antonio has a save rate of 91%, Houston 83% and Dallas has reported over a 90% save rate for several months in a row.
Delaware, a no-kill state
What can we do in Texas to help improve these numbers? Let’s look at Delaware, where they announced this weekend that the entire state has reached no-kill status. How did they do it? First, they instituted trap-neuter-return or trap-neuter-release. A program also done right here in Central Texas. Feral cats and dogs are taken in by a shelter, neutered and returned to the wild. Cats are killed at twice the rate as dogs So in Delaware, they focus TNR efforts on feral felines…
Also, mega adoption events take away the need for home visits which can be time consuming and costly. Free vaccine clinics and emergency veterinary funds are provided for low income families. Finally, the state offers behavioral classes for dogs that might get returned to the shelters for acting up.