P1 - LCG Animal Shelter

A bit of good news for local fans of the good puppy dog and tolerable kitty cat — Lee County Government’s Animal Services announced today a “dramatic drop” in the euthanasia rate at the county animal shelter.

The county reports that the euthanasia rate [also known as “putting the animals to sleep”] for the past six months is at 3 percent, compared to 22 percent for the same time period last year. In other words, this is the percentage of animals at the local shelter that are put down instead of adopted or transferred to a no-kill shelter for adoption. According to the county, the euthanasia rate in Lee County hovered around 65 percent a decade ago.

 “Staff at the shelter work with limited resources to ensure the health and safety of the animals in their care, increase the rate of pet adoptions and provide information and educational resources to the public to improve the overall health of the county’s pet population,” said LCG Health Department Director Heath Cain.

He said the better numbers are the result of policy changes made in 2010 that moved the responsibility of enforcement for the county’s animal services to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

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“The collaborative partnership has allowed Animal Services staff to shift focus and resources to outreach and education efforts that help to improve the health and safety of Lee County’s pet population,” the County said in a press release today.

Relationships with animal rescue organizations have also been a key factor helping to drive pet adoption success at the shelter.

“We work with animal rescues of all sizes throughout North Carolina and several from out-of-state,” said Omayra Zagada, Animal Services supervisor.

Zagada has made developing relationships with rescue organizations a priority to help increase adoption rates at the shelter. The shelter has also begun piloting a pet fostering program that allows shelter animals the opportunity to gain basic training and socialization skills that help increase their chances for adoption.

Cain said he is optimistic that adoption rates will continue to rise at the shelter, thereby holding euthanasia rates at record lows.