My article today on how the County Animal Shelter decides whether to euthanize an animal mentioned a big trend from the 1990s to reduce the number of procedures. The shelter euthanized about 30,000 animals in 1999 and 6,200 last year.

Dawn Danielson, director of the Department of Animal Services, said the county created a number of programs that have helped reduce the number of euthanized animals. Here are a few:

  • Spay/Neuter Program: All animals adopted for the county’s shelters are spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The shelter also provides coupons to people to help pay for the surgery, and a financial incentive to have animals get the operation before they are reclaimed by owners.
  • Increased work with rescue groups: The shelter works with more than 114 adoption partners to help place animals with owners who can manage any problems. The partners do not pay for the animals. About 47 percent of animals that leave the shelter are taken by these rescue groups.
  • Adoption incentives: If people adopt a dog or cat that is five years or older, the animal is half price. Seniors get them with no adoption fee. People can also adopt one kitten and get the second free.
  • Microchips and technology: The shelter’s website is updated automatically with an animal’s basic information and a picture. Owners are notified by phone and by mail. All animals are scanned for identifying microchips initially, and then multiple times later. Microchips cost $20 but all cats may receive microchips in October for free.

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