On January 1, our group, the KC Pet Project, took over control of the Kansas City, MO Animal Shelter. I'll talk more about that in a minute, but first, I wanted to discuss the evolution and improvements at the shelter over the years.
Here are the numbers over the past 6 years at the KCMO shelter:
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Intake: 10,441 10,949 8,273 7,202 7,251 6,128
Adopted/trans: 2,144 2,269 2,182 3,069 3,464 3,335
RTO: 1,040 1,397 939 879 931 695
Euthanized: 6,958 6,769 4,912 3,101 2,722 1,975
Live Release Rate: 34% 38% 40% 57% 63% 68%
Here are some notes that will help some of the numbers make sense:
1) I've combined Adopted/Transferred because over the past 6 years there have been 3 different managers - and some have called transfers to rescues "transfers" and some have included them as "adoptions" -- so I just grouped them for easier comparison.
2) In 2006 and 2007 intake was VERY high in large part due to the city's passing Mandatory Spay/Neuter for Pit bulls (which increased their impounds and euthanasia) and because they had a large number of animal control officers on the streets.
3) In 2008, the city cut the number of animal control officers significantly and intake decreased.
4) In 2009, the city hired a private contractor to run the city shelter -- which they did for most of 2009, all of 2010, and the first quarter of 2011. Under the private management, adoptioins and transfers increased dramatically.
5) Throughout the entire time, aggressive low cost spay/neuter programs and owner retention programs.
When KC Pet Project took over, we also got a firm commmitment from the city to include other things that would lower intake. Pit bulls can no longer be confiscated for not being spayed or neutered and animals are not to be confiscated for being over the pet limit. There will also no longer be Animal Control Quotas for minimum number of impounds that existed for many parts of the past 5 years.
These are all great things to help keep animals out of the shelter in the first place. However, this is still a city with 500,000 residents, so some animals will continue to make their way to our 40 year old, outdated shelter. As the new management of the shelter, we're committed to finding ways to get new homes for all of these animals.
We started off with a lot of fanfare last week. On January 1, we had a small ribbon cutting ceremony and many adoptions. But more adoptions were needed. We opened that first day with 277 animal at the shelter -- 207 dogs (with a "real" shelter capacity for dogs of about 120). Even with a solid first day, we needed animals out. So we extended our $20.12 adoption special all week long.
The public responded. In our first 8 days, we were able to find 181 animals new homes.
Success is short lived though as we take in enough animals every 10 days to fill up the entire shelter. This will be an adventure as we try to take a shelter that has a reputation as being a high kill shelter (which, until recently it was), to one that people consider coming to adopt their pets. The shelter is in a horrible location, so we will be continuing to find new places for people to see our adoptable pets. It may be a painful road at times, but success is eminent.