In 2009, the shelter killed 3,114 dogs and cats (1821 dogs, 1293 cats) - which is way more than the 100 per month they said they need to save in order to get to no kill. We don't know where this "100 per month" number comes from but KCMO impounded approximately 7500 dogs and cats this year. The 90% save rate required to reach "No Kill" status would mean we save 6750 of them, needing to increase true adoptions by 200 per month.
There are also a couple of city laws and policies that are making it much harder for Kansas City to achieve its no kill goal.
Mandatory Spay/Neuter of all "pit bulls"
In August of last year, the city instituted a "performance standard" that required animal control officers to meet a quota of impounding a minimum of 20 animals each month. In the first 7 months of the year, animal control officers averaged bringing in 303 dogs each month. In the final 5 months, it was 338 dogs per month. So with the 'new performance standards', city animal control officers brought in 35 more animals per month that Half Way Homes had to handle and adopt out -- that's an additional 420 dogs a year. While some of these additional dogs are a good thing (additional cruelty/neglect charges, strays picked up), a large number of them are a cause for concern.
It is possible, and even likely, that we could have cut shelter euthanasia by over 500 dogs just by eliminating these two policies.
If the shelter is going to have sustained success, it is not going to be enough to just adopt our way out of it -- we're going to have to minimize impounds as well. This means we need to keep up with aggressive low cost spay/neuter programs (Kansas City is fortunate to have a great low cost spay/neuter program in Spay/Neuter Kansas City) AND getting rid of policies and laws that are taking animals out of homes. And with the current 'performance standards" it will be virtually impossible for us to ever see a decrease in impounds.
In order to do this, we need not just the shelter doing its job, we need civic help as well --and we hope that animal control and the city council will work with us to get rid of these policies that are leading to increased shelter killing.
While great strides have been made now is not the time to sit on our laurels. We're still a long way from no kill and it is important that the city maintain the contract of a privatized shelter so we can build on that success. While it is not imperative that Half Way Homes keep the contract, we cannot allow the city to take control of the shelter back. Regardless of who runs the shelter, we cannot expect them to solely adopt our way to no kill. It is also important that the city leaders and the public know exactly where we stand in our quest to become a no kill city, so we can take the necessary steps to improve things further.The privatized shelter is a good first step. Improving animal control policies is a necessary next one.