Amarillo, TX - More pets are now leaving Amarillo's local shelter than are being euthanized.
It's a trend Amarillo Management and Welfare Director Richard Havens said has everything to do with recent changes.
Last year, the deadly canine disease distemper was rampant in the community and at the city's shelter. Havens came in as the new director and made sanitation and animal health top priorities. Havens said because of recent efforts, euthanasia rates are now at an all time low.
A new seamless floor and wall system is replacing the old, cracked and peeling kennel walls, a new fan system is keeping fresh air flowing into the inside kennels, and a new ceiling coating is also now insulating those kennels. Plus, every animal that comes into the shelter is vaccinated.
Havens said he is already seeing results. "Through the increased sanitation and through all the facility improvements, we have seen a drastic reduction in the amount of stress that we're seeing within the animals. That leads to a healthier animal, both physically and mentally. People like that and so do the rescues."
About 60 percent of animals that come into the shelter are now leaving with an owner or a rescue group. "We have made tremendous progress. We have a phenomenal team that has embraced the change and embraced the training," said Havens.
More changes are on the way. In two months, the shelter will have its very own in-house veterinarian. A new software program also promises progress. It will share data between the shelter and the Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society so pets don't get lost in the system. "Whether a pet is going for adoption, or to a rescue or whether they are going to stay in the kennel, both organizations can see exactly what is going on with that animal," said Havens.
Havens said his goal is to continue regaining the trust of the community and adopting as many pets as possible.