2016 sees less euthanasia, more animal rescue in Amarillo

2016 sees less euthanasia, more animal rescue in Amarillo
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

Thousands more animals were given new chances at life this year compared to 2015 thanks to the efforts of Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare and the Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society.

Animal officials are ecstatic to see their live release rate increased by 15% over the past year.

Almost 2000 fewer animals were euthanized in 2016 than in 2015.

But it's not because more animals are getting reclaimed or adopted.

The humane society has been working hard to get animals to out-of-state rescues that have a need and want for adoptable animals.

Almost 1600 more animals left through these rescues this year than last year.

"These animals are going to other communities. If it was not for these other communities this facility would not have a live release rate that we're looking at today," said Richard Havens, Director of Animal Management & Welfare.

There have been fewer owner surrenders this year, but more stray dogs have been brought to the shelter.

Havens said those two things go hand-in-hand, because when the shelter is at capacity they have to turn owner surrenders away.

"When someone shows up and we're saying we're at capacity and they say okay, they go out to the country and dump [their animals]," said Havens. "That puts the problem on someone else and that's what happened. We saw surrenders go way down and strays go way up."

And waiving reclaim fees has not made a huge difference for reuniting pets with their owners.

"For well over half the year we have waved reclaim fees due to construction out here that has impacted housing abilities," said Havens. "Statistically it has shown that it has not increased our reclaim numbers."

Those fees will be reinstated January 1, 2017.

The slight increase in reclaim numbers this can be attributed to increase in rescue efforts here and in other states.

"But it's not their job to clean up our problem," said Havens. "Amarillo needs to step up to the bat and start looking at more progressive ways to start fixing this problem."

Animal officials are working to make spay and neuter more accessible to Amarillo pet owners, and are considering a breeding ordinance to help control the city's animal population.

You can help clean out the shelter New Year's Eve at an all-day adoption event at the shelter at 3501 S. Osage.

Adoption fees will be lowered for certain animals.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lot of animals are there waiting to find their forever homes.

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