Individual stories allow us to understand how important it is to care about each individual animal. Broad statistics help us measure what is happening in communities and regions. Colorado is lucky to have mandatory reporting via PACFA (Pet Animal Control Facilities Act). The yearly statistics are extremely useful in trending the state in general, as well as individual organizations and communities.
You can find these statistics here:
Colorado took in 96,623 dogs into the shelter and rescue system last year. Over 7,000 were killed or died in the shelter.
A small percentage of these dogs may have been euthanized, if using the word correctly. The rest were killed.
If we assume that one in three dogs that did not get out of the shelter alive were truly euthanized, we still have about 5,000 dogs that were killed.
Of the 96,623 that were taken into our shelters, 17,408 were transferred in from other states.
So, we could have easily saved every healthy, treatable dog entering the Colorado shelter system if we had transferred less dogs.
Put simply, Colorado could be a No Kill state and still help our neighboring states by importing over 12,000 dogs to help them achieve our success. And we could say Colorado is the only state in the US that never kills a healthy treatable dog.
For cats the number is slightly different, but the solution may be as easy.
Of the 60,972 cats that entered our state shelter system, over 10,000 were killed or died in the shelter. A death rate of over 16%.
But getting to No Kill with cats may actually be as simple as embracing TNR for community cats. Currently, there is nothing from prohibiting a shelter from killing a feral cat that is brought in from animal control. But killing them is as costly as spay, neuter and return to where they were found. There is no way to easily identify how many cats were killed for being “feral”, but it is the most common assessment a shelter makes that ends in the killing of a healthy cat.
If this were embraced, Colorado could probably say it is the only state in the US that never kills a healthy treatable cat.
Colorado can be a No Kill State today.
Let’s start taking in one or less dogs from out-of-state for every ten lives we help. That will solve the needless killing of dogs in Colorado.
If your organization doesn’t carry out TNR for community cats, it’s time to start.
Once we reach the goal of saving EVERY healthy treatable pet, let’s help our neighbors:
- Let’s educate other communities on how we are successfully saving every pet.
- Help other communities through transfer through intake commensurate with our ability to insure the safety of the transfers in, as well as the current shelter population.
There is a caveat to transfers in state. Certain organizations have very specific missions. For instance, breed rescues might have no animals in their mission to pull in the state, this would be an acceptable transfer in state from out-of-state. A Great Dane rescue, understandably, is not going to pull a Chihuahua from a local shelter. Some other mission specific organizations may have similar exceptions.
And turning away animals in need from another community is heartbreaking, but not if it means killing an animal to receive an animal. Both lives have equal value. But the cost in money and resources to transport an animal hundreds of miles may allow you to save two right in your own community. We can save every one, and we need to start in our community and branch out to help our neighbors when we are not killing any healthy treatable pets in order to do so.
Colorado can be No Kill today. And it can start helping our neighbors to save every healthy treatable pet and be part of the movement towards a No Kill nation.