Nearly nine of out 10 shelter animals at the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society now avoid euthanasia, either finding placement in homes, returning to their original owners or transferring to other organizations.
A “live release rate” of 88 percent, the highest in the organization’s recorded history, is among the data recently released by the group, which is due to move this summer into a new, 32,000-square foot facility next to its current 18,000-square foot home in Menands.
Euthanasia dropped 70 percent over the last decade, the group reports. The current rate is the best since the 130-year-old organization started keeping data in the early 1990s, said President and CEO Brad Shear. Back then, he said, “they had a live release rate in the neighborhood of 40 percent.” By 2007 it had hit the low 60s.
According to a press release, 4,278 animals were saved at the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society in 2016. It attributes the uptick in live release to several factors, including standards of sanitation and veterinary care; adoption counseling for future pet owners; an expanded network of volunteers and foster homes; and improved tools and methods to help return lost pets to their owners.
A total of 400 were returned in 2016.
In general, Shea said, the society has ramped up its efforts at promoting adoption. “We’re very focused on making sure that animals are continuously moving through our system and become available for adoption — and get adopted quickly,” he said.
In addition, attitudes have changed — among the public and shelters both — toward adoption of older animals or animals with medical conditions. Twenty years ago, most assumed that only perfectly healthy pets were adoptable, he said. “And we just had a 14-year-old deaf chihuahua with a heart murmur find a home.”
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