Shelter euthanizes fewer adoptable animals in 2014

Published 9:21 am Friday, December 26, 2014

NW1224 Animal Shelter Anniversary A 4x5C

One year ago, the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter moved from its old facility to its new home just a few lots down on Sycamore Shoals Drive.
Shelter manager April Jones said the year has seen many improvements in the time the shelter has been in its new building.
One major change is that Jones says the shelter has not had to euthanize a healthy, sociable cat or dog since Dec. 18, 2013.
“The last time we had to euthanize a healthy, adoptable pet was when the veterinarian came the last time at the old building,” Jones said.
Jones said the shelter has had to euthanize some pets that were sick with treatable diseases but that situation is improving as well.
“It is unfortunate, but we are being able to treat more of the pets we have,” she said. “We are still not able to save them all, but we are able to treat more than we have before.”
Since Dec. 21 of last year, the shelter took in 976 dogs, and has a 90 percent live release rate, which means the dogs were either reclaimed by an owner, adopted or transported to a rescue organization.
For cats, the shelter took in 1,310 and had a live release rate of 40 percent. Many of the cats accepted by the shelter are feral cats or become sick while housed so closely in the shelter with other cats.
“Our live release rate for the cats is increasing,” Jones said. “Part of that improvement is we have a better cage setup here for the cats than we did in the old shelter.”
The new shelter facility features a large lobby where shelter staff have set up several kennels to house cats for visitors to see when they first come into the building. Then, in the cat room, there is almost double the kennel space to house even more cats.
Jones said it was the new shelter building itself that was the most major improvement in operations for staff.
“Really and truly, it is a lot easier to keep a building clean and sanitized when it is not falling down around you,” she said. “We have a large fenced in yard where the dogs can run and play. That is one of the biggest things we did not have at the old place.”
Once situated in the new facility, Jones started working on making other changes to the shelter’s operation. She is now working with a new foster coordinator to get more pets out of the shelter and into homes until they are adopted permanently.
The shelter is working on starting a microchipping program and computerizing all animal control records to gain a better idea on where calls and incidents occur most frequently.
The shelter has been able to spay or neuter 120 of the shelter animals through a partnership with the University of Tennessee veterinary school.
With the new facility, the shelter is seeing more volunteers and more visitors who come in to help or check out the animals.
“It is a much nicer place to come to,” Jones said. “It has pretty, bright walls. There is more parking and the building is more accessible.”
The shelter is located at 135 Sycamore Shoals Drive and is open from 12-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Call 547-6359 for more information.

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