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Following national trend, euthanasia rates have gone down at PACC

Posted at 6:51 AM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 09:51:48-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Euthanasia rates are going down at animal shelters in some big cities across the country. The numbers were highlighted in a recent New York Times report.

KGUN9 reached out to Pima Animal Care Center and it says it's also part of the nationwide trend.

Euthanasia rates at the shelter have gone down in the last five years, according to numbers from PACC. It says it went from 8,126 in 2013, to 1,326 in 2018. Nikki Reck, a spokesperson for the shelter, says on average they take in 50 to 100 animals a day.

While there has been a conscious effort to prevent putting animals down, Reck says it was really made possible because of the community. Voters passed the bond to expand the PACC facility. At one point a few years ago a tent was brought in to house more animals. More space has meant illnesses aren't likely to spread among the shelter, Reck said.

Euthanasia can be a tough thing to talk about and all pets are evaluated. None of them are put down for space, Reck said.

"Every single pet that comes in this door gets a chance," she said. "We give every single pet the ability to have their moment, so when they come in this door we check them out we see how they're doing medically. We had a 93% save rate for August."

The medical staff has to make sure the animals are healthy and that no one will be put into a dangerous situation, Reck said. She said volunteers and the foster program have also been crucial.

To put these in perspective, on a normal day there are about 800 animals in foster care through PACC with around 600 in the shelter.

"I think people are really proud of their rescue pets, and even if they can't rescue a pet they are proud to help their local shelter," Reck said. "We get people all the time who are saying on Facebook, 'well I can't adopt another dog because I have so many' or 'I can't adopt another cat because my cat is not a fan of other cats. What can I do to help?'"

Some people buy things off the center's Amazon wish list or donate through Friends of Pima Animal Care Center. Friends of PACC is a nonprofit that helps the shelter get the resources it needs to save animals.

Here's more information about adoption and volunteering.