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Animal shelter nearing 'No-Kill' goal

Wednesday, December 19, 2012896 views

The animal friendly group Best Friends Animal Society has joined forces with the Taylorsville-West Valley Animal Shelter to bring the shelter even closer to its desired No-Kill status.

Earlier this year, the shelter set out to achieve an 80 percent adoption rate by 2014, after which they planned on fully completing the transition to a No-Kill shelter. But since joining forces with Best Friends in June of this year, numbers have already surpassed what theyd hoped to accomplish in two years.

To be considered a No-Kill shelter, we need to see 90 percent of our animals adopted out. Since the Best Friends organization has been working with the shelter, the no kill rate has already jumped to 82 percent, putting us a lot closer to reaching that goal, said Mayor Russ Wall.

Only 90 percent is required to gain the no kill status, as a result of some animals needing to be euthanized to due to injuries or similar situations.

The partners have done, and will continue to do, several things to keep improving the shelters no kill standing.  Adoption promotions are employed heavily to move animals out of the shelter and into homes.  These promotions happen year round.

Weve done several adoption promotions with the West Valley shelter. One was over the summer we called kitty palooza, where the focus was on kitten adoptions. Weve done another one called seniors for seniors where we helped place senior pets with senior citizens looking to adopt an animal, said Temma Martin, a volunteer with the Best Friends group.

The Best Friends Animal Society has also stepped in to help subsidize the cost of some pet adoptions.

In addition to the adoption campaigns, the shelter and the society have encouraged community action in regards to spaying and neutering pets already in a home.  They also urge pet owners to microchip and license their pets.

Its a good way to make sure you get your pet back if it does happen to end up in a shelter for whatever reason, Martin said.

Another issue the partners have tackled is the situation with feral cats; cats that are born and live without any human contact. Though there are a few exceptions, feral cats are essentially unadoptable because of their lack of human interaction.  A system has been implemented called TNR (trap, neuter, and release) where the cats are caught, brought in to the shelter, neutered or spayed, then released again where they was found.  In just five months, the number of feral cats brought in through this program totaled 423.

Thats a huge way to avoid animals being euthanized.  When a feral cat comes in, it cant be adopted out so by utilizing the TNR program we can greatly reduce the number of animals brought into the shelter, simply because they cant reproduce anymore, Martin said.

Despite the programs now being used by the shelter and the society, Martin gives a majority of the credit for achieving such a high percentage of the goal to the community.

What it really comes down to the choices of the people in the community. They can choose to spay or neuter, or choose to adopt a pet from the shelter rather than from a pet store or breeder.  Their actions are what really help us to reach the no kill goal, she said.

More information regarding pet adoptions, licensing, spaying or neutering, or other animal-related subjects can be found on the  animal shelter website, wvc-ut.gov/animal, or by calling the shelter at 801-965-5800. It is located at 4522 West 3500 South in West Valley.

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