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FLETCHER: Shelter Data Can Save Animals | opinion

Unlike our furry animal friends who fall asleep next to us on the couch or wag their tails in front of the door, animal welfare statistics are no comfort.

A long list of stats can make your eyes glaze over, but remember there’s more to data than just numbers. Each animal welfare number identifies a dog, puppy, cat or kitten that may have died through no fault of their own at an animal shelter.

The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc. champions animal welfare and is committed to making the Lowndes County Animal Shelter a no-kill animal shelter, defined as having 90% or more live animals.

By collecting and sharing shelter data and working with local governments and animal welfare organizations, we can better see how programs and resources can be shifted to help animals in need and avoid unnecessary euthanasia.

From 2000 to 2010, the number of animals euthanized at the Lowndes County Animal Shelter was 63,589, or an average of just 16% of the live outcomes. That means only 16 out of 100 animals survived.

In contrast, from 2011 to 2021, 23,179 animals were euthanized, with an average 47% increase in live outcomes. Again, most of the animals that came to the shelter over the past two decades have been euthanized.

The chart below contains the Lowndes County Animal Shelter’s data for the first three quarters of 2022.

Through the third quarter of 2022, Lowndes County Animal Shelter statistics recorded that 1,038 animals were euthanized with 1,809 animals emerged alive, with the three-quarter average live results rising to 64%.

This is better, but far below what many other shelters have achieved.

Lowndes County Animal Shelter statistics for 2022 show improvement. Great credit goes to the animal rescue organizations (which are not funded by the Lowndes County Commissioners and we claim they should be) who keep many animals off the shelter and take many animals out of the shelter before they are euthanized.

Please support animal welfare organizations by sponsoring, adopting, donating, and sponsoring these tax-deductible 501©(3) organizations like ours, and let’s continue to reduce the rate of euthanasia.

By keeping lines of communication open, we are confident that the Lowndes County Animal Shelter and Lowndes County Commissioners can continue to improve systems and funding.

A new building in Lowndes County for the Lowndes County Animal Shelter will do no more to solve the problems at hand in our community than, say, a mandatory spay and neuter law, which we support.

By alerting community members to the high number of animal euthanasia statistics at the Lowndes County Animal Shelter each month, we aim to encourage pet owners to spay, neuter, foster, adopt and donate to help reduce these numbers.

Accurate, easy-to-find shelter data identifies concerns and highlights issues that can be resolved by our district commissioners.

This is why we have made the statistics available to the Lowndes County Shelter Officers from 2000 to August 2022.

Burton Fletcher is Founder and President of the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals and Terri Ernissee is a Graphic Designer/Writer at the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals.

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