Progress Slow Towards No-Kill Goal in Broward County

Animal-Care

By: Tracey Paige

Each year 15,000 to 20,000 dogs and cats enter Broward County’s shelter as lost, abandoned, neglected, or mistreated through no fault of their own.  Their chances of leaving the shelter alive vary by whether they are dog or cat; pretty or ugly; young or old; injured or ill.  Most could be quickly placed into good homes if there was an effective public outreach effort. 

In April 2012, the Broward County Commissioners passed a No Kill resolution with the goal to achieve a 90 percent live release rate.  Three years later the Broward County shelter had a 57 percent live release rate (July 2014 to June 2015).  This amounts to 6,628 innocent dogs and cats killed during the past year, mostly because there was not enough room or they were at the shelter for more than 30 days. 

Broward County is far from reaching its goal because the County Commission and shelter management do not feel the urgency to save the lives of the dogs and cats in their care.  The high kill rate is because the County has not implemented any effective No Kill programs and the ones that it touts are too small and ineffective to ever achieve No Kill status.  For example, the animal shelter currently under construction should improve the comfort of animals and humans but it will not significantly increase adoptions or prevent surrenders nor will the 4,200 County-subsidized spay/neuters each year reduce animal overpopulation.  They say they want to follow the successful models around the country, but we are still waiting for that to happen. 

No Kill goal achieved in other communities after only several years

Many shelters that began their No Kill program with 20 percent to 30 percent live release rates have reached the 90 percent goal within three years without spending significant sums of money.  Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Brown County Indiana significantly improved their live release rates in a relatively short period of time. Their successes are due to hiring shelter directors who believe that No Kill is achievable, implementing effective spay/neuter and Trap-Neuter-Release programs, expanding adoption opportunities; providing effective public outreach; and a maintaining a strong community partnership. 

Becoming No Kill is not expensive or a taxpayer burden

In Atlanta, Trap-Neuter-Return is the first response for free-roaming cats that has saved over $2 million.  The shelter euthanasia rate for cats dropped from 69 percent to 22 percent in less than a year.  Kansas City, Missouri increased its live release rate from 65 percent in 2011 to 93 percent in 2014 with an intake of 10,000 animals per year and a $1.2 million annual budget.  Broward County has an intake of 20,000 animals each year and an annual budget of $5.3 million. That’s $120 spent per animal in Kansas City with a No Kill program versus $265 spent per animal in Broward without a No Kill program. 

Broward County has gotten nowhere in its negotiations to partner with the Humane Society of Broward County to build a high volume, low cost spay/neuter clinic that it approved 14 months ago.  Shelter management set a very low bar on the shelter’s future goals in its 2014-2016 Strategic Business Plan and there is no written No Kill Plan “with goals and measurable objectives” as required by its No Kill resolution.  Last month I attended the Best Friends conference in Atlanta – No one from Broward County attended to learn about state-of-the art-strategies to save more of our cats and dogs from euthanasia.

Broward County must change shelter management; learn from other communities; design, publicize and put into action a strategy to quickly achieve a 90 percent live release rate; and hold shelter management accountable.  Until then, Broward County might say we are moving toward No Kill but the reality is that more and more innocent cats and dogs are being killed every day.

Tracey Paige is the President of Cat Pals, Inc., a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization which has dedicated itself to supplying food, water and medical care to abandoned and feral cat colonies living at the 56-acre beachfront park of Hollywood North Beach, which includes socializing the cats to get them ready for foster/adoption if possible.  Their goal is to educate people and animal organizations on the benefits of “trap, neuter, release”. Their ultimate goal is zero population growth through management. Find out how you can help at www.catpals.org

Tamarac and Lauderhill residents that are interested in adopting a dog or a cat can view available pets online Broward County Animal Care

About Sharon Aron Baron

avatar Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • Wen

    They achieve these “live release” rates because they stop taking in cats (ferals, “community” cats?) and property owners are left without recourse for nuisance animals under no-kill, when the cats are just redumped on the street.

  • HarveMorgan

    And I guess it doesn’t occur to anyone that this No Kill program doesn’t work? It doesn’t. It destroyed Philly’s shelter, on the verge of cruelty charges when the contract was yanked from under No Kill’s hand picked management staff. When the ‘best shelter director ever’, according to No Kill, was fired from Indy after only 10 months, they found cats in the ventilation ducts, put there to make the shelter look less crowded. Ruined the shelter ventilation system too. No Kill is highly misrepresented as far as ‘successes’ are concerned. http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/no-kill-equation-truth-revealed#

  • Laura

    Catpals web site is very outdated. the latest events are starting in Jan of 2011. A no destroy option is needed in Broward. since people just dispose of their pets like garbage.

  • George Stroker

    Catpals may not be current, but Tracey Paige’s information is current and accurate.

    Privately Funded, Humane Society of Broward County (http://humanebroward.com) has reached out to, County Funded, Broward County Animal Care & Adoption Center
    (http://www.broward.org/animal/Pages/Default.aspx) for a joint venture that has been in discussion
    stages for sometime now with some to little success.

    If you care about the animals in Broward County, contact your County Commissioners (http://www.broward.org/Commission/Pages/default.aspx) and tell them to follow through on the getting rusty commitment they made in April 2012.

  • Cheesenugget

    I adopted a dog and fosters kittens for Broward. When was the last time this author have visited the shelter? Did she watch the weekend crowds filling out applications to adopt a pet? Did she see how many people were waiting for their turn by the vet’s clinic to drop off/pick up their pet after the spay/neuter surgery, yearly rabies shot and microchips? Did she watch how staff spends every free moment they have showing adoptable pets or spending some time with the dogs?

    No one wants to be the bad guy who kills innocent animals. Until people learn to be responsible completely for their pets, someone has to get these abandoned and strays pets off the streets before they get a worse death than humane euthanasia.

    You honestly think no kill shelters hands are that clean? I also volunteered for several local rescues and they pick and choose which pets gets saved. 7 out of 10 rescues rejects to take in owner surrender pets. So where do you think those 7 pets end up?

    Don’t throw stones in glass houses.