Don’t be a Mediocre Shelter

According to ASPCA data, about 2.7 million pets were killed in American shelters last year. With 7.6 million animals entering shelters annually, that means our national save rate is 64%. In other words, your local shelter must be saving at least 64% of all the animals in its care just to be mediocre.

If your shelter is below average, you may be looking for a place to begin your improvement project. This photo from Houston, Texas offers a clue:

These puppies are in a Houston, Texas shelter. As of this writing, they have a "review" date of March 6, 2015 to determine if they live or die. Thank you to Nicole Kohn for the photo.

These puppies are in a Houston, Texas shelter. As of this writing, they have a “review” date of March 6, 2015 to determine if they live or die. Thank you to Nicole Kohn for the photo.

There’s no reason puppies and kittens should die in our shelters. Have you ever met anyone who didn’t think a puppy or kitten was cute? These youngsters are the most readily adoptable pets. If puppies and kittens are being killed in your local shelter, someone isn’t trying hard enough. Even the youngest and most fragile puppies and kittens are easy fosters. Let’s face it, everyone loves puppies and kittens!

Don’t forget that you’re in a competitive market. Pet stores, puppy mills, backyard breeders and your neighbors down the street all have puppies for sale or to give away. Market your shelter puppies and kittens like crazy, because you offer the better value. If your local shelter is professional and responsible, your shelter puppies and kittens are fully vaccinated, spayed/neutered and microchipped. Potential adopters love the extra care you put into your puppies and kittens, so┬ámake sure your community knows about your wonderful animals.

If your shelter is merely average or even horribly below average, adopting puppies and kittens is a great place to start. You’ll find that you’re saving more lives (really cute ones too!), and soon you’ll be ready to move up the ladder to more challenging adoptions.

Don’t accept mediocrity. Don’t accept indifference. Don’t accept killing. And don’t accept anything less than a save rate of 64% of all the animals that enter your shelter (a number that’s growing steadily every year). After all, a mediocre shelter is only 26 percentage points from achieving a 90% save rate and above. You’re closer to No Kill than you think.

Want to get started toward an above average shelter? Look at those adorable faces. They deserve a happy life!