Fort Worth making great strides in saving animals’ lives

01/17/2014 8:37 PM

01/17/2014 8:39 PM

For several years the city of Fort Worth has been working to increase its animal shelters’ live-release rate, to greatly reduce the need for euthanasia. And it’s had notable success.

In 2009, for example, only 35 percent of the shelter animals were adopted or sent to rescue organizations. The figure rose to a high of 70 percent in December of 2012, and was around 65 percent in 2013.

A new $1 million medical treatment center, to open in September adjacent to the Chuck Silcox Animal Shelter, is expected to help increase those adoption rates significantly.

An isolated medical ward was one of several needs highlighted in a 2011 position paper by the Animal Care and Control division to aid in saving animals’ lives. In addition to making sick critters well, the unit will help prevent those animals that are ill from spreading their diseases to others.

Naturally, healthy animals are more adoptable.

Financed through private funds, the new medical unit will house as many as 60 dogs and cats.

It will be staffed by three full-time employees, and its $270,000 annual budget will include money for 20 hours of additional veterinarian services as well as medical supplies and medicine.

This will be a great asset to the city’s animal care facilities, but in order to continue raising those live-release rates and reducing the number of feral animals in the city, residents have to play their part.

The city has two new satellite adoption centers in partnership with PetSmart and PetSmart Charities. It has a new spay/neuter clinic and has implemented a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) policy for feral cats.

In addition to partnering with animal welfare agencies, including more than 200 local rescue groups, the city plans to increase shelter pet adoptions through those satellite adoption centers and expansion of its mobile adoption program.

Fort Worth can be proud of the strides it has made in recent years regarding animal welfare, including creating model programs like the partnerships with private companies and community groups.

But with 6,000 animals a year being euthanized, there’s still much work to be done.

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