Despite influx, Lafayette animal shelter surpasses last year’s record no-slaughter rate | New

The Lafayette animal shelter and care center is not at risk of losing its “no-kill” status, despite recent reports to the contrary.

In fact, the shelter is improving from its performance last year, when over 90% of the animals entering the shelter were adopted, taken to a rescue shelter, returned safely to their habitat, or left. the refuge alive. It was the first time that the Lafayette public animal shelter had met this criterion, which called it a “no kill”.

The “savings rate” of the refuge this year until June 20: 92.5%.

According to the director of the shelter, Shelley Delahousaye, the rate will likely drop until the end of the generally high-intake spring and summer seasons and recover during the fall and winter holidays, when intake generally slows down and that adoptions resume. She said the shelter appears to be on track for a savings rate of between 93% and 94% this year.

While the shelter has recently been occupied, the number of dogs and cats dropped off is typical for this time of year, Delahousaye said. The shelter is comparable to the usual number of annual admissions, which is around 4,000, she said.

“Our contribution is exactly the same as it always has been,” said Delahousaye.

Delahousaye said she believed a recent free dog adoption event confused members of those who generally understood the shelter to be ‘no kill’. The shelter urged its Facebook followers to consider adoption, and in a frantic post said the recent influx of animals was “a real crisis of life and death.”

People wondered why a safe haven without killing suddenly had to resort to a mass giveaway, especially when the safe haven recently opened a new $ 9 million facility. But the four-day adoption event is a routine strategy for any shelter striving for no-slaughter status, and it was successful: 120 dogs were adopted in four days, resulting in lots of cool kennel space.

“It’s always a struggle this time of year. We’re just asking for help, as we normally do every year, ”Delahousaye said.

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The term “no kill” is confusing at first glance, because it does not mean zero euthanasia. Some animals must be killed because they are out of control or have incurable medical conditions.

Shelters achieving a 90% save rate are generally considered “no kill”, but this is nothing more than an arbitrary measure of success.

“While the 90% benchmark provides a meaningful and consistent way to gauge progress, it’s not a floor or a ceiling,” according to Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization.

The Lafayette public shelter is an outlier in Louisiana, where less than a third of shelters are currently considered “no kill”, according to best friends. The statewide save rate is around 72%, and Best Friends rates Louisiana as one of six “high priority” states where more than 15,000 animals die in shelters each year.

Lafayette’s success is recent. The savings rate was below 50% as of 2015, Delahousaye said. Former mayor-president Joel Robideaux has made humane animal control a priority, and the shelter has pursued a handful of new strategies.

One of the most successful new strategies has been the ‘trap-neutral-return’ for feral cats who can comfortably survive without human owners. The shelter saves around 700 cats a year while ensuring that they do not procreate with a trap-sterilization-return, said Delahousay. The shelter also cut adoption fees by more than half.

Another way the shelter has improved its save rate is its approach to people who wish to abandon their pets. While the shelter is legally required to take any unwanted animals, it now does so by appointment and usually after discussion. Staff encourage relinquishing owners to try new training techniques or try to find new owners through social media.

To consistently achieve “no kill” status, refuge must be seen as a last resort, Delahousaye said.

“It’s a community initiative. It is not only us who make the decision not to euthanize the animals. It’s a daily commitment on our part, and we want to save as much as we can. But we need everyone else’s help, ”she said.

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