Written by Chris Fitzgerald, Director of Animal Services
It has been an unusual winter with temperature fluctuations and sporadic snowfall but progress continued undaunted at Animal Services. Proactive outreach efforts were emphasized in our field services and were bolstered by a grant from Best Friends Animal Society to our partners at Verona Street Animal Society. The grant provided $25,000 toward spay and neuter for low-income pet owners and for community cats. Animal Control Officers provided 186 vouchers to pet owners for no-cost spay and neuter surgeries throughout February and March. Voucher recipients schedule surgeries with the Rochester Community Animal Clinic (RCAC). In the first two months of this project, 94 surgeries have been performed at RCAC at no cost to pet owners or community cat caretakers and additional surgeries are booked through April.
Fig. 1. Quarterly Save Rate for cats and dogs received by Animal Services, Rochester, NY.
The end of March marked our highest Save Rate for any single month reaching 87.96%. Additionally, Save Rate for the quarter was also our highest to date at 83.04% (Fig. 1). It was not too long ago that we were struggling to get above 50%. We set our sights on 75%, which we felt was a lofty goal, and concentrated on increasing live releases. Along the way, we increased our attention toward surrender counseling to encourage pet retention. More recently, with our proactive outreach emphasis, we are connecting with more pet owners and providing assistance before problems escalate. We are also returning hundreds of stray pets directly to their owners without a stop at the animal shelter. As a result, intakes continue to decline while we work on increasing adoptions and transfers to our partnering animal rescue organizations. These achievements would not have been possible without the commitment of our employees, volunteers, and partners at VSAS and local rescues. We have exceeded our earlier goals and have now raised the bar even higher. With your continued support, we will keep making improvements.
How can you help? Spay and neuter your pets. Adopt from a shelter or rescue group. Donate. Volunteer. Also, please license your dog. It helps your community, it helps you, it helps your dog, and it helps us.
Director of Animal Services