Typically at this time of year, I reflect on our accomplishments over the past 12 months. I often highlight our live release rate, which is now over 90% and the 1,400 spay and neuter surgeries that we have performed for shelter animals prior to adoption or transfer. I am thrilled with these accomplishments and remain committed to continuing what has worked and making improvements where necessary. However being the season of giving, I also think it is important to illuminate how Rochester Animal Services is a giving organization.
Our mission reflects our commitment to serving people and animals to create safe neighborhoods, support the human-animal bond, and save and enhance lives. It is all about giving, service, and support. Throughout the city, our field services team is helping address neighborhood safety for people and for their pets. They share information related to pet care and provide guidance related to keeping pets safe and secure in their homes.
At the Animal Service Center on Verona Street, our employees and volunteers provide care for over 3,000 stray and surrendered pets each year. In addition to cleaning and feeding, our caregivers also provide enrichment to support the wellness of the shelter animals. That involves puzzle feeders and toys for mental stimulation, playing with cats and leading dog playgroups for exercise and socialization, olfactory stimulation, and soothing classical music or nature and animal sounds.
Through neighborhood outreach and pet owner support this year, we shared information, pet food, cat litter, and other supplies with nearly 1,000 households including spay and neuter for over 800 pets. That support is focused on addressing barriers in access to resources and is helping us support pet retention and the bond between people and their pets.
I am so proud of our accomplishments and of the work that Rochester Animal Services is performing on a daily basis. As a team, we are making a difference in the lives of thousands of people and pets throughout our community. You can learn more about our programs and services, how to get involved, and how to donate to our cause at www.cityofrochester.gov/rochesteranimalservices.
Thank you for your continuing support. Have a happy and safe holiday season.
Chris Fitzgerald, Director, Rochester Animal Services