After the one year anniversary of Lubbock's new animal shelter, KCBD NewsChannel 11 investigated the progress that has been made to see what kind of impact it had compared to the old shelter.
Voters were promised decreased euthanization rates along with more adoptions. Last Thursday, KCBD NewsChannel 11 revealed the official numbers from the city, proving that the $5.1 million new shelter has not been as successful as predicted. Documents showed that euthanization rates did not change from 2010 to 2011 for cats or dogs. Kill rates remained at 76% for cats and 66% for dogs.
Councilman Todd Klein, who supported the new animal shelter project in 2007, said he was not satisfied with the outcome. Klein says the numbers are not all the City's responsibility.
"We have some that will adopt an animal that won't match with their situation and in a few months there's a willingness to relinquish that animal," Klein said. "We need to work on that."
Animal Services Director, George Torres, points to a lack of responsibility among pet owners. Torres said, "If people would get their animals micro-chipped and have collar tags, then we would be able to return these animals to the rightful owners."
One solution to the problem is already underway. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the South Plains joined forces with the animal shelter last March. Torres believes the organization will make a big impact when it comes to more adoptions, which will call for a decreased kill rate.
"Now with the assistance of these rescue groups coming in and promoting adoptions," Torres said, "I think it will help lower that rate."
Another reason for so few adoptions is the new shelter's location. It's difficult to find and Councilman Klein wants to make it more accessible, which could require some construction to 66th Street.
"Right now you have to loop around to get over back to the access road if you're heading from the west to the east," Klein explained. He wants to make the upgrades through private donations.
Expansion plans down the road would enable the city to get rid of the old shelter. The goal is to build a separate building on the same 15 acre lot next to the new shelter.
Torres agrees with Mayor Tom Martin, who says it's vital to keep infected animals separated from healthy, adoptable animals.
Records indicated that the operation costs rose from $1,473,406.16 in 2010 to $1,675,311.81 in 2011. Martin says the additional $201,905 was not to operate two separate shelters, but from health care costs for employees. KCBD NewsChannel 11 found that "professional services" went from $3,500 in 2010 to $53,500 in 2011. The extra $50,000 was explained as additional costs for the operation of two shelters. Torres said the costs resulted from "our veterinarian that now she's having to cover two shelters."
If you would like to donate or volunteer with the South Plains SPCA, you can find more information at www.spspca.org for more information.
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