LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The city council work session consisted of one agenda item: a presentation by the Lubbock Animal Shelter.
Interim Director Jennifer Harvell led the presentation with statistics from June.
"First and foremost, the total live release rate or save rate for the month of June was 97.4 percent. Huge strides since back in march when we were 30 percent," said interim director, Jennifer Harvell.
"How do you go from 30 percent to 97 percent?" Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope asked.
"Well, the first thing we had to decide is that we were gong to stop euthanizing animals, period," Harvell said.
Harvell said staff began in-depth assessments of animals to better understand their behaviors and help cut down on the spread of disease.
"If it is an owner surrender, we want to get as much information as we can about that animal. I want to know do they like cats? Do they like children? Because all of those things are going to be questions that as an adopter, they are going to want to know. Is it dog aggressive? Is it food aggressive? So we get as much medical and behavior as we can about that animal at intake," Harvell said
She said in the past, there were few questions asked of owners surrendering their animals.
Harvell said sometimes asking more questions can lead to simple solutions that prevent surrenders.
"When you come in and tell me, 'I just can't afford the food', I can help you out with that. We get food donations all the time. If it's just food, the best place for your animal is in your home, not the shelter," Harvell said.
Harvell said they have also made changes to the way they asses a dog's behavior.
"The kennels are loud, there are different sounds, they are scared. Taking them out of that, and taking them outside, really allows us to see that personality and that behavior so we can find an appropriate placement for them," Harvel said.
She said they have also changed the flow of animals in the shelter.
Dr. Ellen Jefferson is a speaker at multiple no-kill conferences around the country and helped reduce the number of killings of cats and dogs in Austin when she worked as the director of Austin Pets Alive!
Harvell said Dr. Jefferson traveled to Lubbock to help with the shelter's blueprint and provide research about the effectiveness of vaccines and how long they need to be in an animal's system before they start protecting.
According to that research, animals need to be isolated for 72 hours, kept at least 20 feet away from other animals.
Harvell said they have now made their open stray area the adoption area.
"That actually gives me now 90 kennels for adoptions," Harvell said.
What was once the adoption area is now for those early intakes who are in that first 72 hours of having a vaccination.
"I think my favorite thing that you have done in addition to the attitude, the creativity, the communication and running your business the right way, cleanliness, is changing your model practice to reflect what your customers need and that is the hours you are open," Pope said.
"Saturday is one of our busiest days. People are off and they actually have time to come out. It's not unusual to have 200 people there on Saturday," Harvell said.
The shelter is now open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
A few weeks ago, the city announced the two finalists for the director position.
Steven Greene is an internal candidate who works as the interim field supervisor and lead officer.
Greene and Harvell presented the progress report together at the city council work session on Thursday afternoon.
The second candidate for the position is April Moore, who works as the engagement manager at Austin Animal Services.
Havell could not tell us when the finalists would be announced.