YORK — The rate of euthanizations at York Countys animal shelter in 2012 is about the same as the year before, but the number of animals rescued or adopted decreased slightly compared with 2011, the shelters director said.
Of about 8,177 animals that came through the shelters doors last year, 5,233 animals were euthanized a large number of them feral or wild cats that had never been touched by a human, said Steve Stuber, shelter director.
York County Animal Shelters euthanization rate in 2012 and 2011 was about 64 percent.
The out-the-door rate decreased in 2012 by almost 2 percent, Stuber said, because the number of animals taken in by the shelter decreased.
The out-the-door rate is made up by animals that are rescued, adopted or returned to their owners.
Most euthanized animals, Stuber said, werent able to be placed with families because they had medical or aggressive behavior problems.
The dogs that we adopt are great. The cats we adopt are great, he said. Theyve had to jump through so many hoops to get to the adoption floor.
The shelter has a medical staff that evaluates each animal during the intake process.
In addition to cats, dogs and horses, the shelter takes in wildlife such as raccoons, bats, foxes and birds.
If wild animals show signs of rabies or other medical problems, Stuber said, the shelter staff euthanizes them.
Compared with 2011, the shelter euthanized 86 fewer animals in 2012. Intake also decreased, with the shelter taking in 95 fewer animals in 2012 than it did in 2011.
Of the shelters 8,177 animals in 2012, 36 percent went back out the door.
As the intake number goes down, hopefully that percentage goes up, Stuber said.
The shelter works with about 200 rescue organizations, most of them outside of York County.
For the past five months, a rescue group from New Jersey has visited once a month, picking up cats and dogs in need of homes.
The group chose 31 animals in December two-thirds of the cats and dogs had families waiting in line in New Jersey, Stuber said.
In addition, many out-of-state residents pick the pets from pictures available on York Countys website.
We have such a wonderful shelter that they come down, searching for good animals, Stuber said. And they find them here.
York Countys collection of stray or abandoned animals, he said, becomes a good thing for states such as New Jersey, which has more stringent spay and neutering laws.
More than 1,000 cats and dogs were spayed or neutered in 2012 at the York County shelter.
As more people learn the importance of spaying and neutering pets, Stuber said, the intake numbers at local shelters and rescue organizations should decrease.
Adopted animals from the county animal shelter are spayed or neutered before going home with families. The adoption fee is $77.
Cats at the shelter, Stuber said, are less likely than dogs to be adopted, and the shelter takes in a higher number of cats than other animals. Over the past two years, the number of cats going to the shelter, he said, has increased more rapidly than the number of dogs has.
Many of those cats, he said, are feral and are kept in a separate area of the shelter.
Intake numbers fluctuate at most area rescue centers and shelters, Stuber said.
There are periods in the year that it gets tight, he said.
From April to June, he said, the York County shelters intake nearly doubles.
Volunteers are needed to help with the growing animal population and to prepare animals for adoption, Stuber said.
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068