Fewer animals went in and out of York County shelter in 2012

Fewer euthanizations at York County animal shelter as out-the-door rate falls from 2011’s

adouglas@heraldonline.comJanuary 25, 2013 

  • Want to help?

    Those interested in volunteering to help with animals can call Steve Stuber at 803-628-3190 or drop by the shelter located off S.C. 5 on Justice Boulevard, near the York County Sheriff’s Office. You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer.

    Pictures of animals up for adoption and more information about the shelter can be found on the York County website under the “animal control” department at www.yorkcountygov.com.

— The rate of euthanizations at York County’s 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 shelter’s director said.

Of about 8,177 animals that came through the shelter’s 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 Shelter’s 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, weren’t 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. “They’ve 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 shelter’s 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 County’s website.

“We have such a wonderful shelter that they come down, searching for good animals,” Stuber said. “And they find them here.”

York County’s 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 shelter’s 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

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