Collier County Domestic Animal Services has recently completed a compilation of statistics following the end of their fiscal year, and the numbers reveal some good news about the state of homeless animals in At 6,212, overall animal intake at the public open-admission animal shelter fell 7 percent from the previous year, and is at a six-year low. “We look at animal intake as an indicator of the community’s commitment to its pets,” said DAS Director Amanda Townsend. “Are they treating their animals like a commodity, or are they looking at pet ownership as an important lifelong responsibility?” For the shelter, low intake indicates the latter.
Also good news, the percentage of animals adopted from the shelter is up 2 percent over the previous year, and the percentage of animals reclaimed is up 1 percent. The number of animals euthanized is down 4 percent from the previous year and, in whole numbers, is at a six-year low. “The gains are small, but they represent real lives of pets saved,” said Townsend.
“The most exciting thing we are seeing,” said Townsend, “is a significant reduction in cat intake—down 14 percent from last year.” Townsend credits the efforts of the Collier Community Cat Coalition, which administers the community’s trap-neuter-return program, as well as grants for cat sterilizations secured by local organizations such as Collier Spay Neuter Clinic and For the Love of Cats, for the reduction in cat intake. “Cats are sometimes an afterthought in animal sheltering and it has been so rewarding to see the community rally around its cats,” Townsend said. “Access to free or low-cost spay-neuter is a proven solution to pet overpopulation, and in the past year we’ve seen it work right here in Collier County.”
Despite the good news, DAS reminds the public there is more work to be done. “We still don’t have a happy picture when you look, for example, at reclaims on cats.” Townsend said. “About three out of ten stray dogs that come to the shelter will be reclaimed by their owners, but when you look at stray cats that number is three in one hundred.”
Likewise, despite being at a 6-year low, the number of animals euthanized—3,566—should galvanize the community to action. “Shelters are on the receiving end,” said Townsend. “Pet overpopulation is a community problem and it requires the entire community to work toward a solution.”
To that end, DAS is inviting members of the public to participate in a planning workshop being held by the Domestic Animal Services Advisory Board October 18, at DAS, at 6:30 pm. The goal of the workshop is to set a top-ten list of multi-year projects the department can complete to improve the lives of the community’s pets. “Members of the public are welcome to attend the workshop, but the facilitator will be interacting with staff and Advisory Board members only, ”said Townsend. “What we really need is for interested community members to contact their advisory board representatives ahead of time and let them know what kinds of projects they think DAS should be taking on to improve service delivery.”
Contact information for the Domestic Animal Services Advisory Board members is located on the DAS website at www.collierpets.com and also provided below. Interested members of the public are encouraged to contact advisory board members this week to assure their input is considered.
Collier County Domestic Animal Services Advisory Board:
Daniel Martin in care of: [email protected]
Ruth Eisel [email protected]
James Rich [email protected]
Marcia Breithaupt [email protected]
Marjorie Bloom [email protected]
Sgt. David Estes [email protected]
Tom Kepp [email protected]