Save 90 is about saving more animals’ lives at our shelter in Hillsborough County. Currently, the save rate (percentage of animals leaving the shelter alive after they are picked up or surrendered) at our county shelter is a dismal 34% and has been at that rate or lower for years. This means that an astonishing 66% of the companion animals that enter the shelter are killed shortly thereafter. In 2012, 13,496 dogs and cats were euthanized.
Tragically, the vast majority of these animals are healthy or treatable animals. We know we can do better, especially because 90 communities across the country are currently saving 90% or more of their shelter pets and many other communities are on their way to achieving that goal. We believe that Hillsborough County can join the ranks of these forward-thinking communities and save 90% or more of the animals that end up at our county shelter. The basis of the program being used by over 90 communities across the nation including a wide range of demographics can be broken down into 11 steps which, by their implementation, can increase the save rate to at least 90%.
The most important of these 11 steps is a compassionate director of animal services who believes in implementing the other 10 steps of the No-Kill Equation. Fortunately, our county recently took this major positive step by hiring our new animal services director, Ian Hallett, who hails from one of the communities in the country (Austin, Texas) which has already implemented No-Kill and is now saving over 90% of all animals brought to their shelter.
Save 90 means that only those animals that are sick and untreatable or irremediably suffering or are dangerous and cannot be rehabilitated are euthanized. All other animals would live because eliminating healthy animals is killing them. The definition of “euthanasia” is “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy” or “the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.” The definition of “kill” is “to deprive of life.” To end the lives of healthy, adoptable, treatable animals is to kill them. We can do better and we will.
Making these substantial and positive changes to the status quo can only happen with the help of the community. Community involvement is key to implementing these positive, constructive changes in our county. There are many ways that you can become involved to help animals. Find out more here.