• September 18, 2014

Shelter rescues up, euthanasia down

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 12:00 pm

By Audrey Spencer

The Cove Herald

Impound, euthanasia and adoption rates all decreased for Copperas Cove Animal Control from 2010 to 2011, according to the department's yearly report.

In 2011, the department impounded a total of 1,556 animals, including dogs, cats, livestock and wildlife, compared to 1,784 animals, which included nine small animals, such as rabbits, in 2010. The department reported no impounding of any small animals last year.

"We've got more of the rescues involved, and we don't consider it adopting when we transfer the animals to them," said David Wellington, senior animal control officer. "That's one of the reason euthanasia and adoptions have gone down."

The department was granted permission by the city council to work with nonprofit rescue groups, including Forever Homes, Hands for Paws and the Williamson County SPCA in February 2011, said Deputy Chief Mike Heintzelman of the Copperas Cove Police Department.

The numbers for impounded and euthanized dogs has decreased over the last three years, while the numbers for cats have fluctuated.

In 2011, 900 dogs were impounded, a decrease since 2010, with 984, and 2009, when 1,230 dogs were impounded.

The numbers for cats at the shelter saw spikes two years ago, but decreased in 2011. Impound rates peaked at 800 in 2010, up from 681 in 2009, but fell to 656 last year.

In all, 295 dogs were euthanized in 2011, including 97 at the owner's request. In 2010, 333 dogs were euthanized, and 517 were euthanized in 2009.

Cat euthanization topped off at 508 last year, with 46 of those performed at the owner's request, down from 704 in 2010 and 651 in 2009.

Adoptions have fallen for dogs. In 2011, 290 were adopted out, compared to 475 in 2010 and 481 in 2009.

Ninety-eight cats were adopted out in 2011, down from 149 in 2010 and 127 in 2009.

Shifts in management in early 2011 led to a mistake in the most recent report. Concerning wildlife and livestock, shelter employees in 2010 counted any wild animal it dealt with as "impounded." When management shifted, for a time, if animals were not brought into the shelter, they were not counted as impounded.

"The clerk left in January. Then, another person took up doing reports. Then, I took over reports after that," said Wellington. "I think there was some confusion on what they were annotating."

The report currently states that two wildlife or livestock animals were impounded in 2011. In reality, the department handled 182 wild or livestock animals last year.

The impound total from 2010 to 2011 did not significantly change. Only four more were reported last year than in 2010, which saw 178.

Cases of rabies in the county have dropped each year, with four reported in 2011, including one bat, two skunks and a goat.

Total charges filed last year decreased dramatically from the past two years. In 2011, 246 charges were filed - mostly for animals without rabies vaccinations, microchips or identification tattoos and animals that had not been sterilized. This was a decrease from 656 charges filed in 2010 and 1,254 charges in 2009.

Bite reports doubled from 2010 to 2011. Including both bites and scratches from cats and dogs, 62 reports were made last year, compared to 31 in 2010.

"A lot more dogs are getting out nowadays," said Wellington. "People blame their landlords for not fixing fences, so the bites are mostly domestic animals."

Not all animals concerned with a bite report are considered dangerous, said Heintzelman, and many cases involve animals attacking another animals, not humans.

Contact Audrey Spencer at aspencer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476.

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