Recently, the blog "Out the Front Door", a blog that focuses on communities that report saving 90% or more of shelter animals did post in their "worth watching" category about Washington, DC. The "worth watching" category lists communities whose animal shelter systems are doing substantially better than average, but have not reported a sustained (for one year or more) 90%+ live release rate.
According to the post on "Out the Front Door", In a recent article the WHS vice-president of external affairs, Scott Giacoppo, said that WHS had its best year ever in 2013, with a live release rate of just over 80%, including wildlife. Giacoppo said that the shelter had an intake in 2013 of 10,474 animals, which is 17 animals per 1000 people in the district itself. Giacoppo attributed the shelter’s improvement in recent years to several factors, including new adoption policies, off-site adoption events, discounted and free adoptions, an expanded foster program, the community cat program, and a program to work with landlords. He also credited a new perception on the part of the public about the shelter, noting that in the past the shelter had been seen as “a dark, dreary place where animals come to die.”"
This is a stark contrast to the Prince George's County shelter, which has recently been making headlines because the shelter staff euthanized a healthy, pregnant dog just hours before a rescue group was coming to pick her up due to a paperwork mix-up.
The article points out that PG County euthanizes twice as many animals as Washington, DC. " Last year, the shelter euthanized 45 percent of the animals that came in. "
The dichotomy between these two programs is especially interesting to us because our office is located in PG county, but very close to the border of Washington DC, and it is important for us to keep up with what is going on.
How can PG County catch up DC in terms of bringing down their euthanasia rate? They have a model right next door for programs that work. Let's hope that they take note, and those of us who live in and work in this area should push for our representatives in the county to fight for the animals here to have a chance.