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Review Prompts Changes For Animal Shelter

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A critical review of Tulsa's animal shelter comes back to the city, prompting some immediate changes. As of Wednesday, the animal shelter will no longer be part of the police department. It was one of the recommendations to come out of an independent review of the shelter that the mayor says was prompted in part by her own experiences adopting animals. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the mayor did not reveal all of the critical points of the report and said she wants to focus on reducing the overpopulation problem.

Tulsa's animal shelter is just about always crowded, despite an above average rate of euthanasia for both cats and dogs. The mayor says reducing the number of animals killed is the major point of the changes.

“We really want to work for a higher adoption level, but we have to remind the community it's a community problem, we have an overpopulation of animals and we have to encourage more people to spay and neuter their animals,” said Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor.

The Tulsa Animal Shelter took in 17,734 animals last year. Two thousand, two hundred sixty-eight were adopted out and 696 were claimed by their owners. Four hundred sixty-five were transferred to rescue groups but most, 14,305, were euthanized. That's 80% of the animals that came in.

The changes at the shelter will include longer hours to encourage more adoptions and some retraining of employees, but the mayor said she does not plan any immediate personnel changes.

"At this point, no, we're just at the beginning of examining what's out there and making sure of the job descriptions, and we don't intend for any jobs to change,” said Taylor. “We just want to give the hardworking shelter employees the tools to get the job done. We all have the goal of having few animals euthanized."

The city paid the Humane Society $20,000 for the study. The final report won't be done until July, but with the mayor's action in response to their initial report, the team leader of the study said the city was "proactively addressing the needs of their animal shelter and animal control department."

The mayor said another one of the recommendations was that the shelter improve its relationship with independent rescue groups. Some of them no longer work with the Tulsa shelter, in fact, one works with Oklahoma City to get animals now instead.

The mayor said she was aware of that and has heard complaints about the shelter. She's hoping to address those complaints with these and more changes to come.

If you’re interested in adopting a pet visit the City of Tulsa Animal Shelter’s website, www.tulsa-animalshelter.org.

For more information on pet care, or information on how you can adopt a pet visit the Humane Society’s site, www.hsus.org.

If you’d like to get involved and help find deserving pets a good home you can get volunteer information from the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals website, www.animalallianceok.org/index.htm.

Watch the video: Animal Shelter Concerns
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