Oklahoma City Animal Shelter destroying more animals than are adopted

Monday, June 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Pet adoption groups hope that new animal shelters and pet adoption campaigns will help lower the rate that dogs and cats are destroyed in Oklahoma animal shelters.

The number of animals destroyed at Oklahoma City's shelter is above the national average, said Catherine English, Oklahoma City Animal Shelter superintendent.

About 14,000 of the 25,000 dogs and cats entering the shelter this year, about 56 percent, will be lethally injected.

English said the shelter's kill rate has improved from 75 percent two years ago, primarily due to increased cooperation with private rescue groups.

Kate Pullen, an animal shelter expert at the Humane Society of the United States, said shelter operators cannot be blamed for doing their job. There are simply too many animals. And, not enough people understand the importance of spaying and neutering.

``We can't adopt our way out of the problem,'' Pullen said.

El Reno's shelter took in about 1,840 animals last year, and nearly all were destroyed.

``We have virtually no adoptions now,'' said police Capt. Joe Stanley, who manages the El Reno Animal Shelter. The city recently bought a building to replace the city's cramped, shabby and poorly ventilated shelter, Stanley said.

Bethany is planning a $280,000 renovation to its animal shelter this summer. Similarly, Norman just opened a new animal shelter.

An accessible location and a pleasant environment for pet shoppers can make a difference, experts say. The media also can help.

The shelter staffs in Midwest City, Oklahoma City and Bethany have placed photographs online of animals available for adoption. The Village and Moore officials have placed photos on cable channels.

Oklahoma City charges $65 for dogs and cats. The fee includes sterilization and immunization. Spay and neuter surgeries cost $45 to $50 for cats and $50 to $60 for dogs at area veterinarians, English said.