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The Journey to Reduce Euthanasia at Our Shelter Begins

When I walked into the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department as its new director on December 1, 2009, it was a very sad and shocking place. Animals were being killed by the thousands for treatable diseases. Dogs were being killed for pretextual behavior reasons, or for no reason at all, because it was easier to kill them than care for them.

Animals went without beds, walks, human interaction, and even water all too often.

That year, 2009, 10,367 animals were killed, which was 39% of the 26,667 animals that came into the shelter.

By 2016, the euthanasia rate had plummeted 75%, down to 9.7%, which meets the “no kill” definition of 10% or less.

Only 1,703 animals were euthanized in 2016, a reduction of 83% from the 10,367 that were euthanized just 7 years earlier.

How we did it makes for an interesting saga, that comes with many “how to” tips that are a simple formula for other motivated shelters to follow.