ELIZABETHTOWN — The number of animals in danger of being euthanized in Bladen County is going down, according to a 2015 report on Bladen County Animal Control. The report compares the years 2014 and 2015, and notes a marked decrease in the number of animals being put down.
In 2014, the shelter impounded 1,720 animals. Eighty-two percent of the dogs and cats taken in by the shelter were released live, while the remaining 18 percent were euthanized, according to data compiled by Karen Suggs, manager of the animal shelter.
By contrast, in 2015, the shelter took in 1,597 cats and dogs, and only euthanized 14 percent of them. Of the remaining, 222 were adopted, 989 were released to rescue groups, and 87 were returned to the owner.
In 2014, 92 dogs and 290 cats were euthanized at the shelter. In 2015, 48 dogs and 209 cats were put down.
Suggs sees the decreased euthanasia rate as being contributed to by two factors. First, a free spay and neuter clinic is offered through A Shelter Friend Resuce in Elizabethtown.
“If you have a cat that has been spayed then it is not out there having kittens and, if unsocialized, they become wild,” Suggs said. “It’s the same with dogs. If it’s being spayed, it’s not creating more, which decreases the number in the wild not being socialized.”
Those unsocialized animals — those with very limited human interaction who cannot be handled without biting or scratching — are the ones being euthanized, with feral cats comprising the largest number of euthanizations, Suggs added.
The second reason in the decreased euthanasia rate is the increasing number of adoptions.
The shelter, however, is mandated to euthanize certain animals. According to Suggs, “anything that comes in feral we are required to hold for 72 hours then euthenize. Anything severely sick or injured, those would be euthanized to keep them from suffering. Very seldom do we have to euthanize for space, but we do occasionally.”
She adds that they can sometimes find a rescue group that is willing to assume financial responsibility for sick animals, but that it depends on the severity of the sickness.
The shelter obtains its animals from a variety of sources. Some people drop off animals because they just cannot afford to keep them any more. Some are dropped off by people because the animals are unsocialized, and some are reported to the shelter as running loose.
Suggs cites the shelter’s reputation as contributing to its success.
“We do have good reputation for getting animals adopted and released to rescue centers,” she said. “We only have one rescue organiztion in the area and they typically get animals from us.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.