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  • Safety Report shows number of dog bites has not increased

    Aug 03, 2018 | Read More News
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    Dogs in playgroupOver the last six years, Pima Animal Care Center has drastically reduced its euthanasia rate and evolved into a lifesaving animal shelter with a consistent 90 percent save rate. Despite the increase in saved lives, a Safety Report released by PACC’s Director shows no increase in dog bites.

    “As PACC has demonstrated over the past six years, lifesaving animal sheltering is consistent with public safety,” said PACC Director of Animal Services, Kristen Auerbach.  “Thanks to a community of thousands of volunteers, foster caregivers and rescue partners, today PACC is able to save more challenging dogs and cats, giving every pet at PACC a second chance at a new life. If you want a puppy or kitten, we have it at PACC. If you want a sweet, senior cat or dog, we’ve got that, too. For people who want to help save dogs with special medical or behavioral challenges, you now have that chance. Not every pet who comes in will leave alive. But we can promise that all homeless pets in our community will get a fair chance. “ 

    The shelter takes in around 17,000 animals every year. The majority of them are happy, healthy, and have no issues. However, there are many members of the community who come to PACC looking for pets who might need special care as they recover from an illness or injury or just need some behavioral support and rehabilitation. 

    PACC staff members counsel adopters and fosters about the pets they are taking home so they understand all known behavior and medical histories. While some bites do occur, the data shows that reported bites are a tiny fraction of the total amount of animals adopted each year and that incidences of bites have not increased as more animals are given more chances for adoption. 

    A legally reportable bite is a bite that results in a skin break on a human. When evaluating dogs with behavioral histories, the team takes a look at the severity of the bite, details about what was happening during the time of the bite, and the overall temperament of the dog. Any dog considered dangerous is humanely euthanized. Others have the chance to be rehabilitated and find the right home for their needs.

    PACC offers many resources onsite and through local partners to give these pets a chance. Because PACC is a large open-admission shelter, it is inevitable that euthanasia will be necessary for certain pets, including animals that are medically suffering and can’t be treated, and those that pose an immediate threat to public safety.

    The report shows that from 2012 to now, the number of euthanized dogs reduced from 6,102 to 1,463 dogs. For cats, that number decreased from 5,297 to 430 cats. Yet with thousands of more animals being saved at PACC, reported bites are roughly the same. The report found there were 2,427 reported dog bites in 2012 with 2,257 reported dog bites in 2017. There were 521 reported cat bites in 2012. That number dropped to 510 in 2017. 

    You can visit PACC’s pets online or you can stop by the shelter at 4000 N. Silverbell Road. All adopted pets will come spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and with one free vet visit. 

    This Safety Report describes PACC’s process for dog placement, as well as to review historical community bite data, and new efforts to promote the safety of our community, our volunteers, and our employees. 

    The report demonstrates there has been no significant increase in biting animals in Pima County over the past six years. It also shows that the percentage of adopted dogs that bite is very low – between 1 and 2%, meaning that the vast majority of adopted pets will never inflict a reportable bite. PACC continues to monitor this data on an ongoing basis.