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Pima Animal Care Center turns to temporary shelters to address ongoing overcrowding

Nov 01, 2013 | Read More News
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There is more work to do, but Pima Animal Care Center is making large gains in reducing euthanasia. none

In first quarter of Fiscal Year 2011-12, our live release rate was 49 percent. We are at 72 percent for this first quarter of this fiscal year.

That effort has come at a price, as we have attempted to do more with existing resources. We have kept animals longer, we have put more of them in kennels than is optimal and we have had to appeal to the community to open their hearts and homes for the pets that deserve another chance at love and security.

We have a standing request in a future bond package for a $22 million facility improvement, given that the building we’re in now was built nearly 50 years ago when the population was significantly smaller.

With discussion of a bond election pushed back at least another year, however, it will take too long to wait for a permanent solution.

There are many demands on limited government resources, but the Board of Supervisors Tuesday will discuss allocating more than $400,000 to deal with the immediate, emergency overcrowding. That funding will allow a tent to be set up adjacent to the shelter to allow us to reduce the number of animals per kennel. Space heaters and evaporative cooling will be utilized to keep animals comfortable during seasonal changes. Included in the request is $242,000 in additional staffing.

While it is a solution that has been used to address school overcrowding and jail overcrowding, it is not ideal.

In the near term, we ask the community to consider adoption. All of our pets in the shelter longer than two weeks are free, which includes vaccination, microchips and spay/neuter surgery if necessary. We also ask the community to commit to spaying or neutering their pets.

We have to do better because our animals deserve better.