Local adoption rates continue to soar

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

Both dogs and cats are seeing high adoption rates at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility this year.

Year after year, officials at the shelter usually see a significantly higher amount of dogs getting adopted as compared to cats — but this year, the shelter reports that the number of adopted dogs and cats is nearly equal.

As of last Wednesday, 510 cats and 570 dogs had been rescued, according to data from the shelter. Billy Lassiter, chief animal control officer, said he projects that the number of cat rescues is even closer to the number of dogs as of this week.

Lassiter chalks up the success to the tireless work of the many rescue groups that come into the shelter daily and transport the cats to vets offices and foster homes.

“We’ve had dedicated rescues that have tried as hard as they can to replace every cat. Those guys are in here every day, picking them up, adopting them, transporting them,” Lassiter said.

In 2016, the shelter boasted a 72-percent adoption rate, and Lassiter said it is on track for another year above 70 percent, if not more than that.

However, he said even when the numbers look good, kittens and cats still don’t see the type of adoption success as dogs normally do — dogs usually see an average 80-percent adoption rate, while cats typically remain at about 40 percent.

Lassiter said it’s just a matter of demand, as there is normally a higher quantity of cats at the shelter than dogs.

“They multiply so much faster. They breed kind of uncontrollably. There are so many feral cat populations. …They just multiply so rapidly,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter said the shelter is also hoping to soon hire a rescue coordinator, whose sole job will be to communicate to the public about available animals and assist in the rescue process. He said if this position works out, it should boost adoption rates even more.

“If we can find someone to stay in it, get to know everybody and network these animals … we will probably see 80 percent, I am hoping,” Lassiter said.