West Valley City makes Best Friends with animal welfare advocates
Under a resolution approved by the West Valley City Council on June 5, the city’s animal shelter will work with Best Friends Animal Society / No More Homeless Pets in Utah to reduce the number of animals euthanized.
West Valley City Animal Services provides shelter and animal control services in the city and for Taylorsville. According to the terms of the agreement, West Valley City and Taylorsville will share the $45,000 cost annually to pay the organization to provide services aimed at spaying and neutering animals, increasing adoptions and reducing the number of feral cats in the community.
“It’s a historic step forward for us today,” West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder said of the decision to make the agreement with Best Friends. “We’re pleased that both cities [of West Valley and Taylorsville] are excited to make this step.”
West Valley City will pay $30,000 of the yearly costs to work with Best Friends. Taylorsville has a one-third interest in the animal shelter and will fund the remaining $15,000 annually.
Best Friends is a nonprofit organization that runs a sanctuary for abused and neglected animals. The group also has a mission to end the practice of euthanizing homeless dogs and cats, and promoting humane practices in the treatment of animals.
The organization has committed to provide services in West Valley City to increase the adoption rate, such as providing marketing support for pet adoptions and taking shelter animals out for adoption events in a mobile vehicle.
The animal welfare group will also implement a local trap-neuter-release program to reduce the number of feral cats in local neighborhoods. The idea behind the program is that sterilizing and releasing the animals reduces the population by preventing stray litters of kittens.
West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle said that the program was expected to reduce the number of animals taken into the shelter, which would automatically reduce the rate of animals euthanized.
“We know the largest population [of animals in the shelter] is the feral cats,” he said.
The stated goal of the agreement is to achieve an 80 percent save rate of cats and dogs.
The agreement was made after city officials spent months researching options to reduce the number of animals euthanized at the animal shelter.
In February, complaints from concerned residents and animal welfare advocates led city officials to approve a resolution supporting responsible practices at the shelter. Those strategies called for city officials to build relationships with animal rescue organizations, such as Best Friends.
West Valley City Councilmember Corey Rushton said he was pleased to support the agreement with Best Friends and looked forward to achieving the stated goals of the February resolution.
“I’m very pleased that our call for action was heard,” he said.