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Partnership between animal shelter and ‘Best Friends’ yields results

Wednesday, February 20, 20132287 views

The goal was to make strides toward reducing the number of animals euthanized at the West Valley City Animal Shelter. Now, city officials and community animal advocacy leaders say new practices put into place have already yielded significant results and are moving West Valley toward having a no-kill shelter this year.

In a recent report from the Best Friends Animal Society / No More Homeless Pets in Utah, the partnership between the city and the nonprofit animal care organization is paying off. Statistics show that pet adoptions are up, feral stray cat populations are down and the number of pets euthanized has been reduced.

West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder said he is pleased that the partnership is having such an impact to save pets.

“I am thrilled to see our volunteers [at the shelter] and employees and community leaders in animal advocacy working together. It’s a beautiful example of what can be accomplished with a team effort,” he said.

The West Valley City Animal Shelter, located at 4522 West 3500 South, provides animal control services locally and for the residents of Taylorsville.

The 12,000-square-foot facility has the capacity to house almost 200 animals, including dogs, cats, birds, chickens, ferrets, snakes, hamsters, pigs, goats and rabbits.

The animal shelter is open five days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Five full-time, two part-time and a rotating roster of volunteer employees staff the animal shelter.

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.

Last June, the city council approved a resolution to team up with Best Friends for two years and support new practices aimed at reducing the number of stray animals that enter the shelter and increase pet adoptions.

Under the new program, Best Friends provides a local trap-neuter-release program to humanely reduce the cat population. The group also provides support services to increase the rate of shelter cats that find good homes by taking shelter animals out to adoption events.

According to a report from Best Friends, the number of animals that leave the shelter to find new homes is up from 58 percent in 2011 to 82 percent in 2012.

Winder said the early results show a reason to be optimistic for more improvements this year.

“We have exceeded our expectations for last year, and I’m optimistic that we’ll reach our goal [to have a no-kill shelter] in 2013,” Winder said.

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