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FHS’s live release rate up dramatically

Foothills Humane Society (FHS) continues to find homes for more of the cats and dogs it receives.
For the third straight year, the shelter showed significant improvement in its live release rate in 2009. According to FHSs 2009 Operating Report, the rate improved from 63 pct. in 2008 to 85 pct in 2009 for dogs, and from 50 percent in 2008 to 75 percent in 2009 for cats.
Foothills Humane Society released the report at its Annual Meeting of the Membership on January 18, 2010. The figures show FHS found homes for a total of about 1,227 cats and dogs last year.
“2009 was a very good year for the animals in our care,” according to Robert Then, President of the Society. “Most of this improvement was due to substantial operating changes adopted in July, and the dramatic increase in live release outcomes was achieved in the second half of the year, traditionally our busiest time with many litters of unwanted puppies and kittens coming in.
“This gives us a lot of optimism for even better results in 2010, particularly for cats. The goal for our community is No More Homeless Pets.”
Rescue placements and adoptions were up almost 50% from 2008. President Then credited this improvement to foster homes which effectively increase the Societys capacity and greatly increase the time available to find the animals homes.
“Our Fosters are their “Lifeline” according to Outplacement Coordinator Dana Mayer. Several dozen sick and injured animals which could not have been saved in the past were helped thru Lennys Fund and the newly established Chicken Soup Fund, and by fosters and rescue groups specializing in special needs animals.
The Spay Neuter Assistance Program funded by Foothills Humane Society has sterilized almost 3,000 animals over the past five years, which has resulted in annual animal intake reductions, to 1,541 animals in 2009, a 7% decrease from 2008.
This was despite a large increase in dogs turned in by owners no longer able to care for them because of the economy. President Then announced changes to the Spay Neuter Assistance Program to target owners who cannot afford to have the animal fixed.
“Our generous vets and donors make this program possible, and it is their and our intent that it be used to fix animals which would not otherwise get the surgery because their owners cannot afford it.”
It was noted that the Spay/Neuter Assistance Program changes should also provide more incentive for people to consider the “adoption option” before they breed or buy a pet.
Members agreed that adopters not only get a great deal on Foothills fully vetted, microchipped and fixed animals, but they save a life and are part of the solution to the heartbreak of puppy mills and the 4 million homeless or abused animalswho die each year in Americas animal shelters.
Plans to improve all missions were outlined by members of the Society, including public education and marketing, and the recruitment, training and utilization of volunteers. Additional emphasis will be placed on the Po Kitties Trap Neuter Release program to reduce the kitten population.
It is estimated that unsterilized feral cats produce more than 80% of all kittens as most domesticated cats are spayed or neutered. The slogan “No More Homeless Pets. Spay. Neuter. Adopt” was adopted by the Members to assist these efforts.
The 2009 Financial Report was presented by Treasurer Steve King, who noted increased expenses associated with the expanded programs and animal care costs required to achieve the improved live release rates. He noted that additional Shelter facilities to isolate dogs and cats and prevent the spread of illness from incoming animals will be a substantial additional expense in 2010.
President Then added that additional funds will be required to continue this level of service to the animals, and urged members to be generous and promote the work of the Society to the public.
Foothills Humane Society is a North Carolina not-for-profit organization which serves Polk County, and northern Spartanburg and Greenville Counties in South Carolina, and maintains its Shelter at 989 Little Mountain Road, Columbus, NC. For more information contact Robert Then, President at (828)863-4444, or visit the website at www.foothillshumanesociety.org.