A Letter from the Director Regarding the 2012 OC Animal Care Statistics
Our 2012 statistics are now posted on our Statistics page on the website.
You will note that all of the data is listed both comprehensively as well as by the individual cities we serve. We also list licensing data as we believe it’s important to show compliance rates and how that can affect intake and animals that are returned to their owners.
We feel that pet identification is a significant component in helping our shelter reduce intake and euthanasia. In 2012, only 1,868 stray animals total came into our shelter with some form of identification (license, microchip, ID tag, etc.) – Most of those were dogs. That means we impounded almost 28,000 animals that were unidentified. You will see that the Return to Owner numbers saw a slight increase this year, which is encouraging given that our total intake was lower. However, we must continue to stress the importance of identifying pets. We recently purchased several Pet ID machines that we’ve been utilizing at our adoption events to hand out free pet IDs (non-license). We’re also working to implement programs that will further incentivize licenses, which are required by law if you own a dog in Orange County.
On a very positive note, our total animal intake continues to decrease! In 2012, it decreased by almost 1,500 animals. In fact, if you look at just cats and dogs (our primary intake), it decreased by almost 1,600. Although our Return to Owner statistics may not show it, we believe that the lower intake, particularly with dogs, has been reduced because of the greater awareness and efforts related to Dog Licensing and pet ID, and more spay/neuter education. Our customer services staff receives calls daily from ‘Good Samaritans’ that have found pets with ID and we are able to connect those pets with their owners without the animals ever having to come to the shelter. These are statistics that are not calculated into our actual Return to Owner stats, but it’s important to touch on this as it again shows how significant those IDs are to getting pets back home. It’s always been important for us to promote spay/neuter as many animals, particular free-roaming animals like cats, contribute heavily to the many animals that come into the shelter.
Another positive is our Adoptions/Live Release numbers held pretty steady across the board. Given that we had a lower intake, this would actually indicate that rates (percentages) were higher! We continue to provide monthly adoption events at the shelter thanks not only to the work of our staff, but also local organizations like Angel’s Baseball Foundation, Desperate Paws of Orange County Dog Club, Animals for Armed Forces and Pathways to Hope (who does the Prison Pup program). We are also very grateful to the Noble Friends Foundation for OC Animal Care that has provided generous recourses for our shelter medical program that has saved the lives of many special needs pets!
We continue to track the trends associated with euthanasia. With cats specifically, almost 3,000 of those we euthanized were ‘feral’ cats that cannot be adopted. Another 3,500 euthanized were kittens less than 6 weeks of age. Despite the incredible efforts of our foster caretakers (411 fostered – an increase over last year) and the amazing work done by local non-profit rescues (over 600 underage kittens placed with rescues), neonatal & underage litters of kittens continue to weigh heavily on our efforts. Both feral cats and underage kittens resulted in over 70% of our total cat euthanasia.
Something exciting for this year (2013) – We recently received a grant from the ASPCA to pilot a Trap Neuter Return program that will specifically target the feral cats coming into our shelter. The purposes of this program, which we’re calling Feral FREE, are to reduce feral cat populations within the cities we serve and decrease unwanted litters of kittens that contribute so heavily to our cat euthanasia. Up to this point, trapping feral cats and euthanizing them has not contributed to decreasing feral cat populations. It is our hope that this pilot program will be an effective alternative.
With dogs, we saw nearly 1,000 fewer dogs euthanized in 2012 than in 2011! We believe this is due to almost 700 fewer dogs coming into the shelter and almost 100 more dog adoptions than in 2011. Also, our dog licensing compliance rates have increased. As with last year, we continue to impound a very large number of Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas. These two breeds again accounted for approximately 40% of the dogs that came to the shelter. As we’ve mentioned before, both breeds require very patient owners that are willing to put in a lot of extra time and effort. We hosted two adoption events this year highlighting these two breeds specifically and both were very successful!
Thank you to our community for assisting us with our efforts to reduce the number of unwanted animals in Orange County and decrease the numbers of animals coming into the shelter. We are looking forward to continued success in 2013!
OC Animal Care Director