Austin animal guardians will have the opportunity to have their friends receive HomeAgain microchips, a nylon collar and a tag, all at no cost. Austin Animal Center is offering this free service in hopes of keeping animals out of the shelter system. The center is located at 7201 Levander Loop, Austin, Texas 78702.
The micro-chipping service will be offered Friday December 30 from 11:00am to 7:00pm and Saturday December 31 from 11:00am to 5:00pm.
“What most people don’t realize is that after the three-day holding period the pet is available for adoption,” Chief Animal Services Officer Abigail Smith said. “People can’t afford to sit and wait to see if their pet comes home on their own, they need to visit the shelter or check the website right away. If pets have identification on them they most likely can avoid the shelter altogether.”
Disturbing figures come from American Humane, a founding member of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. The mission of the council is to gather and analyze data to determine the disposition of dogs and cats in the United States. The most recent data, unfortunately, was gathered in 1997 when only 1,000 shelters responded to their survey. The council estimates that 3,500 shelters are operating currently although other organizations estimate that number closer to 5,000.
- Of the 1,000 shelters that replied to the National Council’s survey, 4.3 million animals were handled.
- In 1997, roughly 64 percent of the total number of animals that entered shelters were euthanized — approximately 2.7 million animals in just these 1,000 shelters. These animals may have been euthanized due to overcrowding, but may also have been sick, aggressive, injured or suffering from something else.
- 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. More cats are euthanized than dogs because they are more likely to enter a shelter without any owner identification.
- Only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners.
- 25 percent of dogs and 24 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are adopted.
With these figures, it is estimated that 3.7 million animals were killed in shelters in 2008. An obscene number three years ago. Equally troubling is that transparency is not required of kill shelters. The few no kill shelters in the country gladly share their 90% or better save rates. Last year, of the 7,000 stray dogs that found themselves at Austin’s Town Lake Center, only 30% were reunited with family.
The American Humane recommends and common sense dictates that animals should have proper identification. It is not recommended for dogs to wear collars indoors, particularly if crated as the collar or tags could get caught and become a choking hazard. Cats should wear break-away collars in order to free themselves when caught. Microchips are the ideal and when properly registered will best result in reuniting family members.
It is important to act quickly in the event your animal companion escapes. Along with checking Austin Animal Center’s database, check and post on www.lostfoundpets.us, Craigslist and Facebook pages such as Lost Pets in Austin Texas (www.facebook.com/LostPetsATX) and Central Texas Pets (http://www.facebook.com/CentralTXPets). Distribute flyers, hang posters with good photos and accurate descriptions and tell everyone you encounter. Phone every veterinarian, especially the emergency vets. Consider renting a trap.
Taking preventative measures will save heartache and complications. While humans are celebrating the arrival of 2012, New Year’s Eve fireworks are frightening to most animals. It is advised to keep your animal friends safe at home and away from festivities they find disturbing. Give them a happy, healthy new year.