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Number of animals euthanized at shelter decreases

The Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board met on Tuesday, Feb. 10, to discuss recent progress at the facility and the year ahead.
Different resources at the shelter have allowed the Unicoi County Animal Shelter (UCAS) to drop numbers considerably low, according to graphs presented during the meeting.
One of the more drastic improvements from previous years was the result of increased adoptions for both cats and dogs. The increase adoptions reduced lives lost in the shelter.
The biggest improvement was the rate of cats’ lives compared from 2013 to 2014.
Throughout 2013, UCAS saw nearly 298 of the feline population – near 50 percent – put down. The following year, the rate dropped to 20 percent, with only 65 cats having to undergo euthanization and 10 losing life due to bad health conditions.
In 2013, the rate of dogs who were put down was at 116 – near 20 percent – but UCAS saw the numbers slip down to under 10 percent with only 46.
The biggest reason for the considerable drop off for loss of lives was due to the increased ways animals can leave the facility, Shelter Director Jessica Rogers said.
Rescue organizations have allowed a good chunk of the dogs and cats to receive good homes, according to the charts, in 2014.
Last year, of the 580 dogs that left the shelter, 245 were part of rescue. Also, 214 went the avenue of adoption while 121 of the dogs were reunited with their owners.
The biggest rate of adoption was in favor of cats with 279 finding homes in 2014.
Over 20 states have seen animals from UCAS find homes with owners residing in those states, as well as in Canada.
An increased rate in vaccination has allowed animals to find homes quicker, Rogers added.
Vaccines took up the majority of direct cost of animal care for 2014, with over $3,000 dollars.
However, the direct cost of animal care for last year dropped from over $7,000 in 2013 to around $5,000, with the biggest decline coming from pet food. The shelter has relied on new outlets to receive food on reduced rates or even at no cost with help of different organizations.
Support for UCAS has been another reason for the upswing of success from the past year with over $75,000 going into the facility from donations. Fundraisers also chalk up over $15,000 dollars of income, allowing the shelter to outweigh the expense of operation to allow growth to continue into this year.
Among other items explained during the meeting, UCAS proposed its budget for the upcoming year. This budget will be presented to local governing bodies in the future. The shelter will not ask the entities for any additional funds, thanks to cost-cutting measures put in place by UCAS, Rogers also said.
“You’ve got something good going here,” Town of Unicoi Mayor, and member of the board, Johnny Lynch said. “We appreciate all the hard work everybody has put in.”