|See Tito's story below.|
The annual analysis compares the per capita kill rate of dogs and cats in communities across the nation. The rate is determined by dividing the number of animals killed per 1,000 residents. For instance, if a community of 500,000 people kills 5,000 dogs and cats per year, you divide 5,000 animals by 500 (groups of 1,000 people) to determine a kill rate of 10 animals per 1,000 residents. This epidemiological statistic puts every community on equal footing and compares apples to apples.
Thus, the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) kill rate was determined by dividing the number of animals killed over the past 12 months (213) by the 2010 U.S. Census estimate for western Yavapai County (154,482 or 213/154 = 1.3).
ANIMAL PEOPLE reports the annual death toll of shelter animals in the U.S is 3 million; and the national kill rate is 9.6 pets killed per 1,000 humans. The average kill rate in the Mountain States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah) is 9.7.
Sadly, the analysis also reveals most Arizona communities kill at a significantly higher rate than the national or regional averages. For example, the kill rate in Maricopa County is 12.7; Pima County is 21.9; Mohave County is 33.3 and the Navajo Nation is 33.5.
Although YHS had a 17.25 kill rate two years ago, a rate significantly higher than the national average, the report found western Yavapai County is now among the safest pet communities in the nation. Whidbey Island, Wash., has the lowest kill rate at .8 pets per 1,000 humans, followed by New York City at 1.0. San Francisco and western Yavapai County tied for third place at 1.3.
Merritt Clifton, publisher of ANIMAL PEOPLE and compiler of the annual kill rate analysis said of YHS progress, "This is excellent and the fastest drop I've ever seen."
The good news doesn't stop there. When you break down the western Yavapai County kill rate even further a significant and wonderful story unfolds. Three local municipalities actually emerge among the nation's most elite humane communities. The Town of Prescott Valley leads with a kill rate of 0; Chino Valley is a close second at .5; and the City of Prescott is not far behind at 1.1. The unincorporated portion of western Yavapai County weighs in at 2.5.
The actual number of animals euthanized at YHS fell 63 percent from FY10 to FY11, and another 65 percent over the past 12 months. Since July 2010 killing plummeted 87 percent. This rapid decline in killing follows implementation of an innovative philosophy called "the no-kill ethic." Simply defined, the no-kill ethic applies the same criteria when deciding a shelter animal's fate that a loving pet owner or conscientious veterinarian would apply to a beloved pet.
The result may be better understood as four additional animal lives saved each and every day of the year - which translates into 95 percent of all the animals rescued by YHS ultimately finding loving homes.
If you are an animal lover, you are invited to celebrate this remarkable success at this year's Reigning Cats & Dogs Dinner Gala Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Prescott Resort. Tickets are on sale now. Call YHS at 445-2666 or visit our website at www.yavapaihumane.org to purchase your tickets today. Tickets are $100 each; a table for 10 is $900. I look forward to seeing you there!
The dog in the picture above is Tito, a 6-month-old boxer. He came to YHS as a lost dog on the Fourth of July. He is all puppy, but knows some basic obedience. He sits on command and shakes hands and paws. Multiple people have expressed interest in adopting Tito so an adoption silent auction will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 28, during YHS’s Empty the Shelter Weekend.
Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.