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Number of animals euthanized decreases at Humane Society

May 12, 2013

According to statistics from the Humane Society of Washington County, which in the past have not been made public, March’s total of 142 adoptions reflects an increase of 43 more than this past February and 48 more than in March 2012.

The number of animals that were euthanized or died at the facility in April decreased by 12 percent, or about 335 animals, as compared to April 2012, said Michael Lausen, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County.

As of April, the euthanasia/death rate for the current year — statistics are tracked by fiscal years that end June 30 — also comes in slightly lower than the 2010-11 year, according to statistics.

For the current year, which began July 1, 2012, a total of 803 animals were adopted from the humane society through February, and 2,296 animals were euthanized.

After Lausen came on board Feb. 4, the euthanasia rate dropped about 20 percent in one month’s time, decreasing from a total of 139 procedures in January to 56 in February. In comparison, 126 animals were euthanized in February 2012.

Additionally, the shelter’s overall live release rate increased to about 70 percent in February, an 18 percent jump from January.

Of 208 animals that left the facility in February, 99 were adopted, 14 were transferred to another shelter, 32 were returned to their owners and one was released back into the wild.

In January, a total of 158 animals out of 302 left the shelter alive, 139 were euthanized and five died naturally.

“We’re working very diligently to reduce the euthanasia rate,” Lausen said. “Basically, what we’re looking for is to increase our live release rate, finding innovative ways that have been used by other facilities and organizations around the United States as a way of re-homing animals rather than having to euthanize them.”

According to statistics provided by Lausen, 609 total calls for animal control have been handled by the agency since the start of 2013, predominantly in Hagerstown and outlying areas around the city.

The majority of cases involve pet welfare checks, reports of confined animals and animals on the loose.

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— C.J. Lovelace

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