Animal euthanasia in Phoenix area down by 71%

The euthanasia of dogs and cats in Maricopa County has plummeted more than 70 percent since a coalition of animal-welfare groups launched an initiative three years ago, Phoenix and animal activists said.

The “Fix.Adopt.Save.” program relied heavily on increasing the availability of low-cost or free spay and neuter services, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said at a news conference this week.

Seven animal welfare organizations worked together to lower euthanasia of dogs and cats in Maricopa County.

Dr. Steven Hansen, who chaired the alliance said the number of animals taken into shelters also dropped, by 38 percent since 2013.

Altered Tails Barnhart Clinic in Phoenix is among the facilities offering low-cost surgeries.
Dr. Kellie Ayle, director of veterinary services said surgeries increased from 8,000 three years ago to 20,000 last year.

“We feel really good about that,” Ayle said.

The campaign also encourages people to adopt rather than buy a pet.

“We’ve had adoption events that we have throughout the Valley to promote to the joy of pets and the wonderful fact of actually rescuing an animal,” says Dr. Hansen.

There’s an overpopulation of pit bulls, chihuahuas and cats.

“One of our big focus areas are bully breeds because they have a lower chance of getting out of the shelters alive,” said Heather Allen, president and chief executive of HALO Animal Rescue.

Allen added that HALO has waived fees to adopt bully breeds that are six months and older, which has helped them find more homes.

“We’ve been highly successful, but we’re not done yet,” Dr. Hansen said.

Nearly 11,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in 2015, according to the campaign website.

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