The euthanasia rate at the Humane Educational Society continues to go down, executive director Guy Bilyeu said in an annual report.
He said the HES in the past year euthanized almost 3,000 fewer animals than the year before.
Here is the full report:
On March 6, 2003 local ABC affiliate, News Channel 9, launched the first of a three part expose on the Chattanooga Humane Educational Society. In that expose it was reported that HES euthanized over 20,000 dogs in 2 years, and on any given day, over 100 were euthanized.
From August of 2003 through July of 2004 we euthanized 2,934 less animals and adopted 1,151 more animals than the previous year.
This is a report of the challenges we have faced and the changes we have made in the past year.
Over the past few years the euthanasia rate at the Humane Educational Society (HES) averaged between 70 & 80% annually, giving HES the highest euthanasia rate in the state. In 5 years the incoming number of animals grew from 10,000 to almost 15,000 animals annually. HES continued to provide services to the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County and local municipalities, making HES the largest shelter in Tennessee. However, the shelter was not large enough to accept these increases.
The offices and kennels were built in 1940. In 1998 Margaret Brock provided the funding to renovate a portion of our facility to form the Margaret Brock Pet Adoption Center. This addition was added to provide space for puppies and kittens. In 2002 HES added 35 additional kennels outside the rabies observation area. These additions could not keep up with the continued increase in animals from an increasing human population. Furthermore, the majority the shelter was in need of a significant amount of repair due to age of the facility. Fencing throughout the facility was worn, full of holes and crudely repaired. Dogs were starting to get stuck in the chain link fencing. Animals in the new addition had only partial roofing and were subjected to the elements.
All animals delivered by HES Animal Control Officers, City Animal Services Officers, or the public were placed in any kennel that was open. They were placed ADJOINING, and WITH other animals, without any medical or behavioral assessment. Unfortunately, this process promoted the spread of disease and inhumane stress. Animals were held for 5-10 days before being euthanized. Any animal showing signs of illness, age, or owner release were euthanized, and any animal housed with a sick animal was also euthanized.
There were no areas where shelter animals could be isolated or quarantined with the exception of rabies quarantine for biting dogs. Feral cats were also housed in the general population. The private kennel in the rear of HES was used to hold animals before euthanasia and was closed to the public.
HES had no written policy or procedures except an outdated employee handbook. With an aging computer system and server, the system crashed 2-3 times daily and only 3 computers could be on the network at one time. Further, there were over 1,000 viruses, several worms and Spyware draining system resources.
HES did not have adoption applications for pre-screening of potential adopters. Adopters simply filled out a contract and few were turned down. Prior to July 2003 adopters were given a voucher for the alteration of their animals, perpetuating more homeless animals.
In July of 2003 the HES made 3 significant changes. All adopted animals were to be delivered to a veterinarian by HES employees upon adoption for sterilization. HES created the Walter L. Martin Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Certificates. Since then 1,566 certificates have been issued at a cost of almost $40,000.00. HES also lowered the adoption rate to $30.00 while paying $55.00 to local veterinarians.
Adoption & Euthanasia Comparisons
Our most important achievement has been the significant increase in adoptions and reduction in euthanasia. Our adoption rates increased 63% while our euthanasia rates decreased 25%. Below are the statistics for this past year including comparisons from 2002-2003.
Rates 2002-2003 2003-2004 Change
Adoption 18.84% 30.79% 63%
Euthanasia 72.18% 54.11% 25%
Redeemed 7.30% 5.64% 1.66% Lower than 2002-2003
2003-2004 Incoming euthanized adopt redeemed EU Rate Adopt Rate Redeemed Rate
Aug 1198 793 283 82 66.19% 23.62% 6.84%
Sept 1194 641 258 49 53.69% 21.61% 4.10%
Oct 1120 705 264 59 62.95% 23.57% 5.27%
Nov 781 430 254 51 55.06% 32.52% 6.53%
Dec 781 393 335 57 50.32% 42.89% 7.30%
Jan 890 440 286 51 49.44% 32.13% 5.73%
Feb 785 300 329 46 38.22% 41.91% 5.86%
Mar 854 479 436 40 56.09% 51.05% 4.68%
April 976 475 309 70 48.67% 31.66% 7.17%
May 1206 608 343 67 50.41% 28.44% 5.56%
June 1461 885 278 59 60.57% 19.03% 4.04%
July 1333 769 281 61 57.69% 21.08% 4.58%
Totals 12579 6918 3656 692 54.11% 30.79% 5.64%
2002-2003 Incoming euthanized adopt redeemed EU Rate Adopt Rate Redeemed Rate
August 1486 1136 206 88 76.45% 13.86% 5.92%
Sept 1243 944 189 82 75.95% 15.21% 6.60%
Oct 1191 930 211 94 78.09% 17.72% 7.89%
Nov 955 757 191 72 79.27% 20.00% 7.54%
Dec 846 524 229 105 61.94% 27.07% 12.41%
Jan 807 618 190 74 76.58% 23.54% 9.17%
Feb 908 607 150 85 66.85% 16.52% 9.36%
March 957 573 196 85 0.598746 20.48% 8.88%
April 1120 701 188 94 0.625893 16.79% 8.39%
May 1361 1027 214 95 0.754592 15.72% 6.98%
June 1444 1107 258 71 0.76662 17.87% 4.92%
July 1331 928 283 51 0.69722 21.26% 3.83%
Total 13649 9852 2505 996 0.721811 0.18836317 7.30%
Our ageing shelter did not have adequate space or isolation areas for incoming animals. To address this problem we added new rooms to our facility with the most important being the new puppy isolation building. This building has heating and air conditioning for the puppies and cats in isolation. This section has 44 new cages large enough to house litters of puppies separately, as proper housing dictates, we no longer house puppies from separate litters together. These puppies are quarantined for 14 days to prevent the spread of disease. We also have an isolation area for incoming sick cats. This prevents illness from spreading to other sections of cats throughout the facility. Other changes include the intake area for incoming cats and a new cat adoption room with 22 cages and heating and air conditioning. Other improvements include:
Newly built Cat Adoption Room
Newly built Vet Check Room with surgical table, refrigerator & sink
Newly built Laundry and Dish Washing Room with commercial washer, dryer & sink
Roof addition to take animals out of elements
Newly built Puppy & Cat Isolation Building
New fencing for torn or worn kennels
Barrels and blankets for animal comfort
New air conditioning for portions of kennel
New insulation and sheetrock for 40x60 ceiling
New breaker box and outlets
All animals delivered to our facility are initially screened for medical and behavioral disposition. A proper intake area has been designated where all animals are housed prior to introduction into the general population. Protocols for disease and a medical plan to address illness in our shelter have been established, and in April we hired a staff veterinarian, Dr. Tony Ashley. We now vaccinate all animals immediately when they arrive at our shelter and all puppies are de-wormed. We also give Bordatella to all incoming dogs to prevent kennel cough. These are preventative measures to keep our animals as healthy as possible. Animals receiving medication have a medical card so that all staff members are informed.
Puppies once housed in the general population are now housed in a separate building from adult dogs. They are kept in separate stainless steel cages and only littermates are housed together. Puppies are also quarantined for 14 days to prevent the spread of diseases that they may bring to our facility. This is a significant change in our process.
New Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
We have adopted several new policies and procedures to help with day-to-day management and structure including:
New cleaning procedures for both cats and dogs
New treatment protocol for disease
New disinfectants and proper usage
New euthanasia policies & procedures
New employee handbook
New volunteer handbook
New animal care associate handbook
New adoption application
How to age & sex domestic animals
We installed a completely new computer system and have 11 fully networked computers, which are backed up daily, password protected and protected by a firewall and Symantec Corporate Antivirus, which automatically updates. We have 10 trained processors that can input data. It is also now possible for any staff member to access their personalized desktop from any computer in the building. Employees have various levels of user rights and can only access programs specific to their jobs.
Our beautification committee headed by Jackie Harling has made great strides in getting donations for the front of the building and for our office areas. The change is significant. We have new paint and furniture for our offices; new plants and painting for the front of our building and even new paint for the fence outside MBPAC.
In the past year we have made a great deal of staffing changes. We now have both a front and rear processor that process incoming animals. They are responsible for accepting animals from Animal Control Officers or the public. They vaccinate the animals, and then find a place in the kennel according to size, age and basic temperament. Afterwards, they input the data into ¡§PetWhere¡¨, print the kennel card and place the kennel card on the cage.
In December, 2003, Beth Brock joined our team as Community Outreach Manager. She is trained in animal behavior, and helped to implement our medical program. She works closely with our staff veterinarian to treat sick or injured animals delivered to our facility. She has already given several presentations to local churches and schoolchildren. Most importantly she has shared Shelter Manager duties, until one could be hired, and works tirelessly wherever needed.
We recently hired a new Volunteer Coordinator, Hillary Doggart Greer. In just a few weeks she has had a great impact on our facility. Twenty new volunteers have been trained and we now have added another day to our highly successful off-site adoption program. She has also requested and received donations including a full cleaning of our front offices and several items for Dog Daze.
On August 15th we welcome our new Shelter Manager!!, Alison Talley, who will be responsible for all aspects of animal care and animal rotation in our facility.
Many of the animals we receive are extremely dirty and matted, which makes it difficult to get them adopted. We now have several groomers that donate their skills to help these animals. They include Gail Mcleod, Andrea, Elizabeth Weikert,
Our budget last year did not allow for Humane Education. However, HES still provided educational tours to scores of school children and groups. Animal Control Officer Dale Olsen, our Community Outreach Manager Beth Brock, along with me, gave presentations to over 1,000 children at local schools. This year we are targeting local schools and anticipate several Humane Education presentations each month.
Without volunteers we would not be able to provide our services. Our volunteer program is strong and growing. Some of out top volunteers include Lorraine & Devin Munker, Vivian & Gaither, Bill Scott, Marian Roides, Mary Anne Grottoden, Claudia & Dan Iorio, Cortney Seay, Lynne Brock, Donna & James Dravland, and Diane, Cindy & Melissa Otis. Last year we had very few individuals that volunteered for our facility. Here are just some accomplishments:
Our Off-site Adoption Program accounted for almost 1,000 adoptions.
An average of 56 volunteers monthly helping feed and clean animals.
Our Foster Program, once almost non-existent, has grown tremendously with as many as 100 animals in foster.
Volunteers helped collect food, money & supplies for our animals.
McCauley, Notre Dame, UTC Students, and 7th Day Southern College donated countless hours to help HES
We were also fortunate to have support from local Girl Scout & Boy Scout troops.
1. Spay Day USA. HES staff and volunteers collaborated with local animal and rescue groups to promote Spay Day USA. There were several scheduled events and we received free spay/neuter from local veterinarians to give away.
2. Dog Daze, This collaborative event includes most local animal and rescue groups and is scheduled for August 29th. We will have an educational booth and are mainly involved with the Silent Auction where proceeds will be split equally with all organizations that have a spay/neuter program.
Each week we take animals to two separate assisted living facilities. Last week we added two new facilities to this program. It is a special program that we can give to the elderly in our community that do not typically get to socialize with animals do to aging or illness.
Feral Cat Trapping Program
This year HES was helped initiate the pilot program of trapping, altering and releasing feral cats. Two separate colonies were chosen and in total 32 cats were trapped through this program. The cats were housed at our shelter, taken to local veterinarians for alteration and released after a week. We completed the first colony; however we stopped the program in late March on the second colony when we trapped a mother cat that had just delivered kittens. Without the mother, the kittens would have died. We will begin trapping again next month to finalize the remaining colony.
Our relationship with the local media has changed dramatically. In February Channel 3 did a Documentary about our shelter and every month we have numerous interviews on TV, on radio and in the newspapers. We have opened our facility to local media and are always available for interviews or comments on animal issues. We also have a Pet of Week on Channel 3 and on Chattanoogan.com.
Last year we started with a budget deficit of almost $40,000.00. That deficit did not include a salary for the new Executive Director. However even with this deficit, this past year we came in on budget.
These are just some of the changes we have made this past year. However, we still have a great deal of work to do. The true problem in our community along with all communities in this nation is animal overpopulation, and the lack of awareness as such in our society. A community the size of Chattanooga and the surrounding area should not see this many animals lost or abandoned. We will focus a great deal of our attention on this problem in 2004-2005.
We will continue to grow our current programs as we aggressively promote spay/neuter programs and humane education. Though we have had many staff changes, I am very proud of our current staff as they continue to learn and improve their ability to care for lost or abandoned animals in our community. I am especially pleased with the recent additions to our management team and am confident that together we will save even more lives. Animal overpopulation is a serious problem that will not go away without absolute conviction and collaboration.
Humane Educational Society