Two years ago, staff at Edmonton’s Animal Care and Control Centre were making tough choices about which cats and dogs to save. This year, they performed hundreds of surgeries in-house, saving potentially thousands of dollars a surgery, which allowed them to give more and better treatments to unclaimed pets. For the first time in recent memory, 100 per cent of all pets deemed adoptable in 2015 were saved.
The centre impounds strays or abandoned animals. It holds unlicensed animals for three days, licensed ones for 10 days, as required by provincial legislation, before sending good candidates back out for adoption.
Edmonton officials have been pitching various ways to reduce euthanasia rates since at least 2008, when about a third of the 4,887 cats and dogs brought to the pound were put down. This year, roughly 6,300 animals were turned in and only nine per cent were put down.
“We’re meeting that need and doing it in a more cost effective fashion,” said Ron Gabruck, the city’s director for animal care and pest management. “The benefit of this suite in terms of ongoing cost savings and the subjective side of what we do here is immense. How do you put a price tag on us offering the ethical care that meets community standards?”