Oklahoma City Animal Shelter Rescue

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Oklahoma City Animal Shelter Rescue

Oklahoma City, OK

The Problem

Approximately 10 years ago Oklahoma City faced a major budget crisis. After the animal shelter's budget was cut along with that of other city departments, city officials were determined not to let it happen again. The animal shelter's most telling statistic is the live release rate. It includes animals that were lost but returned to their original owners and those adopted into new homes or transferred to rescue groups. Ten years ago, only about one in four animals to enter the shelter left alive.

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According to News OK, private capital allowed new infrastructure, like quarantine facilities, to be built while new programming for community outreach developed. Since then, the live release rate has skyrocketed to 60 percent and is expected to continue to rise to 75 percent. 

The shelter's first private partner came with Christy Counts, president of the Central OK Humane Society. Funding from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) now flows to the shelter through Counts' group, and PetSmart Charities and other groups have also proved valuable partners.

Donations and grant money funded new positions at the shelter. The humane society built a quarantine facility on the site, where adoptable dogs can be screened for health issues and shipped to states that need more pets. Community outreach programs grew. The city committed to not reducing its budget despite the inflow of private dollars. Veterinarians stepped up by providing low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. Creative programs like one that scoops up stray cats before sterilizing them and returning them to neighborhoods helps reduce the number of animals that come through the door.

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