Behind the Yavapai Humane Society’s Pet Adoption Center in Prescott was a large incinerator. Abandoned for several years, the incinerator had become emblematic of a bygone era when homeless pets in our community were euthanized and discarded like so much garbage. The removal of this nightmarish relic on Feb. 27 is symbolic of a new day for pets in Yavapai County.
According to data provided by Animal People, the leading independent newspaper providing investigative coverage of animal protection, central and western Yavapai County is now tied with New York City as the second-safest community in the nation for pets.
This ranking is determined by the number of shelter animals killed per 1,000 residents. In the 12 months ending in February, the YHS kill rate fell to an all-time low tied with NYC at 1.0.
Whidbey Island, WA is ranked the safest community at .8 pets killed per 1,000 humans.
In contrast, Mohave County weighs in at 33. The most dangerous community in the U.S. for shelter animals is Amarillo, Texas, at 54.5 pets killed for every 1,000 residents.
In 2009, the YHS kill rate was 10.5, but this rate started declining in July 2010 when the YHS Board of Directors and management team embraced a “no-kill” ethic. This ethic is defined as applying the same criteria to homeless animals that a compassionate veterinarian or loving pet owner would apply to a pet when deciding if or when that pet should be euthanized, meaning only irremediably suffering and dangerously aggressive animals would ever be euthanized.
Today, YHS is a national model for having eliminated killing as a method of pet overpopulation control. Reinforcing the symbolic gesture of dismantling the incinerator, YHS is also building an infirmary to care for homeless sick pets. The facility is scheduled to open in May and was made possible thanks to municipal and private funding.
This life-saving transformation in our community is the result of YHS supporters, volunteers and donors and could not have been achieved without them. If you would like to achieve No Kill in your community, contact me today.