Can busy municipal animal control agencies dramatically reduce the number of cats entering their shelters as well as euthanasia rates? A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal PeerJ suggests they can.
In 2009, the municipal animal shelter in San Jose, CA, was seeing the number of cats coming into the facility increasing even though they had a longstanding low cost spay/neuter program. Despite attempts to ensure live outcomes for these cats, the numbers weren't good.
That's when they began sterilizing healthy feral cats who came into their shelter, and returning them to the locations where they'd been thriving. That added up to 10,080 cats out of the 11,423 they impounded.
What happened? Study authors Karen L. Johnson and Jon Cicirelli reported:
Four years into the program, researchers observed cat and kitten impounds decreased 29.1%; euthanasia decreased from over 70% of intakes in 2009, to 23% in 2014. Euthanasia in the shelter for Upper Respiratory Disease decreased 99%; dead cat pick up off the streets declined 20%. Dog impounds did not similarly decline over the four years. No other laws or program changes were implemented since the beginning of the program.
The complete article can be read, free, at the link below.
Johnson KL, Cicirelli J. (2014) Study of the effect on shelter cat intakes and euthanasia from a shelter neuter return project of 10,080 cats from March 2010 to June 2014. PeerJ 2:e646 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.646
Also of interest: