Santa Rosa County Animal Services announced a save rate of 94% for the month of July, just two years after the shelter made headlines for having one of the highest euthanasia rates in the state of Florida.
According to Santa Rosa County, July 2020 was the first month the facility has achieved a save rate of 90% or more, which is commonly considered the benchmark for no-kill.
In July 2018, just two years ago, the shelter reported a euthanasia rate of nearly 80%.
To help its animal live release outcome, which includes adoptions, fosters and return-to-owners, animal services has been partnering with Best Friends Animal Society since October 2019. Best Friends provided a long-term embedded staff member, Jessica Gutmann, to the facility in February as manager of operations to help staff implement progressive sheltering practices that increase lifesaving.
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“This great accomplishment is due to a lot of caring and dedicated staff giving their all every day to have positive outcomes for the animals in our care,” said Dora Thomason, shelter director, in a press release from Santa Rosa County. “Our staff also works hard with our animals to get them well and provide a wonderful foster person/family to give them the love and care needed until they can be adopted. This program and partnership with Best Friends is vital to the success of our safety nets needed for the orphaned babies in our care.”
Gutmann said in the news release that Santa Rosa County Animal Services has shown “a steadfast dedication and made tremendous positive strides on the road to becoming no-kill.”
“Their commitment to collaborating with Best Friends to achieve this goal and adopting proven policies, philosophies and procedures has already made a significant statistical impact on reducing death rates,” she said.
In 2019, the shelter save rate was 65%. As of July 2020, the save rate for the entire year so far has increased to 84.6%.
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“This is a huge percentage difference in the save rate already for this year,” said Dr. Megan Arevalo, shelter veterinarian, in the release. “We are getting closer and closer to that benchmark of becoming a no-kill shelter. We’re saving more animals and putting more animals in homes than ever before.”
Gutmann added that she hoped the shelter’s save rate would continue its upward trajectory.
“Their leadership team has implemented programs and structures leaving the shelter well-positioned to not only reach these goals but for continued long-term sustainability of remaining no-kill,” she said.
Annie Blanks can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8632.