DailyNews.com - Los Angeles animal shelters are seeing a sharp plunge in euthanasia rates this year, approaching a near-record low for the past decade.
Los Angeles Animal Services was on track to have put down 4,000 fewer cats and dogs in the fiscal year that ended June 30 compared to the previous year, with final numbers due out next week.
"The city is poised for its best year of reducing shelter deaths and increasing the live-save rate since the city established its no-kill goal a decade ago," said LAAS General Manager Brenda Barnette, in a statement. "I believe this success belongs to all pet loving Angelenos."
In the summer of 2003, Mayor James Hahn declared the city could reach a no-kill target within five years, based on construction plans at the time for additional shelters. In 2005, then-candidate Antonio Villaraigosa also supported the goal in his mayoral campaign.
But with later budget cuts, the city hasn't come close to that target. The average annual euthanasia rate has hovered between 19,500 and 22,000 animals over the past four years, as many owners abandoned their pets during the recession.
But in the first 11 month of 2012-13, that number dropped to 15,200 deaths, according to the LAAS website, with hundreds of fewer deaths each month than the year before.
Add an estimated 2,000 cats and dogs killed last month, and the final tally for 2012-13 may be under 17,500 - at least 4,000 fewer cats and dogs put down than the year before.
The June euthanasia count is expected to be released next week.
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Written by Dana Bartholomew
Image by Michael Owen Baker