Pet adoptions from the Tyler Animal Shelter are up 23 percent over last year, and officials said the operation has improved in every measure.
Tyler Animal Control had picked up almost 2,000 animals as of last week.
Of those, almost 600 were cats and 1,360 were dogs. Officers picked up almost 90 other animals, including rats, possums, skunks, raccoons and one owl.
Of the animals picked up, almost 260 were adopted out to new families, and 590 were transferred to the 100-plus animal rescue groups in the shelter’s network.
Shelter Manager Shawn Markmann said that marks an increase in adoptions, which had been averaging about 220 annually.
Nearly 540 animals were euthanized for medical reasons or because of aggression. The shelter estimated 100 to 150 were euthanized at the request of their owners, primarily due to age or health problems. Markmann said the city’s fees are lower than many veterinarians in the area.
The remainder of those euthanized were because of injury, for rabies testing or because they posed a threat to themselves or other animals and were too aggressive to safely place with families.
The city also euthanizes animals to make space in the shelter. So far this year, about 115 animals, or almost 6 percent, were put to sleep to make more space for others.
Markmann said that number is actually pretty good.
“That’s the animals that we couldn’t place - that’s the number everyone looks at,” he said.
Close to 390 animals were reclaimed by their owners, and 18 percent of those never made it into the shelter thanks to portable scanning devices that read microchips.
Markmann said the city had been averaging 80 to 90 reclaims a year.
“Nationally speaking, reclaimed animals rarely constitute 25 percent of what leaves the shelter,” he said. “Ours was 27 percent.”
Markmann is a big proponent of micochipping. This year, the city microchipped 1,242 animals. The shelter charges a $10 fee for the service.
“Everyone sees a benefit from that,” Markmann said. ‘We are microchipping animals that don’t just live in Tyler. The idea behind microchipping is that we can get your dog home quicker.”
The city’s pet food project gave out 4,535 pounds of food to families needing help. That’s over 2 tons of food.
“The idea here is keeping animals in the home by supporting (owners) with food until they can get back on their feet,” Markmann said.
The city is continually accepting donations as part of the program. Donations can be brought to the shelter at 4218 Chandler Highway.
Markmann said part of the reason for the successful numbers is a new, inviting building that is easy to find. The city had an open house on its new $3.1 million animal facility in January, and moved its operations into the building in March.
But he also attributed the shelter's success to doing a lot of little things right.
“We have a Facebook presence and a strong micochipping program,” he said. “We are getting more animals back home quicker. That’s the big success that we want to continue doing.”