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Maricopa County shelter program leads to decrease in animal euthanizations

PHOENIX — The implementation of a Maricopa County animal adoption program has decreased the number of euthanized dogs and cats over the past three years, according to recent data.

The county’s Fix.Adopt.Save. campaign has decreased the number of euthanized animals by more than 70 percent, from 37,591 in 2012 to just 10,859 in 2015.

The campaign has also recorded a decrease in the number of animals taken in by county shelters, from 84,823 in 2012 to 52,673 in 2015.

Melissa Gable, public information officer for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, said the fewer animals being placed in shelters helps bring down the number of pets being euthanized.

“Before when there were so many animals, you really couldn’t devote the time and the resources to care for them,” she said. “Now that there’s fewer animals coming into the shelter, it gives you that opportunity to devote more resources.”

Gable said one of the main reasons intake numbers are down is because of Fix.Adopt.Save., which aims to spay and neuter more pets.

“People (are) realizing that we can’t keep taking all of these litters to the shelter and letting the shelters deal with it,” she said. “We need to be responsible pet owners and spay or neuter.”

The campaign’s message is spreading: 37,557 pets were spayed or neutered in 2012, compared to 43,067 in 2015, a 15 percent increase.

Gable said the program also works to get people to adopt pets and find them loving homes. The “Save” part of the program is for people who want to volunteer their time at a shelter or provide foster care for a pet.

“Our common goal is to help the pets,” Gable said.

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