For a variety of reasons, the kill rate at the Kansas City, Missouri, animal shelter went from 66% in 2006 down to 32% in 2011. At that point, with one in three shelter animals still dying, the city decided not to renew the contract of the organization that had been running the shelter. A group of pet advocates then got together and formed a new non-profit called Kansas City Pet Project (KCPP). The president of the board of directors of the new organization was well-known blogger Brent Toellner, who writes the KC Dog Blog. The first agenda item of the new organization was to win the contract to run the city shelter. After a struggle over financing, the contract with KCPP was finally approved by the city council in November of 2011.
KCPP formally began running the Kansas City shelter on January 1, 2012, with a goal to stop the killing of healthy and treatable pets. The shelter was open on New Year’s Day, putting its plan of expanded hours into practice. The shelter also debuted its “Free Ride Home” program for returning animals to their owners in the field. One week later, they had adopted out 165 pets. KCPP is an “open access” shelter that accepts animals from animal control and from the public.
The shelter implemented several initiatives to increase adoptions, including an off-site adoption center and a collaborative adopt-a-thon where 706 animals were adopted. It reaches out to volunteers, and seeks out rescue help. It started a transport program to send dogs to the North Shore Animal League. It is currently raising funds for a play yard for dogs. It filled out its leadership team including Teresa Johnson and Shannon Wells in the top spots.
In July of 2012, KCPP’s live release rate hit 91%. KCPP accomplished this even though its shelter building is old and outdated, and despite having an increased number of owner surrenders. A year has passed since then, the numbers are now in, and KCPP has announced a live release rate of 91% for July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. The detailed statistics for the year will soon be posted on the KCPP website, but in the meantime Toellner sent me full statistics which confirm the 91% live release rate. If owner-requested euthanasia and animals who died or were lost in shelter care are included in the euthanasia total, the modified live release rate is 88%. KCPP, having achieved its initial goal, now wants to do even better in the coming year.
What makes this accomplishment even more remarkable is that the total intake for the year from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 was 7084 animals (counting only dogs and cats) as compared to 6128 in calendar year 2011. This high intake puts KCPP in a very small group of shelters of that size that have achieved a 90%+ live release rate.
I don’t often editorialize in this blog, preferring to let the facts speak for themselves, but in this case I want to point out that KCPP is yet more proof that the 90% benchmark can be achieved in spite of difficult circumstances, and it can be achieved quickly. KCPP prepared a plan which contained proven techniques, implemented the plan vigorously, and refused to consider any outcome other than success. The result is that they achieved their goal within 6 months and have now maintained it for a year. Well done.