Worth Watching – Arlington, TX

[NOTE: The Worth Watching category lists communities whose animal shelter systems are doing substantially better than average, but have not reported a sustained (for one year or more) 90%+ live release rate. These communities are┬ánot counted in the running total in the blog’s subtitle. For more about the Worth Watching category, see the Worth Watching page link in the blog’s header.]

Arlington, Texas is a city of 365,000 people that lies between Dallas and Fort Worth. The entire metro area has about 6.5 million people.

The city does animal control and has a municipal shelter called the Animal Services Center (ASC). I called the ASC to ask about their owner surrender policy and was told that they have no conditions for surrenders other than city residency. The Friends of Arlington Animal Services (FAAS) is a non-profit that is dedicated to helping raise the ASC’s live release rate. They recently reported on ASC statistics for 2013 and the first 4 months of 2014. The ASC live release rate for the first four months of 2014 was 87% compared to 68% for that same 4-month period in 2013.

One big factor in the improvement has been the city’s new TNR program. On August 20, 2013, the city council adopted a resolution that provides for organizations in the city to work with ASC on a TNR program for community cats. The TNR number in the ASC statistics was zero up to August of 2013, but from there until the end of the year 457 cats were TNR’d, and in the first 4 months of 2014 the TNR total was 392. Cat intake for the first 4 months is down from 1414 in 2013 to 1157 in 2014. Last year the ASC live release rate for cats fell below 50% during kitten season, and almost 2 out of 3 cats were killed in July. This year, going into kitten season the live release rate for cats is 40 percentage points higher than it was last year.

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