Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, Missouri, is a city of 464,000 people. It is located on the western border of Missouri, with the state border bisecting it from the smaller city of Kansas City, Kansas.

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 is an “open access” shelter that accepts animals from animal control and from the public.

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.

The shelter implemented several initiatives to increase adoptions, including an off-site adoption center and a collaborative adopt-a-thon in 2012 where 706 animals were adopted. It reached out to volunteers, and sought out rescue help. It started a transport program to send dogs to the North Shore Animal League. It successfully raised funds for play yards 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 first hit 91%. They were able to maintain that high rate, and for the year from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 the live release rate was 91%. 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 was 88%. 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 put KCPP in a very small group of shelters of that size that have achieved a 90%+ live release rate.

For calendar year 2013 KCPP’s intake was 8179 cats and dogs, as compared to 6846 in calendar year 2012. Despite the significantly higher intake, KCPP increased their live release rate to 92%. The modified live release rate (counting owner-requested euthanasia and animals who died or were lost in shelter care in with euthanasias) was 88%. In a blog post on January 12, 2014, Toellner reviewed the year. Highlights of 2013 were the shelter’s offsite adoption venue which had more than 1600 adoptions, a visit from Aimee Sadler to establish a Playing for Life program at the shelter, and a mega-adoption event in October where they adopted out 228 pets in three days.

For an in-depth look at what has made KCPP so successful in such a short time, check out this brochure. It was prepared for the 2013 Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference, where Toellner was one of the featured speakers.

Kansas City, Missouri, was originally listed by this blog on August 9, 2013, based on its July 2012 to June 2013 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 calendar year statistics.