Harris County Animal Shelter Reaches Milestone

Here’s something to celebrate: the Harris County Animal Shelter has achieved a 90% live-release rate in 2019, up from 15.5 percent in 2012.

The shelter’s steady push to increase awareness of adoptable pets, expand foster programs, and partner with out-of-state rescue organizations has led to one of the biggest turnarounds for an open-admission shelter in the state. The shelter originally set a goal of achieving a live-release rate of 90% by 2020.

“Internally at the shelter, we have focused on our lifesaving programming, which includes adoption, fostering, and animal transports to out-of-state placement partners,” said Kerry McKeel with the Harris County Animal Shelter. “Externally, we have benefited from the support of volunteer animal networkers bringing visibility to individual animals through social media, local rescue groups taking our shelter animals into their programs, as well as partnerships with businesses and organizations that have provided us with, or connected us to, resources to advance our mission to serve the pets of Harris County.”

Those achievements are no easy task in a county as large as Harris County. On average, the shelter receives 40 to 60 animals per day, or as many as 20,000 a year.

Unlike many shelters that have achieved similar live-release rates, the Harris County Animal Shelter must accept every animal that comes through its doors, regardless of breed, temperament, health conditions, circumstances. Despite the hardship, the shelter achieved a live-release rate of 89.5% last year, just under the milestone.

Still, nothing is certain. Spring and summer are the busiest months of the year for any pet shelter, when the highest number of puppies and kittens are born. Fortunately, anyone interested in fostering or adopting an animal can help.

For more information, visit www.countypets.com.