EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- The Vanderburgh Humane Society released statistics that showed their community impact in 2019. They are one of the largest animal welfare agencies in the entire Tri-State. They have sheltered 3,428 animals and at least 69% of them were from Vanderburgh County.
VHS is an open-admission shelter, which means they do not turn away any owner-surrendered animals. They have taken almost 500 more animals in 2019 than in 2016, 2017, or 2018. VHS said people do not have to live in Vanderburgh County to surrender an animal.
One huge accomplishment of the Vanderburgh Humane Society is that they have decreased euthanasia by 85% since their Spay & Neuter Clinic opened. In 2009 VHS euthanized 1,951 animals compared to last year they only euthanized 324.
Along with that huge accomplishment they have adopted 2,458. 202 of those adoptions were cats that were found through there adoption partnership with River Kitty Cat Café. River Kitty opened in July 2017 and houses 16 of their adoptable cats at any given time. Their total number of adoptions from then to now totals more than 410.
In 2019 at the VHS:
- 26 animals died of natural causes in their care, either from unforeseen medical issues or of old age. (However, overall, VHS did reduce their kitten mortality rate by an additional 5%. )
- 324 animals were euthanized: 46% for aggression, lack of socialization, or behavior problems; and 54% for severe health issues. Of those with health issues, only 20 of them could have been cured or rehabilitated.
The VHS said what’s important to remember is that we need to tackle these problems in our community at the source:
- socialization, obedience, & behavior training for all puppies and their owners beginning at a young age, no matter where the puppies come from
- widespread spay & neuter to prevent overpopulation and genetic health & behavior problems. The most at-risk population in our community is cats & kittens, and we must do better to ensure that owned cats and free-roaming cats are spayed or neutered.
- enforcement of current Vanderburgh County ordinances that require a breeder’s license and a limit on the number of animals per household
- responsible ownership, including providing regular vet care for the duration of the pet’s life
Many local shelters & rescues work collaboratively together toward these goals. They, along with the Evansville Police Department and a local veterinarian, make up EPAW: the Evansville Partnership for Animal Welfare. This is an organization formed in 2013 to collaboratively address issues in our community.
The VHS’ newest program launched in March 2019. It allows the public to take dogs “out on the town” for 2 hours on weekday mornings Tuesday-Friday. They can go to the park, the pet store, or to pet-friendly restaurants.
(This story was originally published on January 29, 2020)