Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Pinellas animal shelters will share statistics in effort to reduce euthanasia

LARGO — The lobby of an animal shelter is usually a happy place. The walls are painted in light, bright colors, often decorated with portraits of dogs and cats. However, the cheerful ambience belies an unfortunate reality of the place — a lot of death happens there.

In the first 10 months of 2012, 10,696 animals entered Pinellas County Animal Services, according to statistics released Wednesday, and 5,666 died there — 4,300 cats, 1,366 dogs.

On Wednesday morning, the leaders of the county's three largest animal shelters stood behind a lectern at Animal Services headquarters — in a lobby with sky blue walls covered in pet paintings — to announce a program they hope will reduce the number of animals they kill every year.

For the first time in their histories, SPCA Tampa Bay, the Humane Society of Pinellas and Pinellas County Animal Services are sharing animal intake and outcome statistics. The numbers, updated monthly and posted on the agencies' websites, will provide a comprehensive account of Pinellas' homeless pet population, helping shelters see what's working and what isn't.

"This matrix is a huge step forward for animals in our community," said Martha Boden, chief executive officer of SPCA Tampa Bay. "More animals survive and the community is a better place if all these agencies work together."

Wednesday's announcement capped a monthslong effort by the three organizations to get on the same page, statistically, and they hope all Pinellas shelters join them. They've already added Pet Pal Animal Shelter of St. Petersburg this week. The numbers released Wednesday account for about 80 or 90 percent of the county's animals in shelters, according to Boden.

The key statistic officials want to improve is the "live release rate" — the percentage of animals shelters take in that leave for a good reason, like adoption or return to owner. The four shelters have a combined live release rate of 57 percent this year — 21,610 animals came in; 12,291 animals departed alive — according to the shelters.

The shelters say they have euthanized 8,814 animals (6,054 cats and 2,178 dogs among them). These figures do not include animals brought in by their owners to be euthanized, and the shelters haven't yet determined how to properly count animals transferred among them.

Euthanasia policies at Pinellas shelters have sparked controversy. Both the Humane Society and SPCA Tampa Bay have been criticized by people who felt they projected the impression they were "no kill" shelters.

Both shelters euthanize animals. The SPCA has a live release rate of 58 percent. The Humane Society — more selective about the animals it takes in than the SPCA — has a live release rate closer to 90 percent. Pinellas County Animal Services' rate is 48 percent.

The catalyst for the collaboration? The three major shelters have all gotten new leaders recently. Boden and Sarah Brown, the Humane Society's executive director, started in 2011, and Phil Morgan took over at Pinellas Animal Services last month.

"Without collaboration, more animals die," Bowden said.

Reach Will Hobson at (727) 445-4167 or [email protected]

Comments
Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Warm, sunny Sunday in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s another bright, sunny day in Tampa Bay. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay areaHigh temperatures should reach about 80 d...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

A first-degree murder suspect remains at large almost a week after the fatal shooting of a Winter Haven father.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Johnny Ray Owsley’s murder of 35-year-old Adam Thrower, called "Cook" by friends, involved Owsley’s e...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Published: 12/16/17
Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

MIAMI — With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlif...
Published: 12/16/17

Fan helps fund Miami Stadium’s historic marker

MIAMI — For thousands of kids who grew up in Miami, going to the old Miami Stadium in the Allapattah neighborhood was a part of coming of age. Opened on Aug. 31, 1949, with a game between the Miami Sun Sox and Havana Cubans, two Class B Florida Inter...
Published: 12/16/17
Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Phil Heasley of Naples caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away. Heasley reeled in a 6-foot white marlin last year off Maryland’s coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tour...
Published: 12/16/17