Politics & Government

Wichita killing far fewer pets than before


Wichita’s Animal Control Department has cut the euthanasia rate for shelter pets by about two-thirds in the past eight years

The city of Wichita is killing far fewer dogs and cats at the animal shelter than eight years ago, according to a report presented to the City Council Tuesday.

In 2009, the city euthanized 6,300 unwanted dogs and cats.

That number has steadily declined since, to a low of 2,000 in 2016, the report said.

“We’re doing better,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We’re not just killing people’s pets at the same rate we used to. And I love to see that kind of improvement.”

The main reasons for the decline are a closer working relationship with the Humane Society and rescue groups, along with a commitment to keeping sheltered pets alive twice as long as state law requires, said Wichita police Capt. Michael Allred, who runs the Animal Control Department.

The state’s animal shelter law requires cities to hold recovered pets for a minimum of three days to give owners time to reclaim them, Allred said.

Wichita made a policy decision to hold animals for six days before euthanasia is considered, he said.

While it costs more, it results in a lot more recoveries and placements, he said.

Technology also has had an impact, he said.

Owners who lose their pets can now search for them online and via a mobile app, Allred said.

Posting pictures as the animals come in has made it much easier for people to search for their lost pets and reclaim them in time, Allred said.

Last year, 94 percent of dogs and puppies that came into the shelter were either reclaimed by their owners, adopted out to a new home or put in foster care to await adoption, the report said.

That success rate was up from 53 percent in 2009, the report said.

The rates are not as good for saving cats, but still much better than eight years ago, the report said.

Only 57 percent of shelter cats are reclaimed or saved. But that save rate is nearly triple the 20 percent in 2009, the report said.

The city shelter receives between 9,500 and 10,500 animals a year, Allred said.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas