Dubuque Humane Society Says Policy Changes Led to Lower Kill Rates

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - The Dubuque Regional Humane Society says it's made some major changes to its euthanasia policy. That's after the organization came under scrutiny last year for the number of cats and dogs it was killing.
The shelter euthanized more than 1200 animals in 2014. That was 32 percent of the number of animals it took in.

In 2015, the Humane Society says it euthanized 288 animals, which is roughly 12 percent of the animals it said it took in.

The group says cat euthanasia is down 82 percent and dog rates are down 63 percent compared to the year before.

In February, 2015, a former volunteer complained about the Humane Society's kill rates.

Last spring Humane Society staff starting using a different methodology to decide what makes an animal adoptable.

For animals that have health and behavioral issues, the staff is now giving those animals more treatment rather than simply putting them to sleep. Directors say they doing more to teach people who adopt how to rehabilitate those cats and dogs. When they decide to euthanize an animal, that's a decision a team of 4 or 5 staff make together. Not just one person.

Directors say the biggest change is the decrease in adoption fees. They dropped the kitten adoption fee from $110 to $50.
Older cats used to $75 to adopt. Now they are $25.

Executive Director Maria Benham said, "That made us want to do more ourselves. All of our staff has stepped up everybody is doing a little bit something extra for each animal. And that's what is making the huge difference. "

Benham says they've also seen a big increase in the number of animals being adopted from the shelter. She says that too has helped improve euthanasia rates.

The more animals that leave here to go to a good home, the more attention staff can give to the animals that are there.