Euthanasia Rates in Local Animal Shelters Lowest in Seven Years

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Public and private shelters in Alameda County report a 52% decrease animal euthanasia since 1997.

The East Bay SPCA reports today that animal welfare efforts in the East Bay are succeeding at an impressive rate. The euthanasia rate of dogs and cats that entered Alameda County’s shelters in 2004 decreased by almost 52% since the East Bay SPCA began tallying the county’s efforts. In 1997, 16,511 dogs and cats were euthanized in the county, but in 2004 that number decreased to 7,977. The rest taken in were either returned to their original owners or adopted to new owners.

In 1997, the East Bay SPCA agreed to compile and maintain this data under an agreement with all animal control organizations and private shelters in the county as part of the efforts to achieve "Goal 2007". Adopted countywide, "Goal 2007" called for the end of euthanasia of adoptable dogs and cats in Alameda County by the year 2007.

Successful spay and neuter programs around the region have made a huge dent in the number of homeless dogs and cats showing up in shelters in the first place. In 1997, the total number of dogs and cats taken in by animal control and by private shelters in Alameda County was over 33,000. Last year that number dropped to 22,243.

“What’s really amazing is that the total number of dogs and cats taken in decreased by 34%, during a time when the population rose over 10%,” says Gary Templin, President of the East Bay SPCA. “We’d expect that the number would rise as the population has grown but in fact the number of surrendered pets, homeless pets and accidental litters have decreased significantly. That means people are being more responsible pet owners, are spaying and neutering their pets, and are not allowing their pets to breed uncontrollably.”

“We feel there is a direct correlation between a successful spay and neuter program and the reduction of animals dying needlessly in shelters,” says Templin. “We still have a ways to go because there continues to be an overpopulation of pit bulls and feral cats in our community. In fact they, or their offspring, make up most of the animals being killed. But with continued collaboration and focused efforts, we finally see an end in sight to the euthanasia of homeless animals in our community.”

The Oakland SPCA, part of the East Bay SPCA which has a presence in Oakland and in Dublin, CA, opened the region’s first high-volume, affordable spay and neuter clinic in 1998 and has performed over 60,000 surgeries to date.

The East Bay SPCA includes two shelters and three clinics, including the Oakland SPCA and Tri-Valley SPCA in Dublin. Founded in 1874, the East Bay SPCA is dedicated to ending the euthanasia of adoptable dogs and cats in our community. The East Bay SPCA is a non-profit organization and receives no government funding or funding from any national humane organization. We are funded entirely through donations and the fees from our affordable services.

To reach our Adoption Centers, call (510) 569-0702 or (925) 479-9670. To view our animals on line, visit

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