Frederick County Government’s fiscal year ended on June 30. This is the time of year when many county agencies generate reports and statistics and spend some time evaluating them.

In animal sheltering, one of the common barometers of success is a live release rate. The Frederick County Division of Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center is an open admission shelter, meaning we take in any stray animal found in our county or unwanted pets from county residents. Statistics of any open admission shelter is bound to reflect variables that are beyond the control of staff or volunteers, such as animals arriving with severe illness, animals exhibiting dangerous behavior, or hoarding situations and impounds of dozens of animals all at once. Despite those variables, our shelter has continued to demonstrate an overall consistent trend in increased live release rates.

Our live release rate for felines during fiscal year 2019 was 56 percent, compared to 51 percent in fiscal year 2018. A 5 percent increase in the live release rate for felines may not seem like a lot, but for the 1,101 cats and kittens that were adopted (845), returned to owners (59), and sent to rescue organizations (197), it’s the difference between life and death and it’s a step in the (continued) right direction.

On an almost daily basis, we see cats and kittens brought in by finders or previous owners — often times more than one feline at a time. We take in more cats and kittens than any other species. Knowing that means we also know we have to work harder in advocating the spaying/neutering of felines to reduce unwanted populations. We also know we have to work harder marketing our felines, attending offsite events, and promoting foster care for underage, under socialized, or cats and kittens needing medical treatment.

Bubblegum has been at the shelter since March. She arrived as a stray, so we don’t have a history of her previous veterinary care, her likes or dislikes, or any information that would allow us to make her acclimation to the shelter easier for her. Despite that, we have continued to help her acclimate to the shelter environment and will continue to promote her until she catches the eye of the right family.

We are committed to our shelter felines and will work hard to increase their live release rate for fiscal year 2020 because we know that every percentage point means a life saved.

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