Friday, October 26, 2012

Pitt Partners

"What does it matter if your shelter is no-kill if your community is still euthanizing?"

That was the question asked of HSEC's executive director, Callie Richardson, at a conference last year. At HSEC, we pride ourselves on our commitment to operating as a no-kill shelter, where residents are euthanized only in rare cases of extreme aggression or extreme illness or injury.

But as a whole, Eastern North Carolina has a very high euthanasia rate, and Pitt County is no exception. HSEC is not above or beyond this problem just because we are a no-kill shelter. We can work to lower euthanasia rates, but we can't do it alone.

Luckily, we don't have to. In December 2011 HSEC joined the Pitt County Animal Shelter and Spay Today to formally create the Pitt Partners, an inter-agency collaboration dedicated to reducing the euthanasia rate in our community.

This decision was spurred by what initially seemed like a lost opportunity. In 2011 the three groups applied jointly for an ASPCA grant that targets funds to lower county euthanasia rates. The grant's goal is to see a 72% live release rate - right now, our county figure is below 50%. Live release includes adoption, return to owner, and transfer to a no-kill rescue.

We came very close to receiving the grant money, but finished as the first runner up. The experience of applying for the grant forged a partnership between the three groups that none wanted to give up. In 2012, Pitt Partners began to meet monthly. By working together, we will work to combat the single biggest killer of cats and dogs: overpopulation.

Pitt Partners is committed to effective spay and neuter campaigns and other operations to stop overpopulation in Pitt County. As part of this initiative, HSEC has changed its intake policy so that 70% of our intake comes from local shelters, especially Pitt County Animal Shelter. 30% of our intake is surrender by the owner. Instead of assisting several nearby counties, we have changed our focus so that Pitt County is at the top of our priority list.

Sometimes different animal welfare groups within a community can feel like they are competing against each other. But we all have one goal, and the animals are far better served if we work together.

Our first fundraiser is the Howl-O-Ween fall festival this Sunday at Alice F. Keene park from 2-5pm. We have inside activities planned in case of bad weather, so please stop by and help us work towards our goal...

Until they all have a home.

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