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LaGrange Animal Services achieves no kill status

The City of LaGrange announced in a news release that its Animal Services division achieved “no kill” status in 2020 with a 91 percent save rate.

A 90 percent save rate is commonly used as a benchmark for no-kill status. No-kill shelters work to save and house as many animals as possible, euthanizing animals only when they are terminally sick or irreparably dangerous.

“This is a great achievement for the city because we are an open admission shelter and don’t turn away sick or injured stray animals,” said LaGrange Animal Services supervisor Chris Bussey, in the release. “We have been working on becoming a no-kill shelter since 2007. At that time, we began forming important partnerships with many different organizations including the Puppy Pipeline.”

The Puppy Pipeline of Georgia Rescue is a 501c3 nonprofit that transports puppies, kittens, dogs and cats to no-kill shelters in the Northeast and Upper Midwest where they will hopefully be adopted.

According to the release, there is less demand and high supply for animals in the South, while up north, there is the opposite dynamic.

Other organizations the city’s Animal Shelter include Animal Ark Rescue, Pets Plus Natural (Pennsylvania), Northeast Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Vanderburgh Humane Society (Indiana), MSPCA Boston (Massachusetts), Toronto Humane Society (Canada), Katrina and Friends K9 Rescue (New York), Troup County Humane Society & Auburn University.

“We were able to create these partnerships by working with the Puppy Pipeline, attending conferences and networking,” Bussey said in the release. “While achieving a 91% save rate was a lot of hard work, we plan on continuing to work toward a 100% save rate. We want the community to know that we are here at the shelter trying every day to find every single one of our animals a forever home.”

The number of animals euthanized by Animal Services was over 3,028 in 1998, according to LaGrange Police Department data. By 2012, it had fallen by about a third to 2,006. The number continued to fall and in recent years going from 1,388 (2014) to 1,226 (2017) to 795 (2018) to 668 (2019).

The change from 2012 to 2019 represents a decline of about 67 percent.

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said on Facebook he was “thrilled” that the city had achieved the status.

“We are so grateful to the animals services staff and volunteers who have helped achieve this milestone,” Thornton wrote.