Fewer cats, dogs being euthanized in Wichita


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Animal Control presented their annual report to the city council Tuesday morning.

The report shows that euthanasia rates at the Wichita Animal Shelter has dropped dramatically since the facility opened in 2009.

Wichita Police Lieutenant Brian Sigman is the commander for Wichita Animal Services.

He says in 2009, the euthanasia rate on dogs was 47 percent.

Lt. Sigman says it was much higher in cats,at 80 percent, and for other animals, like rabbits and guinea pigs, it was 78 percent.

Altogether that accounted for a 60 percent euthanasia rate for the facility.

However, as of 2016, the numbers are much different.

“Those numbers went to a six percent euthanasia rate on dogs, 43 percent on cats, and 47 percent for other animals, which when you combine all that together that makes a 22 percent euthanasia rate,” said Lt. Sigman.

It is numbers like that, Lt. Sigman says are better than the rest of the country on average.

“The national average is 31 percent so Wichita’s animal services actually comes in under the national average,” said Lt. Sigman.

So KSN asked, why the drop in the numbers?

“A lot of it is with our partnerships with the Kansas Humane Society next door to us, the other partnerships with the local rescue groups is another reason those numbers have gone down,” said Lt. Sigman.

Under the Kansas Animal Act and by Kansas law, Lt. Sigman says they have to keep animals for three days.

However, he says, they’ve taken that a step further to help decrease their euthanasia numbers.

“We actually extended that time to six days, so we are actually doubling the time the animals are kept here to be able to help with us being able to reclaim that animal to an owner,” said Lt. Sigman.

It’s something that has gotten the attention of city officials.

“By data, it looks like we are making some improvements, and I appreciate that,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell.

Lt. Sigman admits they are happy with the numbers.

“Our whole mission is to get these pets reunited with their owners and as those numbers show, it is working,” said Lt. Sigman.

However, he says they are working to decrease the euthanasia rates even more.

Lt. Sigman says they are making efforts and taking strides to reduce the euthanasia rates in cats.

One way to do that, Lt. Sigman says, is to encourage cat owners to get their pets microchipped.

He says he’ll be talking with different rescue groups to get their input on the issue.

KSN checked with the Kansas Humane Society to see what their numbers are.

Mark Eby, the President and CEO of the Kansas Humane Society, says they are setting all-time records in almost every category.

He says through August of this year, they have brought 3,694 animals over from Wichita Animal Services.

That is up from 3,534 at this time last.

Eby says 7,291 animals have found a home from the KHS through August of this year.

That is up from the 6,891 that had found a home at this time last year.

Eby says this correlates with fewer animals being euthanized.

He says the save rate for the KHS in August of this year was 98 percent.  For the entire year, it has been around 92 to 93 percent.

Eby says that is up from the 87 percent save rate they had in 2016.

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