El Paso Takes a Collaborative Approach to Becoming a No-Kill City

The year 2017 was a record-breaking one for the Humane Society of El Paso.

The shelter boasted record numbers of pet adoptions over the course of the year, and is looking to keep things rolling by taking steps to become a no-kill shelter, with the broader goal of helping El Paso become a no-kill city.

Humane Society director Luke Westerman reached out to Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive!, for help in achieving those goals.

Dr. Jefferson is well known in Texas for having among the highest live release rates in the state. She believes every animal can be saved, and wants to help Westerman, other local shelters, and El Paso city officials work together in order to make El Paso a no-kill city.

"Since 2008, Dr. Ellen took Austin's shelter form a kill city to what it is today, where 98% of the animals that go there will come out alive," said Westerman.

Becoming a no-kill facility with low euthanasia rates is possible, but it requires lots of hard work and planning, says Jefferson.

"All those involved in Austin have a live outcome route, so anything that enters the shelter has a way to get out alive and there's a plan around that. It's not just haphazard and we just need to do the same thing here."

One of the keys to running a successful shelter is cooperating with city council, says Jefferson. With that in mind, the Humane Society of El Paso and the city's Animal Services department were in discussions all last week. This is the first time both institutions have taken official steps toward collaboration, including making plans to share resources and programs.

"I see a big transformation happening and a really significant one as [the Humane Society of El Paso moves] from a nonprofit that has done incredible work in this community to the city's go-to...The clear dedication to being a no-kill city— I have no doubt, and I think it's going to be this year that the city is going to reach that goal," said Jefferson.

El Paso is an important stop for Dr. Jefferson, but it is also the first of many. She is on a mission to transform every Texas animal shelter into a no-kill facility.

What do you think of El Paso's awesome plan for the future of its animal population? Let us know in the comments section! 

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