The day may soon come when a lack of time or space won't result in the death of potential pets at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter. But that day is not yet here.
More animals left the shelter alive than dead last year for the first time, and progress continues to improve. Last month, which featured a Valentine's Day adoption special, saw 845 animals adopted and 694 put down, according to city figures.
Most animals that are euthanized in the shelter are killed because of health or behavior problems that make them poor candidates for potential adoption. Last month, 435 of the animals put down were killed because of health or behavior issues.
Only 125 were euthanized due to lack of space.
Animals whose owners can't be determined are held for three days before a health and behavior screening, said Catherine English, manager of the city's Animal Welfare
For animals whose owners are known, the shelter attempts to contact the owners and will hold them for five days, even extending the period under certain circumstances. Animals captured and brought to the shelter after biting someone are held for 10 days.
Animals may be transferred to rescue groups or other shelters, or selected for adoption screening. After the screening, the animals deemed adoptable are separated from those that aren't. Those that aren't are put down. Adoptable animals go into the adoption program, but may be put down if there is no room in the shelter for them.
Once an animal makes it to an adoption room, it almost surely will leave alive, English said.
“At that point, unless they become very neurotic or they become very sick or something happens, then we keep them until they're adopted,” she said. “We've had animals in there for months.”