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Palm Beach County takes first step to a no-kill approach for homeless animals

Pups like this one will face better odds in the next decade thanks to Countdown to Zero policies
Pam D'Addio / TCHS

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - Palm Beach County Commissioners voted unanimously on February 4, 2014 to adopt a proposed "Countdown to Zero" resolution that will save the lives of thousands of cats and dogs in the future. This passing of a shift to new policies follows the lead of several municipalities nationwide toward a better way of dealing with the millions of homeless, adoptable pets who are euthanized each year.

Initiated by Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League and Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, the plan will work to prevent animals from entering shelters in the first place by bringing the county's animal welfare organizations together in a public and private collaboration.

It's not an easy or instant fix, but the plan's goal is a "no-kill" county within ten years. No specific, exact plan has yet been laid out but the movement will likely follow the tactics of other cities that have gone from mass euthanasia to over 90% or more no-kill, so those animals deemed 'adoptable' will not perish.

Last year at PBC Animal Care and Control, approximately 8,000 cats were euthanized, or about 80% of those brought in. There is also thought to be about 220,000 feral cats living in the county. Plans will address both of these issues as well as the thousands of dogs that are surrendered by owners or picked up on the streets of the county. Many of these animals are perfectly adoptable but due to lack of funds and space, they have been euthanized in the past.

New policies are likely to include -

  • Widespread, easier access to free or low-cost spay and neuter, especially in problem areas of the county
  • TNR - Trap, Neuter and Release of feral cats to vastly reduce numbers in the colonies, a policy endorsed by the ASPCA
  • Programs to help owners cope with their pet's medical and behavioral problems
  • More comprehensive Lost and Found systems
  • More collaboration between rescue shelters, organizations, and networks
  • Increased foster programs (read more HERE about fostering)
  • Better community outreach programs to educate and assist
  • Larger legions of volunteers

There's a long road ahead but for future generations of homeless, adoptable cats and dogs, KUDO's to the Palm Beach County Commissioners for voting to begin the journey to a no-kill Palm Beach County!

Click for more information on Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, or Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.

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Remember to ALWAYS adopt, spay or neuter, tag and microchip, and love your pets for life!

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