SPRINGFIELD-Fewer dogs and cats are being put-down in Sangamon County. The number of euthanizations for adoptable animals has decreased by more than two thousand from eight years ago.
"With adoptable animals, we try to keep them here as long as possible. We want to give that animal every opportunity to find a home," says Sangamon County Animal Control Director Greg Largent.
But not all of these furry faces find homes, and space at the center is limited to just over 200.
"We impound animals," Largent says. "People bring us animals. We have to accept them."
He says unfortunately they have to euthanize adoptable cats and dogs...to make room.
"These animals just ran out of time," Largent says. "It wasn't that there was anything wrong with them."
But they've been working hard to save more animals. In 2005, they euthanized 2 thousand 118 dogs and cats. In 2012, just 32.
Largent credits that dramatic change to a lower intake (more than 6 thousand animals in 2005 compared to just over 4,000 last year). He says they also adopt more animals out now and they work extensively with many volunteer organizations and no-kill shelters to place animals in homes.
Mary Ann Morris is the President of Friends of Sangamon County Animal Control.
"When volunteers come out and walk dogs and socialize cats, we find out more about them and can actually sell them to the public," Morris says.
She adds that they reduce the fees for adoptions.
Even with major strides, Largent says there's room to improve.
"We hope some day we can say we didn't euthanize any animals for space."
Morris says they're looking for more volunteers and for donations to keep saving animals.
To learn more and to help, follow this link: http://www.friendsofac.org/
In an unrelated story, Homeward Bound pet shelter in Decatur has surpassed its fundraising goal and will stay open. After our story aired, the community donated 45 thousand dollars.
If you'd like to help that group, click here: http://homewardboundpetshelter.com/donate/