North Texas Daily

Denton County Animal Shelter cuts euthanasia rates by 72 percent

Denton County Animal Shelter cuts euthanasia rates by 72 percent

March 10
02:58 2016

Tiffany Ditto | Staff Writer


Samantha Morrow | Contributing Writer

The Denton animal shelter has cut its euthanasia rate by 72 percent since moving to a new facility last year, officials said.

The Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center opened Feb. 2, 2015, and has three times the capacity of the previous shelter. This new facility allows the shelter to house up to 320 animals at any given time.

The new building, coupled with an improved staff, allows the shelter to euthanize only around 12 animals each month.

“We used to euthanize 90 percent of the animals that came to the Denton animal shelter in our old building,” kennel supervisor Gayla Nelsen said. “It was kind of a dumping ground for animals. Today our live release rate is 85 to 90 percent.”

Nelsen said this release rate is “unheard of” for a city shelter. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports about 31 percent of dogs and 41 percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized, according to its website.

The new shelter has wings for cats and dogs, a holding facility for animals not yet adoptable, an on-site vet clinic and several small rooms to get acquainted with pets. 

Some pets are not available to adopt upon arrival because strays are held for a week to see if the pet has an owner seeking to reclaim the animal.  Once animals are available, there is a flat fee of $60 to adopt. This fee includes flea and tick treatment, the animal’s hookworm shots, micro-chipping, vaccination and spay or neuter.

Luis Zayas and Nancy Reynolds looked through the kiosk to see what dogs will be available for adoption in the upcoming weeks. They were looking to expand their family.

“We love animals and we’re ready for something,” Zayas said. “We like different breeds, we do like to see some breeds like the bullies. We’re looking for something a little more low energy, something that doesn’t mind just hanging out.”

Reynolds, Zayas’ live-in girlfriend, agreed they are looking for a low maintenance pet.

“We’re probably looking for a couch potato,” Reynolds said.

According to officials, the shelter raised $2 million for a new facility, and the city agreed to match that. The rest of the money for the shelter came for a private donor. She said the shelter was costly because they wanted it to be a green facility.

“We earned this,” Nelsen said of the new building. “We couldn’t rebuild the reputation of the shelter, because it was a hellhole. It was old and put together basically with zip ties and leashes.”

Nelsen added that the success of the new shelter is widely attributed to volunteers.

“It takes the whole village to run this place, “ Nelsen said. “We have five kennel officers per shift, and in this environment that we want to keep as pristine as possible, it takes us all and our huge volunteer base.”

Rachel Ferryman, the shelter’s volunteer coordinator, said people volunteer for different reasons. She said many of the students who volunteer do so because they are away from home and miss their own pets.

“I see people who just genuinely want to give back,” Ferryman said. “They say ‘man these dogs and cats need some loving and I have the time that I can do it.’”

Nelsen said the shelter is always looking for volunteers. Students wishing to do so should contact Ferryman at 

Featured Image: Dogs checking out their new kennels at the new Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center during move-in day last year. Kristen Watson | DRC

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