The Washington County Johnson City animal shelter had a 95% live release rate in 2021, surpassing the 90% needed to qualify as a no-kill shelter.
The 90% “save rate” is the nationally recognized benchmark for being considered a no-kill shelter, given that approximately 10% of animals entering shelters have medical or behavioral circumstances that warrant humane euthanasia, according to leading animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society.
Tennessee had an 88.5% savings rate in 2021, and 58% of the state’s shelters met the non-elimination threshold. A total of 96,228 dogs and cats were rescued, but shelters below the non-elimination threshold would have had to rescue another 3,630 animals to make Tennessee a kill-free state.
However, the state fared well last year compared to the rest of the country, as 2021 marked the first time in five years that U.S. shelter systems saw a decrease in rescues, according to Best Friends.
Despite this, Washington County Animal Shelter Johnson City has only seen an increase in rescues in recent years. Their live exit rate was only 62.8% in 2015 and was even as low as 30% in 2013, according to executive director Tammy Davis.
“We have made drastic changes over the past 6 years to do everything we can to save animal lives in our community,” Davis said. “We have implemented new systems and launched new programs to make this possible. It hasn’t been easy and we rely on the help we get from our amazing community of animal lovers and local businesses that support us.
Although the shelter receives funding from the city, Davis says the funding only accounts for about half of its budget. They depend a lot on donors for the rest.
The shelter also offers a microchipping service to help supplement funds. Owners can have their pet microchipped for just $20 at the shelter. All they have to do is call and make an appointment. The shelter also microchips every animal it adopts.
“Our goal is to keep animals out of the shelter in the first place if we can. We try to help people keep their pets and not have to put them in the shelter,” said Davis said, “We also encourage people to microchip their pets. If your pet is lost, we want to reunite it with you as quickly as possible. If the pet is microchipped, we can do it in minutes.”
To schedule a microchipping appointment or for shelter information, call (423) 926-8769 or visit https://wcjcanimalshelter.org.