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Oklahoma animal shelters and nonprofits unite to save animals

Jonathan Gary

Jonathan Gary

April 30 might have been a historic day for animals in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma animal shelters and nonprofit groups gathered at the Oklahoma History Center to discuss how the state could achieve a 90 percent live release rate by the year 2025. More than 100 attendees came to the event for a day of learning and collaboration. The event was made possible by the Kirkpatrick Foundation.

It was amazing to see and feel the excitement in the room as presenters from across the state spoke about successful programs that they have experienced. Best Friends and Target Zero, which are two national organizations that work with shelters across the country to achieve a 90 percent live release rate, also attended and gave an overview on how the rest of the country is doing.

Because of the lack of statewide data, it is difficult to know what the current state live release rate for Oklahoma is. It is estimated to be about 63 percent.

I was fortunate to be able to be a presenter at the event to talk about Oklahoma City Animal Welfare and the progress we've made over the last 10 years. We now have about a 75 percent live release rate and recently set the goal of 90 percent. On April 1, we kicked off several new programs that helped us achieve a 91 percent live release rate for the month of April.

I left the event feeling hopeful — hopeful that through the work of many hardworking shelter employees and nonprofit groups, we can make Oklahoma a better place for animals. There was passion in the room, and you could sense the desire for change for Oklahoma animals.

Animal shelters and nonprofit groups cannot do this alone. Oklahomans will need to come together and support the animal welfare organizations of the state. Adopt from your local shelter or nonprofit organization, and spay or neuter your pets. We can end the overpopulation problem in our state and end the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets.

Together, we can save them all.

To find out more about Oklahoma City Animal Welfare and available resources, visit the shelter at 2811 SE 29, or go to www.okc.gov/animalwelfare.

Jonathan Gary is Oklahoma City Animal Welfare superintendent. He has worked at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare for 18 years, working in all areas of operation leading up to his promotion to superintendent in August 2016.

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