By the Numbers – Is the HSCC a No-Kill Shelter?

By Starla Raiborn

The Humane Society of Charles County posts our annual shelter statistics on our website with monthly updates, and we have been a proud member of the national Shelter Animals Count since its inception.   We know that tracking and sharing this data will guide good decision-making and help us save thousands of sheltered animals’ lives.

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “Is the HSCC a No-Kill shelter?” By the numbers, we are.  However, we are an open intake shelter.  Some days the animals just keep coming in and we have nowhere safe to put them.  When this happens, we must transfer animals to a rescue partner.  When our No-Kill rescue partners are also full, we must transfer to Tri-County Animal Shelter (TCAS.)

Contrary to widely held beliefs, transfer to TCAS is not a death sentence.  TCAS live release rates in 2016 were 87% for dogs, 51% for cats (including feral cats) and nearly 100% for small animals, and 2017 numbers look to be better.  Transfer, in the majority of cases, is a second chance to get adopted or rescued.

Still, we do not take transfer to TCAS lightly and have been diligently working to decrease the number of animals transferred to TCAS.  Year to date in 2017, there have been 169 transfers to TCAS compared to 1,177 in 2014, 989 in 2015, and 768 in 2016.  At the same time, we are working hard to increase adoptions, channel unadoptable feral cats through our TNR program and, as always, we only euthanize when it is humanely necessary.

For us, our statistics are more than just numbers – our statistics represent the lives of our animals.  It is our absolute goal to save as many of them as possible and we are committed to making the best choices for them possible considering our resources. To this end, we report our numbers accurately, completely and transparently, and use only accepted industry standards for reporting.  The numbers really do count.