FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Despite having to navigate challenges, 2020 was a historic year for the Franklin County Humane Society.
The humane society has seen plenty of cats and dogs come through the doors. In 2020, 95 percent of them left after being adopted, reclaimed by owners, or transferred to other rescues. That's the first time the outcome rate has ever been that high in the organization's history.
"That's an extraordinary feat in the midst of the pandemic," said Shelter Manager Kerry Lowary.
Lowary says many factors went into the record-breaking rate. The humane society waived adoption fees for a short time at the beginning of the pandemic, and changes were made to the list of requirements for pet owners looking to adopt.
"Nothing that involved putting animals in the community that were not safe, but removing barriers to adoption that meant animals spent less time here and got into their homes more quickly," said Lowary.
The humane society also reduced its animal intake with a free spay and neuter program, "All the Cats," which started last January. In 2020, they did more than 600 cat surgeries compared to just under 300 in 2019.
Looking ahead into 2021, staff say they plan to keep some of the things they learned and adopted last year.
"We're continuing 'All the Cats' into 2021. We're looking at how can we reduce our costs further for spay and neuter," said Lowary. "And then we're going to continue to make it a streamlined process."
Lowary says this is something the pandemic forced them to do. A streamlined process includes doing more things online, or over the phone, so fewer crowds are in the building. Lowary says this leads to less stressed and happier animals waiting to be adopted.