BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s been a tough year for animal shelters across the Piedmont. 

In many cases as intake numbers continue to climb, so do euthanasia rates. One community in the Triad has noticeably lower euthanasia rates for cats and dogs.

Burlington Animal Services is the only public shelter in Alamance County and says their community support is incredible.

  • Cats & dogs euthanized in the Piedmont Triad in 2023
  • Dogs euthanized in the Piedmont Triad in 202
  • Cats euthanized in the Piedmont Triad in 2023

The animal services director say they noticed as the numbers of deaths went down, the number of donations went up, meaning they could fund more programs to keep euthanasia rates low. 

“The only euthanasia we do … is for animals where it is a humane necessity … if they are at the end of life or experiencing a terminal illness or such severe trauma that they can’t recover,” said Jessica Arias, the Burlington animal services director.

It’s a luxury other counties don’t have. The Surry County animal services director told FOX8 their shelter is forced to euthanize because of overcrowding.

According to data from the Best Friends Animal Society national lifesaving dashboard, Alamance County has the best save rate in the state in 2022 at 95 percent.

“We have maintained over a 90 percent save rate since 2018,” Arias said.

A growing feral cat problem is also impacting many counties in the Piedmont. 

“I think people were reluctant to bring cats in because they knew the outcome would be death,” Arias said. 

Now, Alamance County saves about 1,300 cats from euthanasia a year thanks to their Mighty Mousers Program where they vaccinate and sterilize the cats and send them back with the people who brought them in. 

“These are cats that often aren’t social cats. They are living in communities, so we ask residents that have cats here in Alamance County that they are feeding to get them through our program, so they don’t have more kittens,” Arias said.

Programs like that are funded by donations and grants. It’s the same way they are able to keep adoption prices typically as low as $25.

Other more rural places like Surry county are forced to charge more than $100 per pet. The Surry County Animal Services director tells FOX8 this is because they need the revenue. 

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“We are all working within the resources that we have within our communities, and I think folks are really making extra efforts this year to increase life saving,” Arias said.

Rescues and fosters have made a huge impact in communities in the Triad, but animal services leaders say they really need the community to step up and help to get euthanasia numbers down.

They encourage you to spay and neuter your pets and adopt or donate if you are able.