Oklahoma Faces Animal Euthanasia Crisis

Oklahoma has made another top ten list, and not in a good way. According to the Pet Lifesaving Dashboard of Best Friends Animal Society’s No-Kill 2025 initiative, our state ranks 8th in the country for the number of cats and dogs euthanized in animal shelters.

Oklahoma Faces Animal Euthanasia Crisis

Oklahoma has made another top ten list, and not in a good way. According to the Pet Lifesaving Dashboard of Best Friends Animal Society’s No-Kill 2025 initiative, our state ranks 8th in the country for the number of cats and dogs euthanized in animal shelters. In fact, Oklahoma saw the biggest increase in the volume of animals dying in shelters in 2019. Learn more about Oklahoma's numbers here



Oklahoma moves to top 10 in shelter animals euthanized

State ranks 8th in country for number of dogs and cats killed

BFAS No-Kill Oklahoma DashboardOKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 7, 2020 – Shelter animals in Oklahoma are more likely to be euthanized than animals in almost every other state according to a recent report.

Best Friends Animal Society’s Pet Lifesaving Dashboard puts Oklahoma at 8th in the country for the number of cats and dogs euthanized in animal shelters in 2019. Oklahoma saw the largest increase in the volume of animals dying in shelters in last year.

The animal euthanasia dataset shows increases almost across the board from 2018 to 2019. While animal intakes jumped by 13,000, the statewide save rate fell three percentage points to 73.1 percent. Although the number of cats and dogs saved increased by about 7,000 in 2019, 5,000 more animals were killed as compared to 2018. Additionally, three more Oklahoma shelters achieved the no-kill threshold, saving at least 90-percent of animals entering their facilities.

Common Bonds, a collaboration of local, state and national animal welfare organizations, is working to end the needless euthanasia of adoptable cats and dogs in Oklahoma.

“The latest numbers represent an enormous challenge for Oklahoma and an equally powerful opportunity for Common Bonds to cultivate human relationships as the first and most important step in stemming the tide of animal euthanasia in our state,” said Kelly Burley, Common Bonds director. “Our partners are committed to increasing live outcomes for shelter animals as this is an important indicator of a community’s overall health.”

“Over the past 15-20 years, animal shelters nationwide have made significant strides in reducing the number of unnecessary shelter deaths,” said Brent Toellner, Best Friends senior director national programs. “We are very proud to work with an amazing coalition like Common Bonds that features many amazing organizations that understand the importance of pets in peoples’ lives and are working hard to close the final gap in the state of Oklahoma.”

BFAS is of one of three dozen national, state and local animal welfare organizations working collectively through Common Bonds to raise the live release rate of cats and dogs in Oklahoma shelters to 90% by 2025. Partner organizations focus their work on accessible and affordable spay-neuter services, shelter best-practices and community leadership.

The Common Bonds Spay Neuter Working Group is assessing the current state of affordable and accessible spay-neuter services in Oklahoma, working to identify opportunities to increase surgical capacity.

Most recently, Common Bonds leveraged its growing network of animal advocates to connect partners with the #SpayTogether program administered by the Humane Society of the United States. The program is working in Oklahoma and seven other states to provide resources to help overcome the backlog of surgeries caused by COVID-19. Since early August, #SpayTogether has supported 2,187 surgeries across Oklahoma, including 67 procedures performed during a two-day event hosted by Altus Animal Welfare Association and OK Humane Society, both Common Bonds partners.

The Shelter Practices Working Group began meeting with more than two dozen animal care and control professionals in communities surrounding Oklahoma City and Tulsa earlier this year. Common Bonds hopes to strengthen the connection between municipal animal services personnel in the state through in-person meetings and a monthly, shelter-focused e-newsletter exploring challenges, successes and best practices in municipal animal services, while profiling the municipal employees who commit their lives to the calling of animal care.

The Common Bonds Community Leadership Working Group is actively encouraging shelters and rescues to report their intake and live release data in the Shelter Animals Count national database. So far, 29 animal welfare groups have joined Common Bonds’ coalition page on SAC, while a total of 89 Oklahoma organizations report their data on SAC. Reporting intake and release data and committing to the 90% save rate are among the criteria established by Common Bonds in the development of a Certified Communities recognition program that will soon begin celebrating those communities that have demonstrated a commitment to live outcomes for shelter animals.

Besides the work of its committees, Common Bonds produces a podcast, Common Bonds Radio, exploring various issues related to animal care. Common Bonds Radio is available on Soundcloud, Spotify and Stitcher.

For links to the report and more information about Common Bonds, visit commonbondsok.com.