‘It’s a community problem’: Polk County makes progress towards goal of saving animals


POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Community partnerships and more citizen awareness have led to animals’ lives being saved in a county which has had the state’s highest euthanization rate, according to the SPCA Florida in Lakeland.

“With that target on our county, we all wanted to rally because it’s not [Polk County Animal Control’s] problem, it’s a community problem. So to help them with partnerships and programs is the only way we’re going to fix this,” said Randa Richter with the SPCA Florida.

SPCA Florida , which is a no-kill shelter, set a countywide no-kill goal by 2025.

According to Richter, in 2018, Polk County’s Animal Control’s “live release” rate was around 40%, which is the amount of animals that were leaving the facility alive.

This year, the live release rate is 77%. A county is considered “no-kill” at 90%.

“More people are aware of the issue in Polk county so they are taking steps to spay and neuter their animals which is fantastic so they don’t come into the shelter and more programs are being offered to the community to help them out,” said Richter.

The most important way to help save lives is to spay and neuter more animals, Richter said.

Early next year, SPCA Florida plans to revamp its Community Cat program, which offers spay and neuter services.

It also plans to offer similar services in rural areas throughout the county.

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