HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – Though 2020 brought the Humane Society of Harlingen various challenges, the animal shelter is celebrating it as its first no-kill year. The accomplishment came after a year of dedicated efforts in making sure every animal in their care had the best chance for survival.
To be considered a no-kill, a shelter or rescue must save 90% of the animals brought to them. The Humane Society of Harlingen (HSH) surpassed that number with a 92% save rate in 2020.
Prior to 2020, the HSH was not a no-kill shelter. They ended 2019 with a 42% save rate, meaning that more than half of the animals were euthanized, for various reasons, throughout the year.
The shelter takes in roughly 6,000 animals every year.
Changes in practice, along with vigorous community efforts changed that statistic drastically for the shelter, according to Community Engagement Coordinator, Sarah Cano.
“As crazy as 2020 was for the world, it’s really been the best year ever for the Humane Society and all the animals that have come through its doors,” said Cano.
Cano credits their foster program, as well as social media and community campaigns, as the biggest contributors to their success last year.
“We started doing things a little bit differently, thanks to Maddie’s Fund, which is a national animal welfare organization. We were awarded a foster stimulus grant, so we were then able to stimulus our foster program and really help grow that,” said Cano.
She said at times throughout 2020, the shelter had four times as many animals in a foster home than in the shelter and that helped free up space for more animals and those needing special care.
With in-person adoption and fundraising events no longer an option for the shelter, they relied heavily on the participation of the community when things needed to be modified.
“By far the number one most helpful unit in the RGV that helped make this happen was just our community. Those who came in to adopt, foster, volunteer, donate was a big one, and then help us spread the word,” said Cano. “That by far has been the most impactful, helpful part in getting the shelter to this place.”
The shelter hopes 2021 can have a similar outcome.
The next community vaccination event will be on Saturday, January 17. Registration will open on Saturday, January 10.