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Polk County moves closer to no-kill county as animal euthanization rates decrease

Cat closeup
Posted at 3:39 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 19:54:25-05

POLK COUNTY, Fla — Polk County Animal Control has led the state in euthanization rates for at least three years now. The County is now one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming a no-kill county.

“It is not Polk County Animal Control’s problem, it’s a community problem,” said Randa Ritcher with SPCA Florida.

Local no-kill animal shelters like SPCA Florida in Lakeland are partnering with Animal Control to help save lives.

SPCA Florida said getting more animals fixed, has been crucial. They offer low-cost spay and neuter services and community programs.

“We're revamping our community cat program here at SPCA Florida and that is to spay and neuter community cats, or feral cats or stray cats so they stop reproducing,” Ritcher said.

SPCA Florida said they are tackling an overabundance of cats by transferring them to northern states.

“We get them up to date with all the requirements that state or that shelter requires, and I have volunteers that drive them all the way to the state of Maine, to Chicago to Ohio,” said Ritcher.

The County has set a goal of becoming a no-kill county by 2025 and has already made major strides.

In 2018 only 40% of animals were leaving Polk County’s Animal Control facility alive. This year, the live release rate is 77%.

“You need to meet at least 90% or greater to become a no-kill facility or county. So, them being at 77% they’re very, very close to becoming a no-kill county or facility,” Ritcher said.