Metro Animal Control trying to cut down on owner surrenders

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Animal Care and Control is trying to cut down on the number of pets that are relinquished by their owners.

Last year, 6,800 animals were turned into Animal Control, and 51 percent were owner surrenders.

The numbers are slightly down this year. So far in 2017, 1,400 animals have been given up by their owners.

“That’s all from just open dialogue and connections to resources and service,” said J. Seth Montgomery, the Safety Net Coordinator.

(Photo: WKRN)

His job is to help keep pets with their owners, or, if that can’t happen, insure a speedy adoption.

To do that, Metro Animal Control now interviews the owner surrendering a pet. The owner must also fill out a pet personality profile.

Most times, Animal Control says an owner relinquishes a pet because they can’t afford medical care or they feel like they can’t train their animal. If that is discussed during the interview, the organization will connect the owner with free or affordable resources. It says their effort is working.

“We saw in June about 10 percent of animals staying in homes and in July we had about 38 percent,” said Montgomery. “Overall for June and July it was about 34 percent combined, which is really great for the summer.”

Lauren Bluestone is the director of Metro Animal Care and Control. Under her stewardship, euthanization at the shelter went from 84 percent in 2014 to 14 percent in 2016.

(Photo: WKRN)

She says the conversations with owners will continue to evolve but it’s all about connection.

“From square one we’re asking ‘what have you done? Do you have a primary vet? What can we do to hook you up with a vet that has lower prices,'” Bluestone said.

If an owner still can’t keep their pet, Animal Control has a personality profile that, they say, can help streamline the adoption process.

Metro Animal Control is trying to take their effort one step further and supply owners with medical and behavioral care through vouchers. It has applied for a PetSmart grant and hopes to hear back in the fall.