North Texas

Fort Worth Touts Success with Animal Adoptions

Just a decade ago, most of the stray animals picked up on the streets of Fort Worth were euthanized. But now, the city has one of the best adoption rates of any major city in the country.

Reggi Pitkin and her boyfriend recently visited Fort Worth's animal shelter, where it was love at first sight with their newly adopted pitbull.

"We were walking in and, I don't know, the big head attracted me," Pitkin said.

For the shelter, it was another rescue in the books.

Brandon Bennett supervises the shelter, where he said not long ago they had to put 30 to 40 animals to sleep every day.

"It is one of the loneliest, and definitely, to witness, is not just the euthanasia of an animal at the shelter, but to see pain the staff has to go through when they have to do it," he said.

"And now, euthanasia is just a few animals, maybe once or twice a week. It's been a really good journey," he added.

And those are the ones that are too vicious or too sick to adopt out.

They call the numbers the "live release rate." In 2005, it was just 22 percent. Ten years later, it jumped to 77 percent.

In the last several months, it has soared to the mid-90s.

The city works closely with animal release groups to make adoptions at the shelter easy. And Fort Worth recently teamed up with PetSmart to offer adoptions at two stores, which can be more convenient for many families.

The city also set up a medical wing at its shelter, where a veterinarian tries to nurse sick animals back to health.

"There are a lot of people who care about animals. And what we've found in Fort Worth is, you reach out to these folks that care, and they put their heart and soul into making good things happen," Bennett said.

Fort Worth also spays and neuters pets leaving the shelter to reduce unwanted litters in the future.

Contact Us