Quiet revolution underway in Rockwall County

Gertie was the 1,000th rescued pet since Rockwall Pets began its rescue operations in April 2012. Photo by Anne Haddox.

ROCKWALL, TX (May 12, 2014) A gentle, unassuming dachshund has become the symbol of revolution in Rockwall County. When a little dog named Gertie was rescued by Rockwall Pets, she represented the breathtaking pace of animal shelter reform in the county. During the past four years, Rockwall County has catapulted itself to the forefront of a nationwide revolution to save the lives of shelter pets.

Gertie was the 1,000th pet rescued by Rockwall Pets during the past two years. And her ride to freedom gave extra significance to the month of April, a month that’s become a signpost of the quiet revolution underway in Rockwall County.

Brooklyn was among the first dogs rescued by Rockwall Pets from the Royse City shelter on April 2, 2012.

Before Rockwall Pets began its No Kill advocacy in 2010, the Rockwall and Royse City shelters were finding homes for approximately 800 dogs and cats each year. At the same time, the two facilities were killing over 60% of the animals who entered the shelters.

Less than four years later, as a result of the No Kill effort, the two shelters and Rockwall Pets combined for a total of 2,250 adoptions last year. Over 96% of the dogs and cats entering the shelters during 2013 were saved. That’s an increase of nearly 182% in adoptions in less than four years with a decrease of 93% in shelter deaths.

Each April was a significant measure of the progress. Just ten months after opening their doors – by April 2011 – the volunteers of Rockwall Pets had improved the save rate at the Rockwall shelter to 86%. (The save rate was just over 50% when Rockwall Pets began in June 2010.) The Rockwall city council voted to set a goal for a minimum 90% save rate at the shelter later that summer, which led to the eventual privatization of the facility.

One year later, in April 2012, Rockwall Pets retooled itself to begin rescuing dogs and cats from the Royse City shelter. City manager Carl Alsabrook placed a moratorium on killing at the shelter just four months later.

Gertie was adopted by Emily Carlton and her family. They changed her name to Mocha. Photo by Christina Arriaga.

Fast forward two years to April 2014, and Gertie was on her way to her new home after becoming the 1,000th rescued pet by Rockwall Pets. That cemented the revolutionary progress that occurred during the past four years.

The term “No Kill” means returning “euthanasia” to its dictionary definition by ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in shelters. Shelter killing is the number one cause of death for healthy dogs and cats in the United States, according to the American Humane Association. To enhance its No Kill advocacy, Rockwall Pets rescues animals at risk of dying in area animal shelters, gives them full veterinary care and finds them a permanent home. There are over 240 No Kill communities in the United States. Rockwall was one of the first 50 communities to achieve No Kill status.

Gertie found her permanent home just days after she was rescued by Rockwall Pets. Her name is now Mocha, and she’s living happily with Emily Carlton and her family in Rockwall. Now that she’s part of a loving family, she’s living the low-key life she’s always wanted. But that doesn’t erase her legacy as a towering symbol of the quiet revolution that’s happening in Rockwall County.

More information about Rockwall Pets is available at http://rockwallpets.com.

Complete shelter and rescue statistics are available at http://rockwallpets.com/no_kill.html.

Submitted by Michael Kitkoski, Rockwall Pets.

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