El Paso wants to become largest no-kill city in U.S.

El Paso News
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Every year, tens of thousands of animals enter local shelters but only a portion of them are adopted. The rest have to be put down or released to animal rescue groups.

In 2017, 25 percent of animals that come into the shelter had  to be euthanized. However, Animal Services and the Humane Society of El Paso are trying to change that.

“Our singular mission is to make the city of El Paso no-kill and what’s really cool is if El Paso becomes no kill, El Paso becomes the biggest no-kill city on the planet,” said Luke Westerman, the humane society’s executive director.

In order to be considered a no-kill city, the shelter has to maintain a 90 percent live-release rate.

Last year, the animal shelter had a 75 percent live-release rate. This year, that numbers has climbed to 87 percent.

Michele Anderson with Animal Services told KTSM, “Over the last two years, we’ve implemented a number of different life-saving programs but to get us over that 90 percent, we need the community to step up and join our lifesaving mission.”

The humane society and shelter said they still need donations, volunteers and foster families.

Anderson said, “Sometimes it’s only a 2- to 6-week commitment and it’s completely free. With our foster program, we provide all the food and supplies.”

The humane society also has a foster program which pays for food and other necessities.


Rosario Olmos, the humane society’s foster care manager, said, “We are trying to save as many lives as we can. Kittens and puppies under eight weeks need to be taken care of in a home so they don’t get sick.”

The current largest no-kill city is Austin which handles about 18,000 pets a year.

In 2017, El Paso’s animal services took in about 27,000. However, it has not yet met the 90 percent threshold.

Making El Paso the largest no-kill city may also have a big economic impact.

According to a study by the University of Denver, Austin’s no-kill policy had a $157 million economic impact on the area.

Westerman said, “That’s substantial. That means job creation, that means opportunities that are good for families and kids. We want to do the same thing here for all those reasons and more.”

For more information about the Human Society visit, www.hselpaso.org. For more information about Animal Services, call 915-212-PAWS.

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