Finally, After 10 Years a Shelter Big Enough for All the Homeless Animals in Abilene!

Pound Holding Times Jumping to 3 to 4 WEEKS!

Over a decade ago, Rescue the Animals, SPCA offered to build and donate a new $2,000,000 animal shelter to the City of Abilene. Our offer was refused. We have worked ever since to find enough space to house the homeless dogs and cats in our area.

Following the City's refusal of our offer for a new shelter, we re-modeled and opened our present Adoption Center on South First. Thanks to our very generous donors this facility has provided the extra kennel space needed to adequately house our homeless animals.

Starting in 2009, the City of Abilene made major management changes at the Abilene Animals Shelter (pound) and began to work with us to develop a merchandising program to increase pound adoptions. Our joint efforts have tripled adoptions from 1,000 to over 3,000 at the pound.

Now, the City of Abilene is doing a fantastic job of managing the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound)! Their entire team is dedicated to giving the best possible care to animals and finding homes for every possible animal.

In the last several years we have developed a new marketing program with the City that has tripled overall adoptions and increased cat adoptions by 700% at the pound. Plus, the death rate is the lowest ever!

Dramatic Progress in Saving Lives, 2008-2014

Deaths at the pound have decreased from 13,124 in 2008 to just 5,688 in 2014.

Since many animals are not adoptable, this may be coming very close to the lowest number we can expect.

23,800 Fewer Animals Died!

A steady reduction in the number of animals going to the pound, plus rising adoptions have meant that 23,800 fewer animals have died since 2008.

Adoptions at the pound have increased from 1,033 in 2008 to 3,100 in 2014.

90% of all homeless animals are adopted at the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound). Adoption fees at the pound are 50% to 70% lower than the fees needed for Rescue the Animals to break even.

Just 10% of all adoptions occur at Rescue the Animals, SPCA. This is the result of our aggressive marketing program to get animals adopted at the pound.

It is much less expensive for us to subsidize adoption fees at the pound than it is for us to physically handle the animals.

Cat Adoptions have increased by 700%

Cat adoptions have doubled since 2012 because of our new sales program that puts all cats on sale every day of the year. Rescue the Animals, SPCA, with help from Dr. Vic Lee, subsidizes cat adoptions every day. The City of Abilene reduces prices for cats in special "sale" months, but we reimburse the City in other months to keep the price at $30 after a mail-in rebate.

If these results had been possible in 2006, Rescue the Animals, SPCA would not have developed an Adoption Center.

Our goal has been to place animals through the pound instead of through our Adoption Center because it is much less expensive. We have intentionally concentrated on having adoptions take place at the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound) because it saves money.

Over $30,000 for rebates in 2014…. Plus thousands more for our special cat program.

In 2014 we spent over $40,000 on rebates and cat sales at the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound).

We also pay for TV, print and other advertising for the Abilene Animal Shelter. We do other sales promotions and adoption events. This program is much less expensive than housing animals, but it has turned the "pound" into a huge retailing success for homeless animals.

Most important, 90% of adoptions now occur at the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound), while only 10% of total adoptions occur at Rescue the Animals, SPCA.

This month the City of Abilene (pound) is opening its first complete new wing in decades. The pound now has added 41 news kennels in the last three years for a total of 118 dog kennels. This latest wing is the size of our RTA retail dog wing.

Deaths at the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound) are at an all-time low, falling from over 13,000 in 2008 to about 5,600 in 2014 because fewer animals are going to the pound.

As a result, the City of Abilene Animal Shelter (pound) currently holds most animals for 2 weeks. That holding time will grow to 3 to 4 weeks with the opening of the new wing. This means that the pound has considerable excess capacity. The Cat Room has not been full since September of 2014 and averaged only 6 cats per day in January, February, and March of this year. There are over 30 cat condos at the pound.

If this capacity had existed in 2006, we would not have developed an Adoption Center.

Now, after over a decade of hard work the newest wing of the City of Abilene Animal Shelter opens this month, and we will at last have a single shelter large enough to house all of the homeless pets in one location.

With the new wing, the City of Abilene Animal Shelter (pound) will provide the largest number of cats and dogs for adoption west of Ft. Worth. We will now be able to have one stop shopping, a Walmart for pets!

Rescue the Animals, SPCA will be saving lives every day as we have since 1999. Just as many lives will be saved but at a much lower cost!

  1. We will continue to provide advertising and promotional support for adoptions at the Abilene Animal Shelter (pound). Virtually all of our advertising has been for the pound for the last several years as we worked to increase their adoptions. This program is generating 90% of the adoptions of homeless animals.

    We will have animals on KTXS TV every week just as we have since 1999.
  2. Rescue the Animals, SPCA will revert to being an all-volunteer organization. We operated this way from 1999 through 2006 saving thousands of lives.
  3. We will close our Adoption Center. Since we have been doing only about 10% of total adoptions (pound + RTA), the pound will easily absorb the inventory we normally carry. Their new wing should boost their adoptions by 10% or more.

    We will save $350,000 per year in operating costs. In two years this will more than equal the entire cost of our Adoption Center.
  4. We will operate from donated office space, as we did previously. Since our Adoption Center property is paid for, there will be very little cost for us "carry" this property until we decide on the best use for it.
  5. We will replace our current spay/neuter program with a voucher program that will be announced soon.
  6. We tested a voucher-based program for about one year while we were without a vet at our clinic. It worked very well, and we are certain it will again.
  7. We will continue to do abuse and neglect investigations. We have created a network of officers that we work with in over 20 counties. Our lead investigator will handle this work as a volunteer.
  8. Our new budget will be about 20% of what we are spending now, and we will save just as many lives as the holding times increase dramatically at the pound with its new wing.

We Have a Duty to Use Our Donors' Money Wisely!

Our goal has been to increase adoptions at the pound, where they can be saved at a lower cost!
We have developed the very most efficient and effective marketing plan for homeless animals anywhere. At very low cost per animal, our program is moving over 3,100 cats and dogs to new homes from the pound each year. Overall adoptions have tripled and cat adoptions are up 700%.

As pound adoptions have soared, adoptions at our Adoption Center have fallen because our overhead is so high we cannot sell the animals as cheaply at our location. We now do only about 10% of total adoptions, but our marketing program is responsible for the other 90% of adoptions.

It is not economical for us to operate a duplicate adoption program, when the City of Abilene now has adequate space for all animals and is paying the overhead.

We will continue our support for pound adoptions and introduce a new voucher program for low-cost spay/neuter.

We have found a radically better and much less expensive way to do business, and we are now moving to it. We hope our supporters can understand that there is absolutely no virtue in wasting money.

Read a note from Paul Washburn, President, Rescue the Animals, SPCA