HAZARD, Ky, (WYMT) - The number of animals being euthanized at an eastern Kentucky animal shelter is decreasing sharply.
The euthanasia rate at the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter in Perry County in 2010 was 94.8 percent. In 2012 that number dropped to 48 percent.
That means more than four thousand cats and dogs were spared from being put down during that time.
"Nobody had a clue just how many animals were going down there," said Dr. William Hagans, a veterinarian who serves on the shelter's board. "But now that we're more open with it and out in the public, (volunteers) are stepping up to help the shelter out. So it's great. It's a community effort and it's good to see that we are moving forward."
Grants from the ASPCA and various rescue organizations, as well as programs like the one at the CCA Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville that let inmates train unruly dogs have all contributed to the lower kill rate.
"I think it's a phenomenal number," shelter board chairwoman Tammy Noble said. "I think it's a long time coming to eastern Kentucky. I think our shelter is being truly blessed. I think our numbers are beyond the flesh."
The shelter has also been targeting low-income people by offering discounted spaying and neutering services. For information, call the shelter at 606-439-4064.