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Companion animal overpopulation coalition program proposal
After ending its contract with Kern County in 2013, Bakersfield began providing animal control services to city residents. Within the first year, the city operated over budget while offering no proactive programs to combat severe animal overpopulation within its municipality. The Bakersfield animal shelter does not publish euthanasia numbers; however, as an open access shelter in an area highly populated with community cats and unwanted dogs, the shelter must utilize euthanasia as a means to control numbers within its facility. According to the literature, mass euthanasia and pet overpopulation is a significant problem plaguing municipalities throughout the United States. Pet overpopulation, specifically community cat overpopulation, floods public animal control facilities and nonprofit animal organizations with unmanageable numbers of companion animals, most of which are unwanted, un-owned pets. The use of euthanasia to manage hordes of animals in shelters causes increased spending, emotional burnout among staff, and increased turnover rates within facilities. The literature shows the most effective method of decreasing unwanted animal populations and euthanasia rates in Bakersfield is through a coalition-backed trap-neuter-return (TNR) and education program. Bakersfield should work to unite companion animal stakeholders towards an organized approach to end companion animal overpopulation and high euthanasia rates. The coalition would include leaders from public animal control, private nonprofits, and veterinarian practices. Other members would include key leaders throughout the community and volunteers willing to implement TNR and community education in the city. After securing TNR funding, the coalition would implement TNR and community education in two high-intake zip codes, measure results, and apply for grant funding to expand programs for city residents.
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