The Humane Society of Harford County Issues 2019 Report Card

Animal Shelter Boasts 90% Live Release Rate

For Immediate Release

Contact: Erin Long, Marketing Coordinator
Humane Society of Harford County
410-836-1090, x106

Fallston, MD (February 12, 2020) – The Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) has been part of the community, helping people and their pets, for 74 years. Thanks to donors, adopters, partners, and a dedicated team of 21 staff and 202 volunteers, the shelter has made an extraordinary impact for animals in need. HSHC just wrapped another successful year and is celebrating a 90% live release rate for 2019, a 3% decrease over 2018, yet one of the highest rates in the shelter’s history.

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A shelter’s live release rate is a mathematical equation that represents the percentage of animals leaving the shelter alive, whether through adoption, being reclaimed by an owner, or transferring to a rescue. It reflects how well the shelter is performing to ensure that the community’s neediest animals are receiving the loving care and second chances they deserve.

“There were so many highlights in 2019, it’s impossible to mention them all here,” said executive director, Jen Swanson. “If you follow us on social media or subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, you probably already know what a fantastic year it was. And if you don’t follow or subscribe, you should!

Although people most often associate HSHC with dogs and cats, we also offer other animals for adoption such as chickens, rabbits, ferrets, rats, guinea pigs, birds, fish, pigs, reptiles, goats, ducks, and others. In 2019, HSHC took in 2,737 animals, or about 7.5 new animals every day. Thanks largely to strategic shelter intervention programs – programs designed to keep animals in their homes and out of the shelter – the number of animals taken in decreased from 2,847 in 2018 to 2,737 last year. In fact, since 2015, HSHC’s pet food pantry, free behavioral consultations offered through Mutt Magic Training, and other programs have lowered the annual intake by 684 animals or a 21% decrease in intakes.

Fifty-nine percent of the total number of animals entering the shelter came in as strays. Twenty-seven percent were surrendered by their owners while the other 14% were abandoned on the shelter’s grounds, born at the shelter, seized by the Animal Control Services Division of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, or by other means. Cats were sheltered most often, representing 58.5% of the shelter’s total intake followed by dogs at 34.1 and all others at 7.4%. The average length of stay was 17 days.

Cats were the animals adopted most often and HSHC did 953 feline adoptions in 2019; 280 were dogs, 55 were small and furry animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets; 38 were birds and reptiles, and 6 farm animals were adopted. Each and every pet is at his or her best in a loving home. Thank you for helping HSHC make that a reality for 1,332 pets!

In 2019, 382 lost pets were returned to their owners through our lost and found program. Most of these animals were microchipped at no charge for their owners. Furthermore, HSHC partners with many shelters and rescue organizations to give animals another opportunity to find a loving home. When there are animals that might be a better fit elsewhere, HSHC transfers them out. Working with other organizations increases the likelihood of a happy outcome for all animals. In 2019, HSHC transferred 411 animals to these partners.

Harford County residents can help make a difference this year by spaying and neutering their pets, microchipping their pets, adopting from a shelter or rescue, becoming a foster parent or shelter volunteer, and donating funds or pet supplies.

Speaking of donors, they have a reason to celebrate as well. During HSHC’s fiscal year 2019 audit which encompasses July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, administrative fees (management and fundraising) have reduced to just 15%. “This means that 85 cents of every dollar donated will directly benefit our animals,” Swanson said. “While many donors prefer to see this number as low as possible, it is important to remember that these are legitimate expenses that need to be reimbursed for HSHC to be sustainable, effective, and have impact. We want to change the world, and these costs are necessary to build the infrastructure of our goals.” For more information about HSHC’s overhead, click here.

About the Humane Society of Harford County
The Humane Society of Harford County, Inc., is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the welfare and well-being of the approximately 3,000 animals that come to us each year. We promote the kind treatment of homeless, stray and abandoned animals by providing shelter, care, adoptions, and community education. We are not a county agency nor are we affiliated with any national or regional organization. Your tax-deductible donations, bequests, and proceeds from events are crucial to our life-saving efforts on behalf of the animals of our community.