South Bay animal shelter touts high adoption rate with more than 90 percent of animals saved

Santa Clara County officials are touting success in animal adoptions with helping raise the percentage of animals saved from euthanasia to over 90%. Officials say the improving number is improving the lives of pets and people.

Eighteen month old German Sheppard “Reilly” was a pooch without a home… until last week. That’s when Billy Barrett visited the Santa Clara County animal shelter to see if a dog could make the grade in a home with an existing cat.

“Figured, come down, check out what options we have here, and kind of fell in love with her right away,” said Barrett.

Managers at the shelter credit success stories such as this with helping boost the animal save rate, from a little over 70% a decade ago, to the current 94%. The state-wide rate is 75%.

“We are a small shelter. The small shelter that could, (is) the way we look at it,” said Jeremy Selbach, the supervisor at the Santa Clara County Animal Shelter.

Shelter supervisor Jeremy Selbach says each year, 4,300 pets, animals, and livestock pass through these doors. But this shelter isn’t overwhelmed, and has one of the highest save rates in the state. Officials say the success comes from partnering with other shelters in the county to help when there’s an influx, which allows an expanded army of staffers to find homes, avoiding euthanasia.

“We try to get the community in here. In a ways we’re symbiotic. We work with each other. We bounce ideas off each other. We let them know we have these pets here. Come help us,” said Selbach.

One place that answers the S.O.S. is the Silicon Valley Humane Society in Milpitas.

“When you rescue an animal, you’re affecting an animal and a person. But when you have hundreds of animals and people connecting, you’re creating a more robust community,” said President Carol Novello.

She recently penned a book entitled “Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You To,” which explores the benefits of pet adoption.

“Being with an animal can affect you biochemically. It releases oxytocin, prolactin, serotonin. So it helps you feel good,” said Novello.

The Barrett household has found a new member. The county animal shelter has one more stall open for a potential stray. And Reilly, is poised to live a dog’s life with a new family, instead of facing the end of her existence.

“We feel like we’re pretty lucky that we get to take her,” said Barrett.