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Number of Animals Euthanized in Campbell Co. Nears Zero After Changes

Two months after new procedures were enacted at the Campbell County Animal Shelter, the number dogs and cats being put down is approaching to zero.

And that's the goal of Target Zero, an organization that promotes a community cat diversion program, something that the local shelters in Northern Kentucky take part in thanks to a grant from the Joanie Bernard Foundation awarded to the Northern Kentucky Area Development District. 

In addition to sparing the animals' lives, "The other benefit of a community cat diversion program is that we are less inundated with cats, so we spend more time with dogs," said Kim Serra, assistant Campbell County administrator. She was appointed Wednesday night as the county's representative to the Northern Kentucky Animal Control Board. During the Fiscal Court meeting in Alexandria, it was unanimously approved to provide animal control services for the cities of Bellevue, Cold Spring, Dayton, Ft. Thomas, Highland Heights, Melbourne, Silver Grove, Southgate, and Woodlawn. 

Additionally, the county accepted a $1,000 grant from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to assist with spay and neuter programs.

The reduction in euthanizations has been dramatic.

In May of this year, 80 percent of all cats and kittens brought the shelter in Melbourne were put down. Of 74 intakes, 59 were euthanized, 12 were adopted, and 3 were claimed by an owner. In September, as the alternative program was about to be rolled out, 91 cats and kittens were brought to the shelter where 39 were put down, 51 were adopted, and 1 was claimed.

By October, the change was clear as the community cat diversion program kicked in. In such a program, healthy cats who appear to have a regular food source are vaccinated and sterilized to reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors, and then they are taken back to where they came from. October's numbers show 124 intakes, and only 12 euthanizations. 48 cats or kittens were adopted, 2 were claimed, and 62 were returned to where they came from. In November, 186 cats or kittens were brought to the shelter where only 4 were put down, 60 were adopted, 1 was claimed, and 62 were returned.

Though there is no such program for dogs, the changes have resulted in fewer euthinzations of canines, too. In March of this year, 39 percent of all intakes were put down (19 of 49), but by November that had dropped to 2 percent (1 of 46). 

"Those percentages that we euthanized was due to illness or vicious tendencies," Serra said, "so, very few, and we are just dealing with them differently. Staff is happy, animal lovers are happy, and so far so good with the program."

County officials warm to hotel tax increase for convention center expansion

Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitions Bureau CEO Eric Summe made his case to the Campbell County Fiscal Court on Wednesday night, urging officials to support a 1 percent increase in the county hotel tax. The fund would benefit the expansion of the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, something regional leaders have wanted for eight years. 

The center has hosted more than 2,500 events since it opened in 1998 but it is at capacity and that has put the region at a competitive disadvantage, Summe said, citing three conventions that won't be returning to the area due to a lack of space.

The 1 percent increase in the region's transient room tax would raise an estimated $1.2 million to $1.5 million a year through visitor spending, for a Product Development Fund that would generate seed money for the expansion of the Center in downtown Covington, according to an analysis by meetNKY.

The 204,000 sq. ft. center's expansion would create new jobs and spending and maintain its competitive edge in the tourism industry, which brings in nearly $400 million to the region.

All three Northern Kentucky counties are being asked to approve the increase. Kenton and Campbell Counties will likely vote in favor of the measure at their next meetings.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Image via Campbell County Animal Shelter