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Animals Farmed

May 05, 1990|Clipboard researched by Elena Brunet and Dallas M. Jackson / Los Angeles Times, Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

The total number of animals picked up by the Orange County Health Care Agency's Animal Control Division has dropped steadily during the last four years--by more than 10,000, or 24%. At the same time, redemptions by owners have dropped off (14%), as has euthanasia (40%). Adoptions, however, have increased by 4%.

Euthanasia is still the fate of most animals handled by animal control. Al Garcia, chief of shelter services, points out that about half of all animals put to sleep are by owner request--at a cost of $5.

Cats are rounded up by request only (for example, when a sick one has been captured or a stray is being a nuisance), according to Costa Mesa Animal Control Officer Robert O'Brien. But if a dog is loose, officers try to chase it home so they can speak to the owner before it is snagged. "It's not the dog breaking the (leash) law, but the owner," says O'Brien.

Dogs and cats continue to make up the vast majority of animals handled by the county. But "other" clients include snakes, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, roosters, chickens, birds, waterfowl, pheasants, turtles, goats, foxes, horses, lions and bears. LIVE ANIMALS RECEIVED

1989 1988 1987 1986 Dogs 22,246 24,453 26,374 28,569 Cats 12,451 13,238 13,978 16,167 Other 3,093 3,671 4,271 5,022 Total 37,790 41,362 44,623 49,758

DOGS--DISPENSATION

1989 1988 1987 1986 Redeemed by Owner 7,420 7,926 8,016 8,598 Adopted 5,982 5,869 5,775 5,722 Euthanasia 8,691 10,537 12,428 14,072 Total 22,093 24,332 26,219 28,392

CATS--DISPENSATION

1989 1988 1987 1986 Redeemed by Owner 245 220 254 285 Adopted 2,215 2,247 2,109 2,205 Euthanasia 9,324 10,321 12,428 13,265 Total 11,784 12,788 14,791 15,755

OTHER--DISPENSATION

1989 1988 1987 1986 Redeemed by Owner 37 88 31 55 Adopted 161 152 52 76 Euthanasia 1,029 1,810 3,314 4,337 Total 1,227 2,050 3,397 4,468

ANIMALS ADOPTED 1986: 16% 1987: 18% 1988: 20% 1989: 22% ANIMALS EUTHANIZED 1986: 64% 1987: 63% 1988: 55% 1989: 51% ANIMAL DISPENSATION, 1989 Euthanized: 51% Adoption: 22% Redemption by owner: 20% Outside group: 7% Note: The total number of animals dispensed does not match the sum of animals redeemed by owners, adopted or put to sleep because animals released to outside veterinarians or claimed by such organizations as the Opossum Society, the Turtle Club and the California Department of Fish and Game are not recorded by the animal shelter. A few cities have independent animal control offices, often through the police department: Costa Mesa, Irvine, Santa Ana, Seal Beach and Westminster.

Source: County of Orange Health Care Agency, Animal Control Division

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