No adoptable dogs, cats to be euthanized in San Diego County

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(Credit: San Diego County Department of Animal Services)

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SAN DIEGO –  For the very first time animals taken to San Diego County shelters will not be under the threat of being "put to sleep" if no one adopts them.

To recognize this monumental achievement the County of San Diego proclaimed July 1 “Save a Pet Day” and declared that no healthy or treatable cat or dog will be euthanized in the county.

Supervisor Ron Roberts handed out the proclamation saying, “We’ve been talking about this, planning and dreaming and now it’s happening. We are the first in the country to say we are not going to be putting pets down."

The “getting to zero project” started in 2012 in collaboration with all the county shelters sharing resources to find a way to save animals and to end euthanasia by 2020.

“We opened a behavior center here at Humane Society,” said Gary Weitzman, the president of the San Diego Humane Society. “If we have animals with behavior issues they can go there and not be euthanized.”

There’s a behavior center, kitten nursery, campaigns for adoption and the use of foster homes – all allowing the county to reach this monumental goal. They admit it's now up to everyone to keep it going.

“We need fosters so badly," said Weitzman.

“All my friends have dogs so now I that get to have one, I’m really excited,” said Nason Stewart, who was visiting the Human Society in hopes of adopting a dog Wednesday.

Nason's mom Brooke Stewart said she wouldn’t consider anything but adoption when looking for a family pet. She used to work at a shelter when she was a kid and remembers the sadness of days when dogs would be put down.

“Every week – it was very morbid,” Brooke said.

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