San Antonio’s Journey to Reach 90% & Higher Live Release Rate

Since 2005, the City of San Antonio has taken progressive steps towards implementing more humane practices and programs at Animal Care Services. These innovations have resulted in significant measurable progress towards a more humane community. In FY 2011, the department had a 32% Live Release. In FY 2012, the department revised our Strategic Plan and our Live Release Rate has climbed every Fiscal Year since. In fact, in FY 2015, the City’s municipal shelter set an all-time historic of more than 85% Live Release Rate for all pets in our care. But there is still more work to be done.  

Achieving 90% Live Release Rate is not a destination or one-time designation; 

rather it is a continued journey that must be maintained. 

We have thousands of pets coming through our doors every single month - nearly a hundred every single day. Maintaining 90% Live Release Rate - and higher - takes daily commitment from shelter staff, rescue organizations, adopters, and the public.

How is the Live Release Rate Calculated?

The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services counts ALL shelter pets when calculating Live Release Rates -- not just healthy, adoptable ones. ACS cannot completely eliminate euthanasia for shelter pets who come in gravely sick, injured or behaviorally challenged; rather, the shelter will use all humane means to place pets in need. Live Release or placement is defined as the number of all pets who are adopted, rescued, transferred to another shelter or returned to their owners after being lost. Cats who have found positive placement via the shelter's community cat program (which endorses Trap-Neuter-Return) are also considered live placement. Live Release Rate is calculated based off the total number of live outcomes divided by the total number of outcomes from the shelter. 

Animal Care Services continues to strive for the highest placement rate possible for all pets coming into the shelter while balancing our four key priorities of:

  1. enhanced enforcement of existing laws and codes;
  2. controlling the stray animal population;
  3. increasing the live release rate; and
  4. engaging and educating the community.

Learn more about San Antonio’s progress to “No Kill by viewing our Strategic Plan.

How Can the Community Help ACS Maintain & Improve Our Live Release Rate?

Sustaining the shelter's historic Live Release Rates takes daily commitment and engagement from partner shelters, rescue organizations, adopters, foster, volunteers, and the community. Local shelters and rescue organizations throughout the country work with ACS to take in and find placement for pets every day. Responsible pet owners are a vital part of the equation too:

  • Adoption saves pets lives.
  • Good neighbors keep their pets on their property. Leash, not loose!
  • Pets should be sterilized, vaccinated and microchipped.
  • Partner shelters and rescues need fosters and volunteers year round.

Many shelters can also use donations like food, towels, blankets, newspaper and gently used pet goods. For those interested in supporting the shelter and pets in need, Animal Care Services has a 24/7 secured, online donation tool; all donations are tax deductible.