Animal Advocacy

Making the Case for Municipal Spay/Neuter Programs

posted December 3rd, 2012 by
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Ruth Steinberger 3

By Ruth Steinberger, Huffington Post Article, 12/3/12

You’ve heard the expression “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Well, in many communities throughout the U.S., that rain is a continual flood of tragedy that holds devastating economic and social costs. The problem of too many dogs and cats, commonly called pet overpopulation, overwhelmingly occurs in, and takes its toll on, poor communities. The problem affects the animals and the people around them as well.

Internationally, 75 percent of all dogs, that’s around 375 million of them, along with a similar number of cats, are unwanted. Estimates on the numbers of dogs worldwide varies widely from 9 billion to only 75 million, however, according to WSPA there are about a half billion and three quarters (375,000,000) are unwanted.

The vast majority of unwanted dogs and cats are born in nations without animal welfare laws. Gruesome elimination campaigns occur worldwide. Of the millions of unwanted pets born each year in the U.S., 7-8 million ultimately enter shelters and roughly half do not come out alive.

The growing movement to address animal welfare in areas of chronic poverty reminds us that many people no longer view homeless animals as a tragedy they must simply ignore. While organizations in developing nations create prevention-based animal welfare programs, much of the U.S. still relies solely on collection facilities called shelters. In the U.S., publically supported animal shelters exist in all states (and some states have full geographic access to shelters), but fewer than 10 states have statewide access to low-income spay/neuter programs. The need is clear and low-income families flock to these services where and when they do exist.

People started sheltering homeless dogs and cats in the U.S. in the 1800s. The ability to readily have a dog or cat spayed evolved in the 1960s, and by 1985 high volume spay/neuter programs were on the horizon.

Today, in the U.S. a shocking two billion taxpayer dollars are spent each year to collect, house and then either adopt out, or euthanize and cremate, dogs and cats. But while shelters are publically funded, spay/neuter programs for low-income homes are generally opened and run by local, privately funded animal welfare organizations.

To illustrate the absurdity of our current model, just imagine if the 1952 emergence of the Salk vaccine had been greeted by a lukewarm shrug and a decision to build more hospital wards for polio victims while asking volunteers to hold bake sales to support vaccination drives.

Dogs and cats are born in litters of five to 10 at a time and are adopted one at a time. Open-access shelters are vital; however relying on them to address unplanned litters is a short sighted tragedy. A recent American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) study revealed an overall drop in pet ownership spanning the last five years.

Spay/neuter organizations do an amazing job, providing over 500,000 surgeries annually. However, as privately run organizations spay/neuter clinics open one at a time; they are geographically spotty and their operating costs vary based on local rents, etc.

Public hesitation to support affordable spay/neuter services may stem from the belief that if people cannot afford to care for pets they should not have them. However, thousands of client intake forms at Midwestern spay/neuter programs reveal that over 60 percent of low-income owners obtained the pet as a ‘stray.’ Pet ownership was a matter of compassion, not irresponsibility. Life is precarious for a stray dog or cat; they are unlikely to have a permanent home if there is a risk of ongoing litters.

Since sheltering costs include salaries, utilities, supplies and more, even small “outdoor” shelters normally cost at least one hundred dollars per animal. When a pet enters a shelter it immediately becomes a taxpayer burden. High volume spay/neuter models bring the costs down to as little as $40 per surgery, a price that many low-income pet owners currently pay in existing (and self-sustaining) programs. This breaks the cycle before an unwanted litter enters a shelter as a public expense. Everyone wins.

Cost is generally the driving factor in the failure to get pets altered. A 2009 Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) article noted that “annual family income was the strongest predictor of whether cats in the household were neutered.” Researchers determined that cats in homes under $35,000 per year are roughly half as likely to be neutered as are cats in homes with higher incomes. According to 2011, nearly 40 percent of U.S. households earn under $35,000 per year, and 24.9 percent of households earn under $25,000 annually.

In counties without shelters, generally found in the South and Midwest, the inability to get pets altered often results in chronic neglect: the unfortunate female cat or dog that becomes pregnant is ‘put out’ of the home. Homeless pets are routinely abandoned roadside, and a plethora of home-based rescue programs have turned into nightmarish criminal “hoarding” situations that were overloaded with animals they intended to ‘rehome.’

Former director of Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Howard Hendrick, wrote a letter in support of increased spay/neuter services for low-income pet owners. He focused on the impact of animal overpopulation on low-income families, particularly on children. Hendrick wrote, “The value of the human/companion animal bond has been demonstrated in hospital and therapeutic settings, particularly [for] children… The inability to have a pet sterilized almost always results in the termination of the human/companion animal bond. Indeed, less than 20 percent of unsterilized pets remain in the home.” He concluded, “… children in marginalized households become aware that ‘normal’ methods of disposing of unwanted animals include abandonment of the pet(s) in a remote location, shooting or drowning. These are poor lessons for children whose lives are already at risk. In addition to breaking the bonds between children and the pets they value, the outcome is a poor lesson in responsibility and commitment for children.”

The incinerators used to cremate euthanized pets cost more than the basic equipment needed for a spay/neuter surgery room, and a “euthanasia room” is not cheaper to build than a room destined for use for spay/neuter. While it’s not as easy as swapping one piece of equipment for another, financially self-sustaining low-income spay/neuter programs exist and can be readily duplicated.

Restricting reduced cost services to income qualified homes (similar to legal aid) supports effective outcomes while avoiding competition with private veterinary practices. Any number of service models from high volume clinics, to mobile spay/neuter units, to regularly scheduled “spay days” in private veterinary clinics, can change the equation if they are accessible to all homes that need them, and pro-active ordinances encourage people to use them.

The fundamental obstacle to stopping the flood of unwanted cats and dogs is not the money, the space or the know-how… the obstacle is the paradigm that prioritizes collection over prevention. We simply must shift our thinking — and our practice. addressing this issue on behalf of the animals, impoverished communities Widespread access to spay/neuter services for low-income homes is vital to everywhere and taxpayers across the U.S.


Ruth Steinberger

Founder, SpayFIRST!




Ruth Steinberger is a regular contributor to TulsaPets Magazine

Articles by Ruth Steinberger in TulsaPets Magazine



The Animal Resource Center

posted November 24th, 2012 by
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 Barbara Lewis, the board president of the Animal Resource Center (ARC) in Oklahoma City, has been the driving force behind an innovative approach to addressing many stumbling blocks for animal advocacy—effectively keeping dogs and cats out of shelters and in their homes. Her goal is to help each rescue organization or shelter to be as effective as possible and to help at-risk pet owners keep their pets.

In order to get there, Lewis did her homework. “We surveyed a lot of the rescue groups to see what they felt would help them best do their job, and the biggest number said a facility they could afford to rent at which they could hold adoption events, fundraisers, etc., was badly needed,” she said. “Also, shelter intakes are not getting better.

The Lockhart Foundation was trying to figure out what could be done to keep dogs in their homes and really saw that there was no central site for services like when someone loses a job and needs pet food, or even simply getting help overcoming problem behavior by talking with a trainer.” The Lockhart Foundation has generously supported the non-profit ARC since its start up. ARC is located in a 32,000-square-foot building in Oklahoma City equipped with rooms for dog training classes, an open bathing/ grooming program, an “animal library” and spaces for rent for animal and nonanimal events. It’s conveniently located at the intersection of I-240 and I-35 with ample parking.

The ARC also holds workshops for the public on responsible pet ownership, adoption events and obedience classes, ranging from puppy kindergarten to agility. On the second Saturday of the month, ARC has a free presentation that is open to the public on an animal related topic, and on Saturday mornings two groomers are on site to provide free baths while teaching owners how to clean ears, clip nails and basically care for their pets (appointments are needed).

The ARC stresses the need to help owners become more responsible in their decisions. “It’s dogs, and it’s cats too,” Lewis said. “Cats often impact the neighbors more than dogs, but there are solutions for those problems… we can help keep someone from surrendering their cat because their neighbor is mad.” The library is open to the public and includes children’s animal literature, dog training books, animal novels and books on pet care and more. “People may just want to read a novel about a dog,” she says. “They can probably find the right one in our library. But if they need help with a serious house training issue, we can probably help them with that as well.”

The ARC’s mission is uniquely inclusive, and this is evident from the fact that those who are a part of this vision are as diverse as are pet owners themselves. Mascotas Latinas, an organization dedicated to assisting pet owners in the Latino community, has an office at ARC, as does Spay FIRST!, an organization dedicated to expanding spay/ neuter options in underserved, low-income communities. Yet multiple dog obedience clubs house their activities in the giant building too, and the Oklahoma American Kennel Club (AKC) dog clubs held an educational event there this year.

ARC has space available for rent for large parties and gatherings and holds events in conjunction with other community service organizations. The 2012 Peruvian Festival was held there, a professional filming of a M*A*S*H style spay/neuter clinic was held there, and during spring break, ARC partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to hold a five-day camp focusing on a different animal each day. Twentyfive at-risk youths, ranging from 6 to 12 years of age, attended. The animals of the day included rabbits, dogs, cats, insects and reptiles. Barbara fondly refers to the insects as “bugs” and said that the camp created art with live maggots that crawled through water-based paint, leaving their creative footprint on paper (and the maggots were not injured in the making of the art).

ARC may replace the bugs with a different animal next spring, but the spirit of creatively reaching out in order to make communities better, safer and kinder to all animals will remain the same. Check out this wonderful facility when you’re in Oklahoma City. Hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday). Call (405) 604-2892 or visit for more information.

Ruth Steinberger

Wanted: One Puppy for Profit

posted November 24th, 2012 by
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If the titles of all Craigslist’s postings were genuine in intent, it would be a lot easier to distinguish the good from the bad. For instance, “Looking for One Kitten to Feed to My Python” would certainly help you steer clear of a bad buyer. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

On the surface, Craigslist can be a great resource in finding homes for otherwise homeless pets, especially since it’s a free service. However, what can be used for good can also be used for evil, and many are using it with ill intentions. While it is monetarily free, animals are paying the price.

Andrea Spears Kidwell, owner of Andrea’s Furry Angels Pet Care, a pet sitting company in Tulsa, is one concerned Tulsan who is fully aware of the problem and wants to promote awareness among those who are unsuspecting. Several years ago, while browsing Craigslist in search of a dishwasher, she clicked on the pet section link. She was horrified to see backyard breeders, and those who simply failed to spay or neuter their pets, posting puppies and kittens for sale—or even worse—for free. As an animal advocate and longtime volunteer for StreetCats, she tried to encourage the owners/ posters to make the right choice.

“They were ‘flipping’ them for profit or breeding them to sell the puppies or kittens, etc.,” she says. “I wrote some of them to explain the overpopulation problem, offered to transport their pets to and from Spay OK or any low-cost clinic of their choice, asking them to please fix their animals before re-homing them.

“All I ever got back in response was a bunch of cussing and rude comments about minding my own business; they can do what they want with their animals. It’s not natural to have them ‘fixed.’ Their dogs like being pregnant. I could go on and on. After being threatened on numerous occasions, I made up several fake emails and started communicating through those.”

Kidwell says after being duped, many will post warnings of caution to others, stories of how they bought a dog that ended up dying of Parvo. Some say they met a seller in a parking lot, and the dog was not as described, or it was covered in fleas and ticks.

Another common posting is from those looking to “stud” out their male dogs or asking for assistance in breeding females in heat. Worse yet (and sadly not the first we’ve written about such instances), Kidwell witnessed folks warning others about a man gathering up “free to good home” animals from Craigslist to feed to his baby tiger. “Also, people with snakes look for those types of ads,” she says.

On the other hand, shelters have limited funds and use Craigslist, “which is great to help find the shelter pets homes,” Kidwell says, “but then you have the breeders who have caught on that their posts will be flagged, so they make up rescue organization names to dupe unsuspecting people. When I ask them for a copy of their non-profit status, they say that it’s none of my business, which makes it clear to me that they are not truly a rescue organization, but someone using animals and possibly neglecting or abusing them just to make a quick buck.”

For those concerned about animal welfare, this is a problem that needs to be addressed and made widely known, but where do we start? You might think the answer is simple— contact Craigslist and have the section removed. Kidwell did so and, to date, has still not received a response. The pet section is still active.

However, what is within our power to do is simple. Consider supply and demand. If good-intentioned people are aware of the dangers lurking on the other side of Craigslist and refuse to give away free animals, or buy or sell to the ill-intentioned, there is no demand for the evil suppliers, and in turn, no supply for the evil demand.

Share this information with your friends, family and neighbors, anyone who will listen. Together we can make more people aware of the dangers lurking on Craigslist to helpless animals. Each life saved through awareness is progress. As TulsaPets’ motto says, we are “a magazine with a mission.” Each puppy or kitten’s life saved by making one more person aware is a victory for us all.

Anna Holton-Dean

Cohn Family Shelter – A Legacy of Care

posted November 24th, 2012 by
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Everyone wants to know that those they are responsible for will be taken care of in their absence or passing. Oftentimes, those loved ones include a pet, which may make it even tougher to know for sure they will be taken care of the way you would care for them.

Since 1998, the Cohn Family Shelter at Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences (CVHS) in Stillwater has provided just that—a life-care center for companion animals, creating the atmosphere of care they always knew at home.

The Center is located on eight acres of land north of the CVHS Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. At 6,600 square feet, the facility is designed as a home with special features such as a playroom where visitors and veterinary students can enjoy the animals; areas for examination, treatment and grooming; outdoor runs and separate kennels; and an apartment for live-in attendants who provide 24-hour care.

A generous donation of over $1 million from the estate of Mrs. Leah Cohn Arendt—along with matching funds from OSU—made the Cohn Family Shelter a realized dream for the Arendt family and those who choose to entrust their companion animals’ lifelong care there.

Arendt herself had 150 dogs and 13 cats, and OSU CVHS received most of those animals upon her passing, Sharon Worrell, alumni affairs specialist for the Advancement Office, says.

“The Cohn Family Shelter facility was built with matching University funding as a new home to accommodate the animals with the remainder funds used to endow a Chair for the study of companion animals,” she says. “Our goal is to provide a program where pet owners can feel secure in the knowledge that their pets will receive the love, care and attention they had always enjoyed at home.”

As a daily witness to the care the animals receive, Worrell is also a client of the shelter, and says it is simply part of the bargain she made when she took on the responsibility and privilege of pet ownership.

“If I could no longer care for my animals, an endowment at OSU CVHS Cohn Family Shelter would assure lifelong, compassionate, and competent veterinary care for the remainder of their lives,” she says. “My animals depend on my care. As a companion animal owner, I make a commitment to their lifelong well-being. The Cohn Family Shelter perpetual care program is the next step in that commitment.”

A typical day at the Cohn Family Shelter begins with exercise, feeding, fresh water, kennel cleaning and laundering of bedding. Resident animals interact with full-time staff and are allowed outside play time periodically with compatible playgroups of companion animals.

Worrell says all animals receive routine wellness exams by the OSU attending veterinarian. Diets, medications and special needs are monitored and recorded as part of the animals’ medical histories. Enrollment materials are provided by the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences and the OSU Foundation to fund lifelong care of pets. Endowment of cats is $15,000; dogs, $25,000; birds, $10,000; and large animals (such as a horse, llama or pony), $50,000. A nonrefundable deposit of 5 percent is required as a reservation fee.

Boarding services are also provided as space permits. For boarding information, call (405) 744-3647.

For more information on the Cohn Family Shelter, visit OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences’ website at Contact Sharon Worrell by email at [email protected] edu or call (405) 744-5630.

Anna Holton-Dean

The Perks of owning a pet!

posted November 2nd, 2012 by
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Masters in Health Care3

Detailing the perks of owning a pet and why we should all consider being a pet owner!

The Importance of Enforcing the Oklahoma Dog and Cat Sterilization Act

posted September 16th, 2012 by
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by Ruth Steinberger

The 1986 Oklahoma Dog and Cat Sterilization Act was forward- thinking legislation intended to prevent unwanted litters from being born to former shelter pets; essentially, it was to stop the release of unwanted pets that then produce more unwanted pets. Intact release can quickly turn a shelter into the single largest source of at-risk pets in a community.

The Act mandates that animals released from public or private shelters in Oklahoma be spayed or neutered, either by contract or pre-adoption sterilization. It further stipulates that if a contract is used instead of pre-adoption sterilization, the pet must be altered within 30 days (exceptions are made for animals under six months of age), and the new owner is to pay a deposit of no less than $10, which is to be refunded upon proof of surgery. However, the law has no penalties for non-compliance and has no enforcement mechanism. Therefore, it may be time to update the law and close the loopholes in this important tool to help animals.

TulsaPets Magazine decided to find out how well the statute is working. Our survey shows that with over 25 years since the passage of this statute, compliance is sporadic; some Oklahoma shelters evade even the simple mandate for a contract. And communities that do comply are likely affected by neighbors that do not.

For example, the cities of Tulsa, Claremore, Owasso, and Tulsa SPCA and Washington County SPCA practice pre-adoption sterilization, while Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Glenpool, Catoosa and Jenks release some or all animals intact. And the further the shelter is from an urban area, the more likely it is to be non-compliant, so while the Pittsburg County Shelter in McAlister, Okla., complies with the statute by sterilizing animals prior to adoption, shelters in cities in neighboring Pushmataha, Latimer, Atoka and Hughes counties release intact pets. In addition to increasing the number of homeless animals, the lack of enforcement invites unscrupulous puppy mill operators and dog dealers to take their pick, placing at-risk animals into a never-never land of horrors in which their suffering is unseen and unaddressed.

Some towns comply in regard to adult animals, while releasing puppies and kittens intact. Unfortunately, this policy places animals with the greatest reproductive timeline (kittens and puppies) into circulation intact, while sterilizing older pets that may produce far fewer litters. Some cities flout the law altogether, making the process of reducing the number of homeless pets virtually impossible while ensuring that animal control costs will steadily rise. For example, the city of Durant releases some intact animals for free and without a contract.

Officer Steve Harris, field supervisor at Tulsa Animal Welfare has worked in animal sheltering for 12 years. “The issue of pre-adoption spay/neuter is all about what happens to the animals after they leave the shelter,” he says. “I don’t care how good your shelter looks or how new it is; if your policies allow animals to end up having litters, you’re a part of the problem. I believe that all of the shelters that neighbor [the] city of Tulsa need to spay or neuter the animals before they are released. It’s the only way we will ever get the problem under control. That goes for the rescues too. They should all spay or neuter before they pass them on to the new owners.”

Additionally, neuter before adoption (NBA) is not a luxury reserved for shelters with in-house clinics. Some shelters that do not have in-house clinics include the cities of Claremore, Stillwater, Moore, and Washington County SPCA, all of which alter all adopted pets before they go to the new home through a combination of relationships that include local veterinarians who arrange last-minute appointments for adopted animals and spay/neuter clinics (the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine provides spay/neuter services for the City of Stillwater and other shelters). While it takes a bit of organizing to get the pet to the clinic, and it’s a bit more work on the front end, it prevents litters and saves time from dealing with contracts later on.

Dawnette Brady, executive director of Washington County SPCA, says, “We stopped allowing deposits to be made for spay/neuters on pets being adopted in [the] fall of 2009. Every animal must be spayed/neutered prior to release. It’s relatively easy to make that change happen, and we have never had someone get upset with our policy. I know how we were able to turn the corner and make the change and will speak with any shelter that wants information on how we did it.”

Senior Animal Control Officer for the City of Lawton Rose Wilson has created a middle ground at her shelter with an abbreviated surgery room. “We partner with a local veterinarian, Dr Wayne Haney, who comes here to spay and neuter on site,” she says. “And just because you are using a contract doesn’t mean you cannot follow through. You need to have officers that are knowledgeable about enforcement, and you need a municipal system that understands the seriousness of this issue and supports what you’re trying to do.” She adds that it may involve taking pictures of those who have lost their lives to euthanasia to get the point across, but that the support is vital to creating change.

“If a shelter is adopting on a spay/ neuter contract, the fee is very important,” Wilson says. “It needs to create an incentive to get it done. And the fine for not complying needs to be high enough to make an impression.”

In our TulsaPets Magazine survey, the best contract we found is the one used by Enid Animal Shelter. Under the Enid contract, the new owner chooses from a list of local clinics and pays for the spay or neuter before taking the pet home. They then take the pet to the clinic to redeem the already paid for surgery. It does not cost more money to fulfill the contract, so it’s an easy choice.

That is not so in cities where the “deposit” is merely a portion of the cost of spaying or neutering the new pet, a process which forces the new owner to pay out more money to complete the adoption process after the animal is in their home. If the surgery costs more than the deposit, the new owner can save money by forfeiting the deposit and leaving the pet intact; basically, there is a financial incentive for noncompliance. It’s an honor system that usually fails. Nationally, the estimate on compliance with sterilization contracts is under 50 percent.

“A lot of places have adoption contracts that they themselves do not understand,” Wilson says. “A contract isn’t worth having if you’re not going to enforce it, or if it just carries a fine that people can laugh at.”

Deposits of $25 to $40 are the average at the Oklahoma shelters that release pets on contract; the City of Enid was the only agency that we spoke with that collects the full cost of the surgery as a deposit. None of the shelters releasing animals on a smaller deposit had programs in place whereby the surgery was paid in full by the smaller deposit.

Nancy Atwater, executive director and founding board member of Tulsa-based Spay Oklahoma, says that the problem of intact release of shelter pets cannot be overstated. “This is a no-brainer,” she says. “Releasing intact animals is self defeating. At least some of the animals will have unwanted litters that will then produce unwanted litters. Intact release also reduces the chances of a successful adoption; the behavior associated with being intact, such as roaming, fighting or attracting males does not make the pet more endearing to people.”

“Things have changed a lot since the passage of this statute in 1986,” Atwater adds. “Veterinarians used to tell people to have pets spayed at 6 months. But a lot of cats are pregnant by 6 months old, and now people are encouraged to avoid the first heat cycle. It’s important to revisit these policies, so they do what they are intended to do.”

Spay Oklahoma helps shelters in the region develop procedures for transport and billing, so that pets can be altered before going into a new home. “A volunteer can accomplish a lot by becoming a spay/neuter transporter for their local shelter,” Atwater says.

Rose Wilson best summed up the importance of the Sterilization Act, and why we should look closely at this issue. “The main thing is that if the law is worth passing, it needs to be enforced,” she says. “There’s no point in passing laws we don’t plan to enforce.”

The following list shows each county in Oklahoma, its’ population, and each town within that county that has a mechanism for handling unwanted dogs, or “animal control”; the population of each town with “animal control” is included beside the name of the town. When added together, the populations of the towns reveal the number of residents of the entire county that can humanely release an unwanted animal. When divided by the overall population, that figure reveals the percentage of the population that has such access and the percentage that does not.  This information was gathered by contacting county clerks and sheriff’s offices, and following those calls with calls to individual municipalities. Despite our best efforts, we estimate that some facilities were missed.  In rural places the information can be rather fluid. Animal control services may be interrupted when an animal control officer vacates their job. A few officers without shelters simply take animals home.  Contractual live animal removal services range from apparently legitimate private services, to a, “man who comes and gets dogs.”Between one third and one half of the municipal facilities collect strays only, refusing owner surrenders. Outside of large shelters, very few accept cats. Limited accurate euthanasia records may be available (based on method, or combination of methods, and therefore payment), but accurate records of animals entering and leaving the shelters alive are actually rare outside of shelters in larger municipalities.  We estimate less than one fifth of rural shelters comply with the state law requiring sterilization of shelter animals. A lack of shelters causes some officers to rely on unacceptable “rescue” channels, an issue tied to several large-scale removals in the last two years, including notorious ones in Stigler and Vici.  Animal disposal in places without shelters (which includes over half of rural Oklahoma) includes abandonment, shooting and drowning.  A limited number of unwanted, but “adoptable,” animals go into private shelters. For older, large, sick, or ugly dogs, and cats, there is virtually no place of refuge.  Most importantly, the focus of most rural services is to eliminate nuisance animals. Animal welfare is occasionally significant to individual officers; this seems to be strengthened if the officer has the assistance and support of local humane volunteers.  Thank you very much for your interest in this information..

Ruth Steinberger and Tara Beres

Population of Oklahoma: 3,523,553

Total population served by animal control: 2,372,182

Overall percentage served by animal control: 67.3%


Oklahoma population with Tulsa and Oklahoma counties removed: 2,273,590 (3,523,553 – 1,249,963)

Population served with Tulsa and Oklahoma counties removed: 1,122,219 (2,372,182- 1,249,963)

Percentage of Oklahoma served by animal control outside of Tulsa and Oklahoma counties: 49.3%


Population in the Oklahoma panhandle (Beaver, Cimarron, Texas counties): 28,667

Population served by animal control in the Oklahoma panhandle: 14,467

Percentage served by animal control in the Oklahoma panhandle: 50.4%


Population in southeastern Oklahoma (Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Latimer,

LeFlore, McCurtain, Marshall, Pontotoc, Pushmataha counties): 241,257

Population served by animal control in southeastern Oklahoma: 86,892

Percentage served by animal control in southeastern Oklahoma: 36%


Population in rural northeastern Oklahoma (Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Logan, Mayes,

Osage, Ottawa, Wagoner, Washington, counties): 358,301

Population served by animal control in northeastern Oklahoma: 153,239

Percentage served by animal control in northeastern Oklahoma: 42%


Population in southwestern Oklahoma (Beckham, Carter, Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Garvin, Grady, Greer,

Harmon, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Love, Murray, Stephens, Tillman, Washita counties): 426,339

Population served by animal control in southwestern Oklahoma: 259,549

Percentage served by animal control in southwestern Oklahoma: 60.8%


Population in northwestern Oklahoma (Alfalfa, Blaine, Canadian, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant,

Harper, Kingfisher, Logan, Major, Roger Mills, Woods, Woodward counties): 300,347

Population served by animal control in northeastern Oklahoma: 156,757

Percentage served by animal control in northeastern Oklahoma: 52.1%


Data compiled by Ruth Steinberger, Coordinator, Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, 918-367-8999

Tabulations assisted by Tara Beres, Director, Safe Haven Center, Oklahoma City, OK, 405-821-7367