LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A rise in euthanasia rates at The Animal Foundation from 2021 to 2022 is causing concern across our community, so spoke with advocates and experts to better understand what’s happening. 

“That’s when I knew we really had to spring into action,” Lacey Sculls said of rescuing McQueen the dog. 

She and her husband, Jonny Sculls, found McQueen on the side of the road and took him to The Animal Foundation to see if anyone would claim him. 

However, they told when they returned to claim him a few days later, the dog was deemed aggressive and put on the euthanasia list. 

“We thought we were going to lose him,” Lacey Sculls said. 

The couple got the dog back and boarded him at a local spot. He will be there until he finds a forever home. 

Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman told not every story ends this way, so she said she’s working hard to make a change. 

“We are constantly told that everything is fine, and we know it isn’t,” Seaman said. “We as a city are paying them extra money every year to not euthanize, and the euthanasia rates have just skyrocketed.”

The Animal Foundation’s Website shows 2,261 dogs were euthanized in 2022, a 91.12% increase from the 1,183 dogs put down in 2021. 

In that same period, an 8.84% increase in intakes was reported. 

Cats followed a similar trend, with 1,432 euthanized in 2022 compared to 888 in 2021. That’s a 61.26% spike in cats put down with a 13.99% intake increase.

So far in 2023, 157 dogs have been put down, compared to 107 at the same time last year. This is a 46% increase.

The number of cats euthanized so far this year has stayed steady at 57, the same number at this point in 2022.

For a look at the Animal Foundation numbers, click here. 

When reached out to the shelter, the following statement was provided: 

“The Animal Foundation took in almost 25,000 animals in 2022. As an organizational policy, only animals not considered to be healthy and/or treatable are candidates for humane euthanasia. The definitions of healthy and treatable that we utilize are articulated in the Asilomar Accords. Euthanasia rates vary depending on the population of animals we serve in a given month or year.”

Dr. Kate Hurley, Director of Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California-Davis, said a lot of factors can lead to these types of trends. 

“2022 was a tough year for a lot of shelters,” Hurley told 8 News Now. “The animals keep coming, they have to be fed, they have to be cleaned, they have to be cared for, and if you get behind, it’s so easy for a negative cycle to get started.”

However, Seaman said regardless of the reason for this increase, she’s pushing for more transparency. 

“We have to look at solving the problem in other ways,” Seaman said. “Then continuing what we are doing now.”

Meanwhile, Lacey and Jonny Sculls told they want all animals like McQueen to have every chance to find happiness. 

“Someone is going to discover this dog,” said Jonny Sculls. “And just have a best friend.”

The Sculls told that McQueen had been hit by a car when they found him, and they said he was provided with proper medical treatment at The Animal Foundation. 

A protest is also planned outside the shelter on Friday at 2:00 p.m. Seaman is set to attend.