COLUMBIA — A group of Columbia residents has come together to form No Kill Columbia, a coalition aiming to end the euthanization of stray animals in mid-Missouri.
No Kill Columbia said in a news release Wednesday that for the past three years, the Central Missouri Humane Society has averaged a 50 percent kill rate of the animals that are brought to its shelter.
Destiny Hritz, volunteer program coordinator for the humane society, said the 50 percent kill rate statistic is accurate but doesn't represent the whole picture.
"We'd rather it go the other way and say that we have a 50 to 55 percent success rate with returning these animals to the public," she said. "We're just trying to figure out what's best for the community, and so far what's best is giving animals a place to stay."
The humane society is working on an educational campaign to show the other side of things, she said.
Tracy Green, one of the founders of No Kill Columbia, said the coalition has reached out to between 45 and 60 people in Columbia, and the effort has been a long time coming.
"It's been mentally in the works for years," she said. "We're just a collaboration of people that are passionate about animals."
Green said the group hopes to find better alternatives for healthy and treatable animals by promoting an 11-step process that includes adoption and inexpensive spaying and neutering.
"Let me be clear, we're not hoarders or anything like that," she said. "We're talking about adoptable animals here."
Hritz said that the humane society is often portrayed in a bad light because it euthanizes animals but that there are factors that are not taken into account.
"No-kill shelters don't exist," she said. "No-kill shelters often have to turn away animals because they don't have enough space." That policy, she said, forces people to take animals to other shelters that euthanize.
"We never say we don't have enough space, we take every animal that comes in," Hritz said. "And sometimes that means we have to put an animal down, which we never want to do, but it's used as a last resort."
Green said the group is realistic about the goals it is working toward.
"We know this might take six months, 12 months or more," she said. "It's not going to happen overnight, but every step we take is helping us get there."
No Kill Columbia will be attending the monthly meeting of the board of directors of the Central Missouri Humane Society at 5:45 p.m. Thursday to discuss the new coalition's goals. The meeting will be at Dulaney Hall at Columbia College.