'Countdown to Zero': Palm Beach County initiative hopes to save thousands of cats, dogs

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Palm Beach County officials are expected to throw its support behind a plan Tuesday to stop euthanizing adoptable dogs and cats within 10 years.

"Countdown to Zero" is an initiative local animal shelters and animal rescue leagues have developed to make sure more animals find caring families.

Nearly 12,000 cats and dogs were euthanized in 2013 at the Palm Beach County Shelter, according to Peggy Adams with the Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach.

"Countdown to Zero" calls for more spay/neuter programs in the county and a review of current programs in place.

"We see this as a community-wide effort because it's not Peggy Adams' solution, not the county solving this alone.  It's going to require all animal lovers in Palm Beach County," said Rich Anderson, Adams' executive director and CEO.

According to Adams, it costs county taxpayers $400 for every animal that goes to the county shelter. A year of euthanizing animals costs $3.6 million.

"'Countdown to Zero' is really an effort to make sure we're looking at our programs," Anderson said. "That we're spending our money more wisely."

The County Commission is expected to announce its support of "Countdown to Zero" at its meeting at 9:30 Tuesday morning at Government Center on Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach.

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