Animal control officer turns shelter around, reduces kill rate from 100 percent to 0

When Kayla Denney walked into her first day of work as an animal control officer in Taft, Texas, she knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The tiny, rural shelter had a nearly 100 percent kill rate and the shelter itself was falling apart.

But after just a few months on the job, Denney managed to turn the shelter around. Now, not only has she been recognized for her work, but the shelter is well on its way to becoming a no-kill shelter.

“As of November 1st, we have saved 565 dogs and cats out of Taft,” she told KZTV.

Prior to Denney’s arrival, the six-kennel Taft animal control shelter was in shambles.

“Limited budget. No electricity. They had a hose so that we could wash out the kennels,” Denise Hitt, City Manager of Taft said. “Other than that we didn’t have the correct supplies other than what they called the ‘blue juice,’ to euthanize animals.”

Every Wednesday was “kill day,” a day that John Cornish, chief of police, described as “horrible.”

But when Denney arrived she wanted things to change. She worked her network and started receiving supplies and offers from others to foster the animals at the shelter.

Within five months the shelter went from high-kill to low-kill. Denney hopes that one day it will become a no-kill shelter. For her work, she was nominated as a Petco Foundation Unsung Hero this past February. She was awarded a $10,000 grant.

Recently, she was awarded the National Unsung Hero award and with it comes an additional $25,000, which will be used to upgrade the shelter.

According to the Caller Times, future plans include making the kennels climate-controlled, equip a building to house cats, and create a space for a lobby and office.

“We want an area where they can have meet and greet out in the field and somewhere, they can have grass time rather than just cement time,” Denney told KZTV.

Denney hopes that winning this award will be yet another step in the right direction for the small-town animal shelter.

If you would like to help the Taft animal control shelter, Denney has set up an Amazon wishlist.

Congratulations on your award, Kayla! You have done an amazing job with the animal shelter in Taft. We need more people like you to help animals in need.

Share this on Facebook to thank Kayla for all of her incredible work.