Portland, Vancouver shelters killing fewer dogs and cats

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PORTLAND — Six Portland-area animal shelters say they've significantly reduced the number of homeless cats and dogs they kill.

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland, which includes the Humane Society for Southwest Washington and the Washington state Veterinary Medical Association, says the shelters killed 40 percent of the animals they took in 2006. Last year the rate dropped to 19 percent. The number of kills dropped from almost 18,000 to about 6,000.

The coalition shelters have reduced euthanasia by not killing healthy animals. The shelters report success with microchips that identify lost animals and with spay and neuter programs.

The number of animals taken in by the shelters is down from more than 44,000 in 2006 to about 34,000 last year.