CARTERSVILLE — Ecstatically watching euthanasia rates fall over the past eight years, Bartow County Animal Control Director Debbie Elrod believes attaining a no-kill status for the entire county is within reach.

They reported a 22.5 percent euthanasia rate last year and the depart-ment has not put an adoptable animal down since March 2017, Elrod said.

“In the last six [to] eight years, especially, to walk in here on Tuesday morning and I don’t have to euthanize anything, you have no idea how that makes all of us feel,” said Elrod, who has worked at BCAC for nearly 30 years. “[Euthanizing animals is] not something we look forward to or have ever looked forward to.”

Echoing Elrod’s comments, Etowah Valley Humane Society Director Bry-an Canty also emphasized achieving a no-kill designation for the entire county tops his goals for 2018.

According to the 2004 Asilomar Accords, one definition of being a no-kill county is recording a euthanasia rate below 10 percent, he previously told The Daily Tribune News. This percentage was in reach last year, with April’s euthanasia rate dropping to 10.5.

“Ideally, we would like for this entire county to be designated no kill ac-cording to what the industry standards are and those are that animal con-trol no longer has to euthanize for space,” Canty said, adding EVHS already is considered a no-kill shelter. “We ... [were] very successful in 2017. We haven’t lost a healthy, adoptable animal since March 20, 2017.”

They credit numerous factors for the euthanasia drop: more pet owners following leash laws, spaying and neutering their animals, as well as more low cost pet sterilization options.

“It’s a collaborative effort. It takes all of these entities working together for the benefit of the animals in order to be successful in this endeavor.”