My name is Kelly Burley and I have served as the director of Common Bonds since August 2019. Before coming on board, my experience with animal welfare was limited to Bo and Arrow, the two rescues you see keeping watch in the photo.
The bulk of my professional experience was spent in radio, beginning at KRMG and KWGS in the late 1980s, and continuing with KOSU after I graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1990. I was a reporter, news director, and program director at the station until May 2003, when I joined AARP Oklahoma as associate state director. I returned to KOSU in 2008 as station director, where I led an amazing team of public media pros to expand collaborative local journalism. We also built new broadcast studios in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and strengthened the station's broadcast signals with new frequencies in Stillwater and Ponca City.
Since joining Common Bonds I have had the opportunity to get to know many of the people who are on the front lines of animal welfare in Oklahoma, and I still have many people to meet. To a person, I am amazed at the tireless commitment they make to the animals in their care. In shelters large and small, animal welfare officers are on the front lines of animal care, and there work often goes unnoticed. That's one of the things we are working to change. By building community with these professionals, Common Bonds hopes to connect animal shelter pros with each other and with resources to help improve efficiencies. We also are working to recognizing those shelters who are reporting their intake and release data and are either committed to or already at the 90-percent live release rate. Lastly, we are working to identify the capacity for affordable and accessible spay neuter services across the state while promoting the procedure as one of the most responsible things a pet owners can do for their animal and their community.
Our task is challenging. Oklahoma euthanized more than 18,000 animals in 2019 according to the latest available data from Best Friends Animal Society, and our state ranks 8th in the country for the number of cats and dogs killed in shelters. Our save rate is 73-percent, meaning one out of every four animals entering a shelter never leaves. the bottom line, Oklahoma can do better. We must do better for the animals, and our communities.
I am grateful to each of the partners of Common Bonds for all they do for the collaboration. Together, we will save more animal lives, reaching our goal of a statewide live release rate by 2025.