Category Archives: outreach

*FREE* Spay/Neuter & Rabies & Microchip & License this month (Dec 2015)

Do you want to know the simplest way to keep pets out of overcrowded shelters?

Help families keep their pets at home, by sharing great opportunities like this:

Houston’s city animal shelter, BARC, is offering FREE spay/neuter, FREE rabies vaccination, FREE microchip, and a FREE City of Houston license.  You must live within the City of Houston limits to qualify- bring a current ID and a bill with a City of Houston address.

The lines will be long on Saturday, but if you don’t get in that day, all overflow clients will receive a voucher for future use. ‪#‎spayneuter‬‪  #‎adoptdontshop‬

PLEASE SHARE!!!

BARC's photo.

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What an Amazing Adoption Count this past Weekend!

Adrienne Balfour Huertas's photo.

“I am so thankful to all the FOSTER HOMES who clean up, transport, love and train our dogs so we can have weekends like this.

These adoptions are Harris County Veterinary Public Health Division dogs, who, mostly, had run out of time in the shelter.
(Editor’s note: When a dog runs out of time it is killed by shelter staff. )

If you’d like to become a foster for K-9 Angels Rescue – Houston, TX please send me a message.”

Mary Tipton
Co-founder and Intake Coordinator
Mary@k-9AngelsRescue.org

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Animal Shelter at Capacity After Hoarder Dumps More Than 70 Dogs

August 11 2015 – ABC13 (KTRK), by Deborah Wrigley

Hoarder dumps more than 70 dogs at shelter

HOUSTON (KTRK) — The Harris County Animal Shelter is said to always be at capacity, which is why a single person surrendering more than 70 dogs in a short period of time poses such a problem.  Video here.

Since June, a man described as a hoarder, has delivered 78 “Chi-Weenies” to the facility in northeast Houston.  The dogs are a mixture of Dachshund and Chihuahua.  The man who turned them over to the shelter is not being identified by the county.

By law, the shelter cannot refuse to take in any animal surrendered by residents of unincorporated Harris County.

According to shelter director Dr. Michael White, the hoarder was recently evicted from his home, and had to get rid of the animals.  “How can you live with 70 animals in your house?,” White asks.

The dogs were not spayed or neutered.  “It may have started off with a couple of dogs, and they breed, and a couple can turn into 60.”  White says there’s nothing to suggest the man was a breeder, but a hoarder.

More than two dozen were dropped off this past Saturday, including a mother and nine, tiny puppies, all of which appear friendly and healthy.

A few dozen more are housed in three large kennels at the shelter.  None seem to have health problems.  For some, human attention seems new to them.

The problem is that so many animals from one source creates problems for other shelter dogs, which have been housed longer.  When space disappears entirely, euthanasia can be part of the discussion.  It is something Dr. White, who comes from a back-ground of having a private veterinary practice, prefers not to do.

“There are plenty of adoptable animals here, and this affects the ones already here.  If you’re going to be a responsible pet owner, you need to spay and neuter your dogs.  That’s the conversation we need to be having.”

Mary Tipton, of K-9 Angel Rescue, is a fixture at the shelter taking animals, some of which are scheduled to be euthanized on the day she pulls them from the list.  “I met him, the hoarder, on the day he dumped 19 animals here on a Saturday afternoon,” she says.  “I offered to help him have his dogs neutered and spayed. He seemed offended that I thought he didn’t love them.”

A rescuer who recently moved from Wyoming to Bellaire took five of the dogs.  Her daughter took another five.  Dale Jones has taken the pups in for their shots, spaying and neutering. She also has a Facebook page: “Save the Chiweenies!”

The county shelter on Canino Road will have a half-price adoption event this Saturday, August 15, 2015 featuring cats, dogs and the Chiweenies.

 

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More people means more pets for Harris county’s animal shelter

"If 80 to 100 animals come in here every day, 80 to 100 have to go out," says Dr. Michael A. White, who supervises the crew that euthanizes animals. Photo: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle / © 2015 Houston ChroniclePhoto: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle

Dr. Michael A. White dreams at night of the creatures whose lives are in his hands.  At home, the director of Harris County’s Veterinary Public Health unit is fostering two labs and four basset hound pups with highly contagious mange.  At the county shelter, White supervises the crew that euthanizes unclaimed, injured and unadoptable animals – to clear space for dozens of new arrivals daily.

“If 80 to 100 animals come in here every day, 80 to 100 have to go out,” White said, whether they are recovered by their owners, adopted or in many cases euthanized.

While the human population has nearly doubled in the last two decades in unincorporated Harris County, the animal shelter remains a vestige of a less populous time and must confront the challenges that come with it.  More households means more pets and – without widespread spaying and neutering – more unwanted pets.  But the facility has not grown to accommodate the burgeoning population of animals.

“We cannot close our doors if we are at capacity like many shelters are able to do,” White said.   “We do the best we can with the resources we have.”

When the county built the shelter on Canino Road in 1986, it was designed to take in 12,000 lost and abandoned dogs, cats, snakes, turtles, guinea pigs and tropical fish annually.  The shelter now sees about 25,000 every year, the vast majority being cats and dogs.  The current intake roughly matches that of the much more well-known Houston Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, although BARC operates with four times the budget.

Animal Shelter
Houston Chronicle

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With more animals, the discussion inevitably turns to concerns over euthanasia rates.  After a boost in funding and increased partnerships with non-profits, BARC’s live release rate is now 80 percent, up from a low of 20 percent in 2005.

But this is not the case in Harris County.  About 70 percent of the county shelter’s animals were euthanized in 2014, though that represents a 13 percentage point decline from 2010.

“It’s an extremely hard decision for staff to make: which ones to keep and which ones to let go,” White said.  “There are so many really nice animals that come through here.  They’ll come here with little sweaters or little dresses on.   If they’re not micro-chipped or tagged there’s no way we can find the owner.”

The shelter partners with 131 rescue groups to aid with adoptions and help lower the kill rate.  Nevertheless, the facility faces significant hurdles as it accommodates a growing region.

In an April 15 email to Dr. Umair Shah, the county’s public health director, White wrote, “While we have implemented efforts to decrease the number of animals that enter the shelter each day, which has helped, our intake is still beyond the scope of our facility to house the high numbers of animals and our staffing level to provide adequate care for them.”

More pets, fewer put down: The Harris County animal shelter, which was built in 1986, receives several thousand more animals than it did a few years ago, but it has lowered its euthanasia rate by 10 percentage points.

More pets, fewer put down: The Harris County animal shelter, which was built in 1986,
receives several thousand more animals than it did a few years ago, but it has lowered its euthanasia rate by 10 percentage points.

Harris County’s compound was built to house 230 animals at a time.  At near breaking point occupancy in April 2015, the facility had 380.

State law mandates a three-day hold for animals to be redeemed by their owners.  After that period, rescue groups may foster pets and try to place them in homes.  Whenever possible, White said, he keeps the animals on site longer, especially if there’s a glimmer of interest in adoption.

When dog and cat breeding reaches its peak in the spring, the number of puppies and kittens arriving at shelters rises, making it harder for older pets to get adopted.  Last week, the shelter’s cages and kennels were overflowing, with as many as six kittens or six dogs to a cage.

Many pets get left behind when tenants are evicted.  Some wander off, and their owners never retrieve them.  Some dogs arrive covered in motor oil, or wearing collars that are choking them because they were put on when they were puppies and they have outgrown them.

“This isn’t about politics, this is about a community problem,” Shah said.   “We can’t say, ‘At this time we are not taking any more animals.’ …  We can’t say, ‘We’re not going to accept injured ones’ or ‘We’re not going to take the funny looking ones.’   We’re going to take all comers.”

Monica Schmidt, public relations manager for the Houston Humane Society, noted that pet overpopulation is a problem on a broad scale because of a pervasive mind set:  “There’s a big difference between a stray problem and an irresponsible owner problem.  You get reasons like, ‘I’m moving.’   Or I didn’t spay and neuter them and now I have too many.'”

For the situation to improve, she said, the basic idea of pet ownership has to change.

Government facilities around the country and in Texas are overwhelmed, said Joanne Jackson, director of operations at Citizens for Animal Protection.  “They have to take animals in, and they don’t have the flexibility of a private place that can pick and choose,” Jackson said.

White said the more crowded quarters become at his facility, the greater the risk of disease like the bout of distemper that spread among the dogs last year.

There has been some progress in addressing the overflow.  The operating budget for animal control has increased 28 percent in the past three fiscal years.  Animal control has proposed two capital improvement projects for this coming year: a partial expansion of the shelter, which includes a new education and adoption building behind the facility, and a project to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the kennel area.

Jackson, whose group collects animals to foster from the county shelter and from BARC, said the county facility faces the additional hurdle of being in a somewhat remote area in north Houston.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Mormon said he made the trip out to Canino Road two Christmases ago with his daughter and they adopted the mixed breed puppy she named Snowflake.  “Back then it wasn’t nearly as crowded as now,” Mormon said.  “It seemed they were at capacity.  I know they’ve got them stacked everywhere and it’s a problem, but I think they’re operating as well as possible with their limited conditions.”

White joined the staff as the center’s infectious disease specialist in 2010.  He assumed leadership of the facility in 2013.

The former director, Dr. Dawn Blackmar, retired amid reports of inhumane and unorthodox euthanasia practices at the facility.  A 2012 report by the county attorney’s office found that caregivers under Blackmar had re-used hypodermic needles and left containers of the euthanasia drug Fatal Plus unsecured.

The report said employees had been euthanizing dogs and stockpiling carcasses in view of live animals waiting to be euthanized – a violation of protocol.  The county attorney’s investigation also confirmed allegations that animals, including some that had apparently been given the Fatal Plus solution, were found alive inside a freezer.

The shelter now adheres to the mandated protocol, Shah said.   And White has established a reputation as an animal lover.

“I think Dr. White has done a wonderful job.  From what I can tell, he has done a lot to reach out to different rescue groups and organizations to fill in some of the gaps where due to funding or staff they can’t do all they would want to,” said Schmidt of the Humane Society.   “I do think he’s doing a wonderful job.  They have a lot of staff that care deeply.”

The shelter has added a new puppy yard for adoptions and hopes to open a new surgery wing in a double-wide trailer on the 15,000-square-foot grounds.

Kill rates have also dropped under White.   The euthanasia rate in 2010 including sick, injured and aggressive animals was nearly 84 percent.  By 2014, the rate had dropped to 71 percent.

“It breaks our hearts to have to euthanize,” White said.   “We are an open-door shelter.  They say we euthanize for convenience.  That’s hurtful.  We want to save every animal.”

 

 

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Not sure if you are ready and capable of owning a dog?

Our disposable society
Our disposable, instant gratification society
and its toll on dogs

Editorial by Peggy Eims

In the not so distant past, people worked for the things that they bought.  They saved, purchased what they needed and then held onto that item for a considerable length of time.

Today, our society has evolved into an instant gratification, everything is disposable, group of individuals.  To what cost?  So many people seem to feel that they deserve to have something if they want it.

And if they get something, many do not see the value in that “something”…. if it breaks, throw it away.  If it goes out of fashion, throw it away.  If it becomes a hassle or boring… throw it away.

Sadly, it seems as if pets have fallen victim to this disposable way of thinking.  Individuals want a pet (dog or cat), so rather than thinking of the full implications of owning that pet (time, money, owning for the duration of that pet’s life), they just get that pet that they think that they deserve.

For some people, dogs have become fashion symbols… there are many that consider the purse or “pocket” dogs to be chic and hip; unfortunately when the fad passes, too many dogs are dumped.

There are also those individuals who have decided that a pair of unaltered pets equates to quick cash – hit Craigslist every few months with “puppies for sale” and someone pockets easy cash…. quick, easy money with no thought to the true cost.

No consideration for the thousands of dogs dying in shelters – “I deserve this money, it’s easy, I’m going to do it” seems to prevail instead of compassion and common sense.

Many individuals have dogs that get hurt or sick – it’s easier and cheaper to dump them at the shelter than to pay a veterinarian to “fix” them.

Disposable society – broken?  Throw it away…..

This instant gratification, disposable society is taking a toll.  Everyday I see the urgent postings.  I see the pleas to save lives.  Everyday I see a rescue begging for foster homes because there are dogs that NEED to come into the safety of a foster home.

Every day I see a posting on Facebook – a face of a senior dog, or of an infant puppy with a rescue volunteer’s sad comment, “How could they?  How could their owner dump them here?”

Every week I get an email from a volunteer – the email has a long list of dogs and it is “urgent” that they be pulled because they are on the dreaded “E-list”.  The volunteer goes on to state that the “shelter is slammed with 50+ incoming dogs a day”.

Think about that number… FIFTY DOGS A DAY?!  At ONE shelter.

Years ago, there were shelters that picked up strays and took in the occasional dog from an ill or deceased owner.  Today they are taking in the cast-offs from breeders that have dogs past the age of producing.  They take in the puppies that didn’t sell on Craigslist.  They take in the hundreds of dogs that people don’t want to take the time to work with.

Dogs are surrendered for the simplest (silliest) of reasons. “Got too big”, “Sheds too much”, “I don’t have enough time”, “Moving”… the list goes on and on.  Can you imagine what would happen if parents could dump their children when they were too difficult??

Think about that statement.  Consider if those same excuses were applied to children.  Takes too much time… too expensive to raise, unruly, too loud, harder to raise than I thought it would be (my kids have satisfied all of these… where’s Kidfinder.com?)

Can you imagine if there were state agencies to take in the cast-offs in the same way that animals are allowed to be turned over?  If people were allowed to be un-committed to this extreme to their human children?

Society would be in chaos.

Somehow, someway, society needs to realize that owning a dog is a privilege, not a right.  Just because you want a dog, does not mean that you are fit to own a dog.  Just because Fifi looks cute in your hot pink purse does not mean that you MUST have Fifi.

Not sure if you are ready and capable of owning a dog?  Foster for a rescue first.  You’ll help a dog in need AND you will see what dog ownership entails.  You’ll see firsthand what it’s like to have dog hair in the house.  What it takes to keep a dog happy and healthy.  It may be short-term, but fostering offers valuable insight.

And society needs to realize that if they made that commitment to own a dog, an actual commitment must be made.  If that dog gets hurt or sick, take care of that injury or sickness.  If it’s a struggle to handle the needs of your dog as the years go by, deal with it.  Figure it out.

Just as parenting can be a struggle, so can dog ownership.  You make accommodations in your life to make the things of value work.

Everyone needs to work together to help educate our society’s youth.  Teach the children that dogs are living creatures with feelings. Teach the children that dogs are to be valued and respected.  Educate children about the importance of altering family pets.

The changes have to start somewhere….

Follow the National Dog News Examiner on Facebook.

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K-9 Angels Rescue – Spay/Neuter Scholarship Program

 

Adoption is helping cut down on the animals in the streets, but what if no unwanted litters were born to begin with?!

K-9 Angels is committed to stopping the problem at the source by educating and helping those facing economic issues to spay their dog.
There are SEVERAL programs at low or no cost to spay/neuter and provide wellness services.
Please research in your area what is available.  Don’t let cost negatively affect the health of your pet.  There are SO MANY options out there!
Also, if you would like to join the Education/Outreach effort, please email me at jill@k-9angelsrescue.org

 

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