Ask Mayor Parker why she has not kept her No Kill promises LIVE MONDAY online

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Houston, TX – According to CultureMap Houston, Mayor Annise Parker wants to answer our questions on any subject we choose.  We will have the opportunity to ask our questions during a live web chat with Mayor Parker on Monday, April 29 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

You can submit your questions now in the Comments section of this story;  Tweet them using the hashtag #askannise; record them in a YouTube video; or ask them LIVE by going to this article on  Monday.

Considering BARC’s ever increasing KILL RATES (see below), I have a few questions for Parker about her No Kill promises that she has yet to keep (read more about her promises here): 

In 2010, BARC had a 55.33% Kill Rate 

In 2011, BARC had a 56.20% Kill Rate

In 2012, BARC had a 57.27% Kill Rate  

Here are a few  of my questions for Annise Parker:

1)  You have made repeated promises to citizens, including during your election campaign, that you would do everything in your power to transition Houston to a No Kill city.  Yet, after 3+ years in office, records show that the KILL RATE at Houston’s taxpayer funded animal control (i.e. BARC) has actually INCREASED every single year that you have been in office.   I would like to know when you plan to keep your No Kill promises to citizens?

2)  In 2009, the international No Kill expert, Nathan Winograd, gave you a 196 page step-by-step guide which tells you exactly how to increase BARC’s Save Rates.   Why have you completely ignored Mr. Winograd’s recommendations for more than 3 years and allowed BARC’s Kill Rates to INCREASE every year that you have been in office?

3)  You know that the most important element to stop the killing of shelter pets is a hard working shelter director who is dedicated to saving lives and who will vigorously implement all of the steps of the No Kill model of sheltering.   So, why have you hired a shelter director who is not dedicated to saving lives?   Why have you hired a shelter director who does not even work at BARC’s facility full time?   Why have you hired a shelter director who has been responsible for BARC’s ever increasing Kill Rate, yet you have done nothing to rectify this problem?

4) Volunteers and rescuers are the backbone of shelters and absolutely necessary to saving lives.  Yet, at least five volunteers and rescuers have been banned from BARC since you have been in office. Some have been banned for simply asking questions.    I would like to point out that not only is this a huge waste of resources i.e. tax dollars and free labor, but it is also illegal.   Why have you allowed this wasteful and illegal activity, that costs lives, to continue under your administration?

5)  Considering that you have totally and completely failed to keep your promises to citizens and voters during 2 terms in office, why should we vote for you again this November?

I sincerely hope that everyone will ask Mayor Parker serious questions about her failures regarding BARC as well*.   She needs to hear from all you. 

It is imperative that she knows how many of us care deeply about this issue and that we have not forgotten her No Kill promises. 

She also needs to know that we all VOTE.  

The lives of the animals at BARC depend on us. 

*You can copy my questions if you wish, but please try to change them so they are not the exact same questions over and over.

Thank you for standing up for the animals.

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The deadly PETA-Houston SPCA connection

Houston, TX – PETA has been getting a lot of criticism lately, especially in the last few weeks, as people become aware of PETA’s UNethical, inhumane, deceitful and reprehensible practice of killing the vast majority of the helpless animals that fall prey to PETA.   Nathan Winograd’s books and recent Huffington Post article have raised awareness to new levels.  This is a good thing.   People deserve to know the truth about the “non-profits” that they support.   Several years ago I too was fooled by PETA and used to donate to them monthly.   I am sickened to now know that my donations were probably used to kill adoptable animals instead of save them.

I have previously written about another high kill facility, the Houston SPCA.  The Houston SPCA’s KILL rate was 65% the last time that they were honest and released their records to the public, and they had an adoption rate of only 25%.  Current and former employees have said that they believe that the Houston’s SPCA’s KILL rate is currently as high as 80%!    The Houston SPCA killed over 20,500 in 2004 alone.   According to reports coming from the public and former employees and volunteers, I assume that they have killed as many animals or more each year since then.

Although PETA has killed “only” around 2,000 animals per in the last 11 years (29,426 dogs, cats, rabbits, and other domestic animals in the last 11 years), their KILL rate is consistently a shocking 90% or higher and has reached as high as 97%.  

PETA and the Houston SPCA have a lot in common:  

  • Both are multi-million dollar “non-profit” organizations;
  • Both are funded by good hearted people who have been fooled into believing that their donations are helping to save lives;
  • Both claim to “rescue” animals yet kill the vast majority that end up in their clutches;  
  • Both are nothing short of slaughterhouses.  

There is another deadly connection between PETA and the Houston SPCA.

PETA and the Houston SPCA have actually teamed up to carry out their better dead than fed style of “rescue”.

Below is an article I wrote on Examiner.com in February, 2011.  Since I have new subscribers on this blog who may not have seen it, I am re-printing it below.

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February 2011 – As I have written previously, I am no fan of PeTA i.e. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  Their fight against life saving No Kill efforts is both mindboggling and infuriating.  In the past, PeTA has even taken time out of their busy killing schedule to attack and oppose No Kill efforts in Houston.

As background, in 2008, Houstonians began demanding No Kill reform in Houston’s city funded shelter BARC.  We were astonished when PeTA, a self proclaimed “animal rights” organization, began attacking our efforts (click the link and scroll down to “No kill shelters are no good”) and attacked Nathan Winograd (see Winograd’s  response here.)

At that time, No Kill Houston was a new and small organization, so we reached out to the national “humane” organizations and asked for help in combating PeTA’s killing agenda in Houston.  The only national organization that responded to my requests for help, besides Nathan Winograd of the national No Kill Advocacy Center,  was Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals and Primarily Primates sanctuary in San Antonio.

During one of our conversations, Priscilla told me a very disturbing story regarding PeTA and the Houston SPCA.   In light of the questionable raids of late and the Houston SPCA’s refusal to make a commitment to life saving, this story seems particularly pertinent.

On October 13, 2006, before Friends of Animals took over the Primarily Primates sanctuary, PeTA caused the Texas Attorney General to raid the sanctuary.  PeTa had collected allegations from a former disgruntled employee and a volunteer with a vendetta.  Both had made connections with PeTA and allowed them onto the sanctuary’s property.  They schemed to shoot videos to cast the sanctuary in the worst possible light and then turned it over to the Attorney General.

Granted, there were weakness at the sanctuary since the founder and director at that time was in trouble with alcohol.   But, PeTA’s goal was not to help the sanctuary or the animals. No, instead they wanted to dismantle the sanctuary. Once dismantled they could force the sale of the valuable land and they already had several buyers lined up, ready to cash in.

A judge in Austin appointed a receiver for the sanctuary that had been recommended by PeTA.   Before Priscilla could hire attorneys in Austin, that receiver was installed along with a large group of PeTA employees and volunteers.   Priscilla remembers that they were “a deplorable mess of incompetent people — directed by a receiver intent on shutting the sanctuary down to follow PeTA’s agenda.”

The receiver later admitted to the sending away, and to the deaths, of 336 sanctuary residents.   Two hundred of those animals had been rounded up and trucked 200 miles to the Houston SPCA during the first week that the receiver arrived.   This included dogs, guinea hens, Canadian geese, several ponies, a 27-year-old horse, chickens and more. “It was a stroke of evil.”

Friends of Animals wrote, faxed and telephoned the Houston SPCA to ask about the confiscated animals, but the Houston SPCA was not cooperative.  Feral says that “the Houston SPCA treated Friends of Animals as though we were criminals.”

Priscilla further laments “I am sure the Houston SPCA killed all of the confiscated animals as fast as possible.   It breaks my heart to think of the killing and how heartless they were. The horse… how could a horse grazing on the property be dispatched to the flipping Houston SPCA — a kill center that answers to no one.   And the chickens, free-roaming birds … every peacock they could catch.   What hope did they have?   Our several feral cats escaped these goons and so did male peacocks.”

In late April 2007, the Texas Attorney General dismissed all allegations against the sanctuary and asked Priscilla to head up the Board of Primarily Primates.  A settlement was fashioned much to PeTA’s chagrin.   But it was too late for the 336 victims of the PeTA/Houston SPCA “raid”.   Two hundred animals had been captured and taken away, never to be seen again. The Houston SPCA never responded to requests regarding their fate, so we have to assume that they are dead.  The other 136 animals disappeared – many of them dead as well.

PeTA had also “confiscated” primates which were then trucked from the sanctuary to exhibits and zoos.   Primarily Primates did get a few of the primates back, as well as a Longhorn steer in May 2007.   Some of the primates had been sent to two other sanctuaries in Texas and it was decided that it was in the primates’ best interest to leave them there. (More details on this story are at the bottom of this article).

For several years, it has puzzled me why animals that were seized in a San Antonio sanctuary were shipped 200 miles to the Houston SPCA, a high kill shelter.  San Antonio has shelters and so do many other cities much closer than Houston.  I never doubted this story, but the circumstances have always puzzled me.

I recently ran across some information that sheds more light on the situation and bonds the Houston SPCA and PeTA together more tightly.

It seems that Houston SPCA director, Patty Mercer and PeTa director, Ingrid Newkirk are both on the board of Ruby McKibben Foundation for the Protection of Animals.  (Also note that Houston Humane Society director, Sherry Ferguson [89% KILL rate], is also a board member.)

So, it would appear that Newkirk and Mercer have bonded and joined together to carry out raids which ultimately cause the deaths of many of the unlucky animals involved.  And why wouldn’t they be buddies?  After all, they both run high kill “shelters”.

In light of the questionable raids, and the ghastly outcomes for many of the animals, the PeTA – Houston SPCA connection is a very disturbing connection indeed.

You can read more about PeTA’s attacks on Primarily Primates here:

* Wallace Swett of Primarily Primates Denounces PETA’s Continuing Attacks on Primarily Primates 

* Cumulative cost of PETA-funded lawsuits against Primarily Primates may reach $1 million

* Will the animals at Primarily Primates survive PETA’s single-minded determination to destroy this sanctuary along with the lives of hundreds of abused animals who want only peace and refuge?

* PeTA: End your lawsuit against PRIMARILY PRIMATES!

* Help stop the assault on Primarily Primates

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Houston SPCA continues to kill loving, adoptable pets

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Houston, TX –  Many people believe that the Houston SPCA is a No Kill shelter, or that they are “working as hard as they can” to place as many animals as possible, or that they kill only truly “unadoptable” pets.  They repeatedly advertise that they place “100% of all of their healthy and behaviorally sound animals“.  To a lot of people, this sounds like they are a No Kill shelter, so, you might be shocked to learn what the Houston SPCA says is “unadoptable” and therefore should be killed.

Contrary to their advertisements and proclamations, the Houston SPCA is actually a high kill shelter, with a 65% KILL rate the last time that they were honest with the public.   Obviously, they are very good at hiding the truth from the donating public.  Animal lovers watch Animal Cops or see the nice press releases showing a “rescue”, however they never see what goes on behind closed doors, once the cameras go off.   Below is an example of what is really going on at the Houston SPCA.

I ran across this story posted by “Anne” on a complaint website. Anne’s story absolutely broke my heart.   I’m posting it in its entirety below (I edited only with line breaks or indents to make it easier to read).

“On Saturday March 23rd, 2013 I was faced with a difficult decision.  I had to give up my 2 yr old Neutered male Domestic short hair cat.  I recently had to take a job that is 90% travel.  After having a friend look after my baby boy for a month, she stated that she couldn’t do it anymore because she already had a full plate of responsibilities.  I searched and searched for a solution but to no avail. 

I saved My Valentino from The Pasadena Animal Control & Adoption (where I was an A.C.O. ) .   I returned there hoping that they may be able to find him a happy home or perhaps a foster parent for a short period.  They couldn’t accept him because they were at capacity.  I had two days to find a solution. 

I reluctantly chose HSPCA as a solution.

I will never regret another decision more in my life!  I cried the whole way there dreading the separation, i promised Valentino that this was the best thing and that they will find him a home ( i wholeheartedly believed this ).  

Upon my arrival ( i had an appointment ) the staff (Jasmine) was insensitively joking with other staff (while i was bawling my eyes out) making me wait 20 mins.  She finally called me up to the counter and began taking my information.  I told her everything i could think of about Valentino, how he’s really a cat dog, he loves to play fetch and get his belly scratched, showed her pictures of his funny sleeping poses. 

She was putting me at ease by telling me that she could see that he was highly adoptable.  I filled out the paper work, she even told me that i can send the pics i had so they could put them on his profile for the adoption site.

I said my goodbyes, tears streaming down my face i turned and walked out wondering what wonderful family or person would choose Valentino.  I left the next day to return to my job, and checked the website hourly.  I checked into Monday still no Valentino.  I began to worry that he wasn’t up on the site, so i asked a friend to call and see if they could find out what was going on. 

While waiting for them to get back to me, i received a TXT message from an unfamiliar number that read ” HSPCA just called, your cat was PTSed ( Put To Sleep ) for being aggressive”.

My heart sank my world turned upside down. The thought of that happening (even as a former Animal Control Officer who knows thoroughly how shelters work ) never crossed my mind.  I know my cat, he has never been aggressive, even under duress he was never aggressive, never during baths did he scratch or bite.  He was the most patient cat I ever saw.  He acted more like a dog than a feline, perhaps because the first year he was with me, he was constantly pal-ing around with my female Boxer Lucy. 

I can’t even describe how stupid and guilty I feel for entrusting an organization such as HSPCA (who claims to love and care for animals) with someone that meant so much and was so dear to me.  I feel like I let him down completely and must live with this for the rest of my life.  While he was just another number to the HSPCA.

Please, if you have an animal that you truly care about and can’t care for or keep anymore, please exhaust all other options before turning them into some shelter, and especially HSPCA.  They will lie to you and kill your animal with some bogus reason.”

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Valentino, a beloved pet, before he was killed by the Houston SPCA

So, the Houston SPCA killed yet another adoptable pet.   They took Valentino on Saturday and he was dead by Monday.  How long did they wait before killing Valentino?   A day?  An hour?  Was Anne even out of the parking lot before the Houston SPCA killed Valentino?

Valentino was, by his owner’s account, a calm, laid back cat that even got along with dogs.   If he was “aggressive” as the HSPCA claims (which I highly doubt), did no one at the Houston SPCA think that maybe Valentino was stressed because he was in an unfamiliar place away from everything and everyone that he had ever known?   I’m sure he could smell death permeating from every corner.  That is enough to stress any animal.

The Houston SPCA is a 30+ MILLION dollar organization, yet we know that they couldn’t be bothered to spend a little extra time and a little extra money on what was probably a terrified and confused cat.   The Houston SPCA could not wait even 48 hours to see if this so-called “aggressive” cat would calm down with time.   They did not place him in a foster home or with a rescue group, where he could have gotten more one on one attention in a calmer environment.

And the Houston SPCA did not bother to call Anne to tell her that Valentino was at risk of being killed.  They did not even give her the chance to retrieve Valentino before killing him.   Anne and Valentino deserved a phone call, at the very least.

No, instead the Houston SPCA charged Anne a fee to rehome Valentino and lied to her face.   The Houston SPCA told Anne that Valentino was highly adoptable and even told her to send more pictures to them for their website, perpetuating the farce that they would use the pictures to help find Valentino a new home.

Instead Valentino was dead within 48 hours, killed by the Houston SPCA.

Anne’s story is just one of thousands (more stories like this are posted here)

**If you donate to the Houston SPCA, THIS is what your donations support.**

Do not let Valentino’s death be in vain.   Please stand up for the animals who will enter the Houston SPCA. 

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Tell the Houston SPCA that you will no longer support them as long as they continue killing adoptable pets.  Tell all of your animal loving friends and family to do the same. 

It is up to US to demand more than just mass slaughter in our so-called “shelters”.

Click here for the Houston SPCA’scontact information.

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Speak out for the thousands of loved, adoptable pets, like Valentino, that  have entered the Houston SPCA only to be killed.

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Animal advocates PLEASE apply for this job

Harris County, Texas – I have written several blogs and articles about the House of Horrors that was directed by Dawn Blackmar for decades.

I recently reported that Blackmar finally retired (and the world rejoiced).

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Blackmar’s vacated position is now posted on the Harris County job board.

I implore all animal lovers, who want to make a difference in the lives of shelter pets, to please apply for this job.  

Harris County is the fourth largest county in the US, and it is also home to some of the most generous animal lovers on the planet.   If Harris County animal control had the right leadership who were truly dedicated to saving lives, I have no doubt that the entire county would come together to help make it happen, myself included.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I think that this will be an easy job, but I do believe that there are so many simple things that could be done that would save thousands of lives IMMEDIATELY.   And I do believe that community will wholeheartedly support this type of leadership in droves!

Here is a link to the job postinghttp://www.harriscountytx.gov/hrrm/ProfessionalResults.aspx?PageID=5138

Please pass this information on to every person that you know.   In order to drag Harris County out of the dark ages of “catch and kill” sheltering, it is critical that Harris County animal control obtain new leadership who is dedicated to saving lives!

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ACTION ALERT! Please take a few moments to help save shelter pets in Texas

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Texas – Hundreds of thousands of healthy and treatable animals are killed by Texas “shelters”.   At least 80,000 are killed in Houston area shelters alone.   Texas House Bill 2981  aims to help rescuers save more lives while saving the state tax dollars.   HB2981, also called the Tax Saving Pet Adoption, Sterilization, and Transfer Act requires that government run animal shelters collaborate with qualified 501(c)(3) animal rescue groups who are willing to save animals at risk of being killed.

The passing of this Bill into law would mean that kill shelters would no longer be legally allowed to kill an animal that a qualified rescue group has offered to save.*

The average citizen would be appalled to know that “shelters” frequently kill pets that others have offered to save.   But, just about any rescuer, who has worked to pull animals from a kill shelter, can attest to the fact that it does happen, either by accident and many times on purpose.   It is a dirty little “secret” that is happening all over Texas, all of the time.  It has happened to me.   Houston’s city pound i.e. BARC has killed cats that I offered to save.

Appallingly, but not surprisingly, several weeks ago, many of the directors of kill shelters gathered in Austin to oppose this life saving Bill.   They even told legislators that the Bill is not needed because they never turn down rescue groups.  (I suppose that it should not be a shock that some of the opposition of this Bill includes Patti Mercer, director of the Houston SPCA [65% KILL rate], Sherry Ferguson, director of the Houston Humane Society [89% KILL rate], Greg Damianoff, shelter manager of BARC [57% KILL rate] and Joanne Jackson from Citizens for Animal Protection [52% KILL rate].  Revolting, yes.  Shocking, no.)

Best Friends Animal Society and FixAustin.org are asking Texas rescuers to talk about their experiences with Texas animal shelters.  Rescuers know what is really going on in shelters, because they there day after day scrambling to save as many as they can.

Below is a link to a short on-line survey that Best Friends and Fix Austin have prepared to collect data from rescue groups regarding their experiences. (Note: They only want data concerning TEXAS shelters since HB2981 will affect only Texas shelters).

If you rescue animals in Texas, please take a moment to answer the survey.  Please do it  RIGHT NOW while you are thinking about it.  It only takes a few minutes to complete and you can remain anonymous, if you wish. 

Click here for the survey  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ShelterAccessSurvey

**A hearing on this Bill is expected to be set very soon so your survey responses are needed ASAP.   Legislators need to be aware of what rescuers face while trying to save shelter pets so that they will make the right decisions regarding this important Bill.** 

If Rescuers do not speak up NOW, then the kill shelters may win this battle and could retain their “right” to kill animals that others have offered to save.

If you would like to provide more information than requested in the survey, or if you have any questions, please contact Ryan Clinton at Fix Austin at ryan@fixaustin.org

*****Please share this survey with other Texas rescue groups.*****

Also, whether you are a rescuer or not, please contact your state representative in and tell him/her that you support HB2981, the Tax Saving Pet Adoption, Sterilization, and Transfer Act.

Click here to go to a site provided by Best Friends that makes it easy to contact your elected representative by typing in your name and address.

Please speak up for shelter pets TODAY.   It only takes a few minutes but it could help save thousands of shelter pets in Texas.

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*HB2981 also gives shelters the right to administer vaccinations on intake to protect shelter pet populations.

It also prohibits shelters from refusing to adopt out dogs or cats based solely on an animal’s breed (i.e. no breed discrimination).  It also and requires rescue groups to spay or neuter adopted pets.    HB 2981 is authored by Texas Representative Eddie Rodriguez.

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