Exposing excuses for killing as lies

truth or lie

Houston, TX – I first learned that pet overpopulation is a myth about 8 years ago after reading Nathan Winograd’s book, Redemption.   Pet “overpopulation” means too many pets and not enough homes.  But, No Kill shelters across the country have found that pet overpopulation does not exist because they are saving all healthy and treatable pets.  If “overpopulation” was real, they would not be able to end the killing of healthy and treatable shelter pets.  It would be impossible.   But, these shelters have done just that.  Just because some “shelters” are still killing pets does not mean that there aren’t enough homes. 

Other myths/excuses for killing pets such as “shelters can’t adopt their way out of killing” have been proven to be false as No Kill shelters continue to do exactly that. 

I recently uncovered that yet another excuse used by kill shelters, and their defenders, is a myth as well.  This is an excuse frequently made by kill shelters in the south.   I was as astounded when I uncovered this myth as I was when I learned that pet overpopulation is a myth. 

More kill shelter lies

More kill shelter lies

A lot of people in the south say that kill shelters, like Houston’s pound (BARC), cannot stop killing shelter pets because their intakes are so much higher than other shelters, particularly those shelters in the north.   Honestly, even I assumed that southern shelters probably had higher intakes per capita than northern shelters because of the near year round warm temperatures, which would lead to near year round breeding.  I did NOT believe those kill shelters’ excuses that they could not stop killing pets though.  I just assumed it would be more work to do so.

But, as I researched this topic, and as I calculated “intakes per capita” (IPC) for various shelters around the country, what I found is that temperature/climate has absolutely nothing to do with per capita intake rates.  And climate has absolutely nothing to do with whether a shelter can, or will, end the killing of shelter pets. There is no correlation whatsoever.  

I compared BARC’s IPC to Open Admission shelters with Save Rates of 90%+ or more listed on the Saving 90 website.  (Note:  A lot of the shelters listed on this site are No Kill shelters.  However, some may not be “No Kill” if they are not saving ALL healthy and treatable pets yet.  But, all of the shelters that I researched are saving at least 90% of all animals.  I’ll call them the “90% Club” here). 

A lot of people assume that BARC’s IPC would be much higher than any of the shelters in the 90% Club.   But, it turns out that this assumption is completely wrong.  In fact, the exact opposite is true.

I calculated BARC’s IPC to be 11.35 in 2014 (i.e. 11.35 pets taken in by BARC for every 1,000 Houstonians).  I have been told that national average is 14.5 IPC and some say it is as high as 30 IPC.   Either way, BARC’s IPC in 2014 was well below the national average.

For the eleven 90% Club shelters that I researched, all but one, (Austin’s animal control with 9 IPC) had HIGHER intakes per capita than BARC.  Higher intakes per capita would, of course, mean that those shelters have to work harder to get all healthy and treatable pets out alive.  But the 90% Club still saved 90% and more, while BARC saved only 60%*.  

Below are examples of what I found.  Reminder:  BARC; 11.35 IPC in 2014; 60%* Save Rate

90% Club shelters

1)    Williamson County, TX animal control. This shelter provides animal control services for all of Williamson County and all its cities, except for Georgetown and Taylor.

15.83 intakes per capita.  Their current save rate is 95%.  This shelter has been saving over 90% of all shelter pets since 2010.

2)    Nevada Humane Society; works in conjunction with Washoe County animal services. 

       19.48 IPC; 94.7% Save Rate in 2014.

3)     Allegany County Animal Shelter.

        22.3 IPC;  98% Save Rate for dogs and 90% Save Rate for cats.

4)     Duluth, MN animal control. They also contract with Superior, Hermantown, Proctor & St. Louis County. 

         24.8 IPC in 2013.  95% Save Rate.

5)     Los Alamos County, New Mexico. 

        25 IPC; 98% Save Rate for cats and 99% Save Rate for dogs.

6)     Barry County, MI;

        30.7 IPC; 97% Save Rate

7)    Humane Society of Fremont, CO which provides animal control for Fremont County, CO as well as the cities of Canon City, Florence, Williamsburg, Rockvale & Westcliff.

       34 IPC;  This facility used to save only approximately 50% of shelter pets.  But, within 3 months of the new director coming on board, this facility saved up to 100% of all animals entering its doors.  The new director has not completed an entire year at this facility yet, but I have no doubt the year end Save Rate will be impressive.

8)     Rockwall, TX animal control.

        40 IPC in 2014. 96% Save Rate.

9)     Brown County, IN;

        41 IPC; 98% Save Rate

10)   McIntosh, GA.

        57.92 IPC;   91% Save Rate.

11)   Kirby, Texas animal control.   This shelter had the most astonishing IPC rate that I found.  

        130 intakes per capitaYet, they saved 93% in 2013.

Kirby, TX is a remarkable example of an extraordinary job by a shelter director who faces incredible odds.  This facility had intakes of 1,040 in 2013.  One might think that 1,000+ intakes in a year is small when compared to BARC’s 24,989 cat and dog intakes.

However, when you consider that Kirby has a population of only 8,000 people, that means their animal intakes to human population was 1 pet intake to every 8 people. That is astronomically high intakes per capita compared to any other shelter that I found.

For example, if BARC had the same proportional intakes, i.e. 1 pet intake for every 8 Houstonians, BARC would have taken in 275,000 dogs and cats last year.   BARC’s intakes per capita were only a tiny fraction (9%) of that of Kirby animal control.   Yet Kirby’s animal control saved 93% while Houston’s BARC saved only 60%*.  

The excuse that so many people have made i.e. “BARC can’t stop killing shelter pets because their intakes are higher than other shelters because Houston is “warm” or “tropical” is just that; and excuse.  That excuse has no basis in fact.

Whether a shelter stops killing shelter pets has nothing to do with climate and it has nothing to do with whether a shelter has larger intakes per capita than another. 

Whether a shelter stops killing depends entirely on the director of that “shelter”.   Again and again, we have seen that when a shelter hires a director who is hard working, compassionate and dedicated to implementing all of the programs and services of  the No Kill model of sheltering, the killing  of shelter pets will end.  

No Kill Works

If you are sick and tired of the mass killing of pets in Houston and if you are sick and tired of excuses, then please contact the candidates running for mayor and city council.   These are the people who can choose life or death for thousands of shelter pets because they determine who runs BARC. 

I can’t stress enough to animal lovers how important that it is that EVERY ONE OF YOU talk to the candidates and ask them if they plan to ensure that the No Kill model of sheltering is implemented in Houston, if they are electedYour vote is powerful.  Before you give a candidate your vote, make sure that he/she represents your values.  It will only takes a few minutes of your time but could mean life or death for thousands of shelter pets in Houston.

I recently wrote a blog saying that the most important thing you could do to help shelter pets was to contact the candidates about their plans to end shelter killing.   I’ll say it again because it is SO important.  Contact them.  Let them know that this issue is important to you.

I have made it really easy for you to contact all of them at once because, I have collected all of their email addresses to make it really easy to copy and paste into an email at once.  See below.

Make sure that YOUR vote helps end the killing of shelter pets.

Houston Voters For Companion Animals has sent Candidate Surveys regarding shelter issues to all of the candidates running for mayor and city council.   You can see their responses, as they are returned, by clicking here.

A Candidate Forum on sheltering issues will be held on September 29th.   Please attend and let the candidates know just how many people care about this issue.   You can register for the Candidate Forum by clicking here.

Email Addresses of the candidates are below.  You can also find links to their Facebook and Twitter pages by click here:

info@bellformayor.com, jgbigham@gmail.com, Larry@larryblackmoncampaign.com, info@rolandchavez.com, jennifer@jennifernaedler.com, info@jasoncisneroz.com, Steve@CostelloForMayor.com, davisfordistrictb@gmail.com, info@douglasforhouston.com, campaign@adriangarcia.com, Klm@klmenterprise.com, jonathan@hansenforhouston.com, atlas@atlasforhouston.com, info@billkingforhouston.com, Michael@KuboshForCouncil.com, john@johncblarue.com, lasterfordistrictj@yahoo.com, Info@LaneLewis.com, campaign@martinforhouston.com, info@mccaslandforhouston.com, zubin@martymcvey.com, info@roymorales.com, info@MattMurphyForHouston.com, info@nassifforhouston.com, info@nguyenforhouston.com, ChrisOliverforCityCouncil@gmail.com, info@jeniferrenepool.com, Laurie4Houston@mail.com, dsmith9550@yahoo.com, info@brendastardig.com, info@GregTravisCampaign.com, Info@SylvesterTurner.com, admin@karlacisneros.com, info@ellencohen.org, acbjr1@sbcglobal.net, Sandie@SandieForDistrictG.com, info@rogenecalvert.com, tahircharles4houston@gmail.com, info@steveleforhouston.com, chris@legierformayor.com, info@josephmcelligott.com, Info@votedavila.com, amanda@edwardsforhouston.com, LccTrebor@gmail.com, MichaelKubosh@gmail.com, info@hallforhouston.com, info@VoteRobertGallegos.com, atlarge1@houstontx.gov, districta@houstontx.gov, districtb@houstontx.gov, districtc@houstontx.gov, districtd@houstontx.gov, districte@houstontx.gov, districtf@houstontx.gov, districti@houstontx.gov, districtj@houstontx.gov, districtk@houstontx.gov, atlarge2@houstontx.gov


*This Save Rate does not reflect the litters of puppies and kittens that BARC killed but did not count.  (i.e. when BARC kills a mother dog or cat and her 5 babies, they count it as 1 killed instead of 6.  This artificially increases their Save Rate, but it is a lie). 

This Save Rate also does not reflect the animals shipped to other communities that are still killing shelter pets too.  I do not consider it a “save” when shipping thousands of animals to other communities causes animals in those kill shelters to be killed.  It just exchanges one life for another.   


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You are invited to a Candidate Forum regarding saving Houston’s shelter pets

Vote for the candidates who will protect shelter pets!

Vote for the candidates who will protect shelter pets!

Houston, TX –  Since so many animal lovers stated that they would attend, Houston Voters For Companion Animals and No Kill Houston have organized a Candidate Forum regarding animal sheltering issues in Houston.  

There are five kill shelters in the Houston area that, together, kill 80,000 pets every year.  Houston’s taxpayer funded animal control facility (BARC) killed more than 10,000 pets in 2014 alone.  Conversely, there are hundreds of Open Admission, shelters/communities who have ended the killing of shelter pets.  They have  implemented the No Kill model of sheltering in order to save all healthy and treatable shelter pets.  

Animal lovers in Houston are tired of the large numbers of pets being killed year after year, and they are frustrated with the minuscule increases in Save Rates at BARC each year; especially when there are life saving alternatives which have been proven to dramatically increase life saving in a short amount of time.  

We are providing this opportunity for animal lovers to hear the candidates plans to end shelter pet killing in Houston, if any. 

The Forum will take place on September 29th at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road,  Houston, TX 77055.

The Forum will begin at 7:00 pm and end at 8:30 pm.   Social Networking will begin at 6:30 pm in which attendees are welcome to speak to the candidates in person. 

All the details are at the link below.  

The Forum is FREE, but we are asking the people who want to attend to please REGISTER so that we can make sure that we have an accurate head count and enough seats.  

Our Poll indicated that over 565 people said that they would like to attend this type of event so it may be a packed house. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER, then SHARE this with your animal loving friends and family in Houston.


If you wish to receive an email notification each time I write a new blog post here, please click the blue Follow link at top right corner of your screen. (Note: The link may not be visible if you are reading this blog in an email. If you cannot see the link in an email, click the title of the blog to be taken to my blog’s website.)

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Questions About Its Shelter that PETA Can’t Seem to Answer


It always seems the more I think about PETA the more questions surface. The other day I had an exchange on Twitter with Mary Tully, who claims not to work for PETA, just to know a lot about them. She even has a website dedicated to them, with a special category for those who are telling the truth about their killing practices. I’ve linked to it once in the past but I’m not going to do that again because I don’t want to give her any more air and energy than is absolutely necessary. The only reason I’m writing about her now is because I asked her a number of questions during our Twitter exchange — despite claiming to have done an enormous amount of research on PETA, despite being someone PETA consistently refers people to when they have questions about their shelter, she was unable to adequately answer any…

View original post 1,287 more words

When it comes to animal sheltering, Houston is the Biggest Loser

Houston, TX – Not too long ago, someone asked me which city killed the most shelter pets.   I know, a macabre question.   Unfortunately, considering my advocacy work at No Kill Houston and Houston Voters For Companion Animals, I am forced to consider these types of macabre questions way too often.

Over the last 7+ years, I’ve done some research into the kill rates and numbers in other communities, so my first thought was that the answer is Houston is the Biggest Loser when it comes to the sheer numbers that our “shelters” kill.  (I should say that shelter pets in Houston are the biggest losers since they are being killed in astronomical numbers).

But, was my guess right?  I decided to research the numbers to find out.

Houston has, within its city limits, FIVE kill shelters who, according to the most recently available statistics, kill approximately 80,000* pets every year.   I actually believe that the number is probably higher than 80,000 because I’ve talked to many former Houston SPCA employees and volunteers over the years and I believe their kill rate has increased to around 80%** now.   Also, some animal advocates, with access to more information than I have, estimate the number of pets killed by Houston area kill shelters to be closer to 100,000 now.  But, we’ll use 80,000 since it includes the numbers produced by the “non-profit” kill shelters**.

I am assuming that cities with larger human populations would mean a larger number of pets in those cities as well. And a larger number of pets would mean increased opportunities for pets to get lost or be abandoned etc. and therefore end up entering shelter systems and therefore at risk of being killed.

So, I researched the three US cities with populations higher than Houston i.e. New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

What I found was startling.

Close up of dog's face behind wire mesh

Houston, we have a problem…. a deadly problem

Houston, TX.  Population: 2,239,558.  Killed 80,000+or- shelter pets

Houston has 5 kill shelters killing approximately 80,000* pets per year.  There is a taxpayer funded city pound i.e. BARC; a taxpayer funded county pound i.e. Harris County animal control; and 3 “non-profit”, Limited Admission, “shelters” i.e. the Houston SPCA; the Houston Humane Society; and Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP).

Cities with higher populations than Houston:

1) New York City, NY.  Population: 8,491,079; Killed 5,700 shelter pets in 2014

New York City has 3 “full service” shelters/pounds and 2 receiving stations (intake only) stations, one in each of the 5 boroughs.    New York City “shelters” took in approximately 30,000 pets in 2014 and killed 5,700.

New York has 6,251,521 MORE citizens yet they killed 74,300 FEWER shelter pets than Houston.

2) Los Angeles, CA. Population: 3,928,864; Killed 16,798 shelter pets

Los Angeles has six kill shelters/pounds. The number of shelter pets killed during their fiscal year of July 2013 to June 2014 was 16,798.

Los Angeles has 1 more kill shelter/pound than Houston.  LA has 1,689,306 MORE citizens yet they killed 63,000 FEWER pets than Houston.

3) Chicago, IL. Population: 2,722,389; Killed 9,817

According PawsChicago’s website, Chicago is home to “three large traditional kill shelters” i.e.  Chicago animal Care and control and 2 other facilities.  These 3 facilities killed 9,817 pets in 2014.

Chicago has 482,831 MORE citizens yet they killed 70,000+ FEWER pets than Houston.

So, all of the cities, with higher populations than Houston, killed fewer shelter pets.  And not just a few.  We are talking tens of thousands FEWER shelter pets killed in each. 

And if we look at pets killed per capita, the numbers are equally stark:

1) New York, NY – .67 shelter pets pets killed per capita

2) Los Angeles, CA – 4.2 shelter pets killed per capita

3) Chicago, IL – 3.6 shelter pets killed per capita

4) Houston, TX – 36 shelter pets killed per capita

As I have said before, Houston We Have a Problem…. a big, big problem.  

That problem is regressive “shelter” directors in Houston who refuse to implement the life saving programs of the No Kill model of sheltering, and who continue to make Houston the pet slaughtering capital of United States.

Note:  I do not normally like to compare Houston kill shelters to other kill shelters.  If the intention is to improve, why compare a kill shelter to other kill shelters, who are performing horribly by killing thousands of shelters pets as well?   If shelters hope to become successful, they should compare themselves to the best performing shelters.  However, I did this comparison as way to emphasize just how horribly Houston kill shelters are performing.

Even compared against other kill shelters, Houston is literally the worst


*It’s impossible to know the exact number of pets killed in Houston, at this time, because the three “non-profit” kill shelters i.e. Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society and Citizens For Animal Protection (CAP) refuse to be transparent and refuse release their intake/outcome records (I’ve asked them for this information twice).

**If the Houston SPCA’s Kill Rate is now lower than the 65%, as reported in the Mayor’s Task Force Report, and a number that we post on No Kill Houston’s website, it would be logical to think that this organization would jump at the chance to report lower kill rates to us.  But, they don’t.  They won’t even respond to me.


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The MOST important thing you can do to help shelter pets and it takes only a few minutes!

Houston, TX – via Houston Voters For Companion Animals

This November, Houston will have elections for mayor and all city council positions. In order for Houston to end the killing of shelter pets, it is crucial that we elect people who care about this issue, and who are willing to work to solve it.

So, it is very important that we question the candidates about their plans to end shelter killing in Houston. In order for them to take this issue seriously, WE ANIMAL LOVERS AND VOTERS, need to make sure that they know how many people care about the issue.

The most important thing you can do to help save shelter pets

The most important thing you can do to help save shelter pets

So, the one thing we are asking you to do today is: 


We have made it very easy to contact them as we have collected all of their email addresses. The only thing you have to do is copy and paste them into an email.

Feel free to use the sample question below, or one of questions on the Candidate Survey (http://bit.ly/1IwlMPI) or create your own question(s)..  


Then please SHARE this with your friend and ask that they do the same.

Sample question:

Houston’s taxpayer funded city pound (BARC) killed more than 10,000 pets in 2014 alone. Yet, other communities have figured out how to end shelter killing.

If elected or re-elected to city council, what are your plans, if any, to end the killing of shelter pets at BARC?

Candidates’ email addresses are below (copy and paste them all into an email):

info@bellformayor.com, Steve@Costelloformayor.com, campaign@adriangarcia.com, info@hallforhouston.com, info@billkingforhouston.com, chris@legierformayor.com, zubin@martymcvey.com, dsmith9550@yahoo.com, Info@SylvesterTurner.com, LccTrebor@gmail.com, Info@LaneLewis.com, info@mccaslandforhouston.com, ChrisOliverforCityCouncil@gmail.com, info@jeniferrenepool.com, campaign@davidwrobinson.org, info@RogeneCalvert.com, atlas@atlasforhouston.com, Michael@KuboshForCouncil.com, john@johncblarue.com, Larry@larryblackmoncampaign.com, klm@klmhouston.com, jonathan@hansenforhouston.com, info@roymorales.com, info@MattMurphyForHouston.com, Laurie4Houston@mail.com, jennifer@jennifernaedler.com, info@douglasforhouston.com, info@nassifforhouston.com, tahircharles4houston@gmail.com, info@brendastardig.com, davisfordistrictb@gmail.com, info@ellencohen.org, campaign@martinforhouston.com, info@steveleforhouston.com, info@nguyenforhouston.com, info@GregTravisCampaign.com, Sandie@SandieForDistrictG.com, info@rolandchavez.com, admin@karlacisneros.com, info@jasoncisneroz.com, pharmacy1226@yahoo.com, info@VoteRobertGallegos.com, jgbigham@gmail.com, lasterfordistrictj@yahoo.com, amanda@edwardsforhouston.com


Houston, TX  – via Houston Voters for Companion Animals

This November, Houston will have elections for mayor and all city council positions.  Many Houstonians are not aware that Houston shelters kill approximately 80,000 pets every year. They also may not know that THERE IS A SOLUTION to end shelter killing that is working across the country.

Houstonians may not realize that the people in the mayor and city council seats have the power of life and death for thousands of shelter pets — because they decide who runs BARC, Houston’s city pound, and they are the people who could pass life saving shelter reform legislation, like that passed in Austin and in other states.

Last week, we sent out CANDIDATE SURVEYS to every candidate running for Mayor and City Council to understand their stances regarding animal welfare issues and related to Houston becoming a No Kill community. 

As part of a voter awareness campaign, the candidates’ responses will be posted on our website, rated and compiled as part of a VOTERS GUIDE that will be distributed to Houston voters.

This November, vote for the candidates who will protect shelter pets

In order to elect more animal lovers to office, it is crucial that we raise awareness among Houston voters so that they will know to check our Voters Guide before they vote. THAT IS WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP. It is a big, big job to try to reach 2.2 million Houstonians before the November election, so we need as many people as possible helping us spread the word.

We are planning a volunteer meeting to discuss how to REACH MORE ANIMAL LOVERS. We would like to make the meeting as convenient as possible to attend, so we offering a choice of dates and we will try to pick a location that is central to all attendees. If you would like to attend the Volunteer Meeting, please email us and let us know which date/location is best for you. (It will likely be held in a restaurant so we can eat while talking.)

Please vote by Monday, August 10th.  

After everyone votes, we will email attendees with the details.

Tuesday, August 11 at 7:15 pm
Wednesday, August 12 at 7:15 pm, or
Thursday, August 13 at 7:15 pm


North side of Houston
South side of Houston
East side of Houston
West side of Houston

Email your votes to: HoustonVotersForCompanionAnimals@yahoo.com

PLEASE SHARE THIS with your Houston area friends and family who might want to attend.