More sweeps and killing is not a solution

Houston, TX – City Councilman, Dwight Boykins recently announced to the media his plans to spend $50,000 for BARC employees to work overtime doing more “sweeps” in neighborhoods with stray dog problems.  Click here or here for the news stories. 

StrayDog

The city has done “sweeps” like this before. This was Annise Parker’s “solution” for strays as well.  Click here (BARC’s 2010 intention to do more “sweeps” as a solution for bite cases)  and here (Parker’s 2008 Policy Brief on BARC) for examples.  Clearly, simply picking up strays or abandoned pets have done nothing to address the issue.  So, why continue to repeat the same failed “solutions”?     

More sweeps are a temporary patch that does not solve the stray problem, but will cause BARC’s kill rate to skyrocket because most of the dogs picked up in these sweeps, will end up dead — killed by BARC along with the thousands of animals that BARC is already killing every year.  

This situation is just like when the city picked up and killed all feral cats… other cats move in to fill the void, so they never solved the feral cat problem. It was a vicious cycle of killing that never ended. Catch and kill solves nothing. TNR works to reduce the population.

The same thing happens with stray dogs. The neighborhoods that have the most strays are low income neighborhoods. This is because these people generally do not have the funds to spay/neuter and probably lack adequate fencing to keep their pets in. So you have females in heat running the streets and males chasing them. If you pick them up and kill them, other dogs just move in to fill the void left. And people in those neighborhoods will get more pets, that won’t be sterilized, and the cycle of breeding, roaming and biting will continue.

How about a more permanent, non-lethal solution?  How about investing that $50,000 in aggressive FREE spay/neuter services for these areas?  Use that overtime that Boykins was going to pay BARC employees to catch and kill animals to instead perform aggressive spay/neuter services?  Instead of picking dogs up, impounding them and killing them.  How about pick them up, spay/neuter them and return them, just like feral cats?  And if BARC cannot perform that many spay/neuter surgeries, then the city should contact SNAP, Emancipet and/or Texas Litter Control for help.  The city already has a contract with Emancipet and, according to a recent city council agenda, Emancipet has not been fulfilling their quota of pets that are supposed to be spay/neutered under the contract.  So, why not let them fulfill that quota on this project?   Our tax dollars have already paid for these services that have gone unused.

Not only will these dogs not be reproducing, but sterilized dogs are much less likely to bite and roam. So if these dogs are sterilized and they get out of their yards again, they will be less likely to be running the streets or biting anyone.

How about, this time, Houston implement proven, long term solutions that do not involve slaughtering hundreds of animals simply because they are homeless?

TAKE ACTION

I urge animal lovers to contact Councilmember Boykins and ask him to make proven, long lasting and non-lethal plans for the strays in District D. 

Below is a copy of my letter to Councilmember Boykins.  Feel free to copy and paste any part of it for your own letter. 

“Re:     Your plan for strays will cause kill rates to skyrocket. There is a better way

Councilman Boykins,

This article was just sent to me regarding your plans to pick up more stray dogs: http://htownxchange.com/2016/01/25/council-member-boykins-to-announce-initiative-targeting-stray-dogs-in-community/

This plan will result in the killing of hundreds more dogs at BARC.  I would like to suggest better, non-lethal solutions.

The city has done “sweeps” like this before.  This was Annise Parker’s “solution” for strays too.  Obviously, it did not work.   It is a temporary patch that nothing to get at the root of the stray problem.  But this plan will cause BARC’s kill rate to skyrocket because most of the dogs picked up in these sweeps, will end up dead; killed by BARC after they are picked up.   

This situation is just like when BARC used to pick up and kill all feral cats… other cats moved in to fill the void, so BARC never solved the feral cat problem.  It was a vicious cycle of killing that never ended.  Catch and kill solves nothing.  TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) is proven to reduce the feral cat population.

The same thing happens with stray dogs.   The neighborhoods that have the most strays are low income neighborhoods.  This is because these people generally do not have the funds to spay/neuter and probably lack adequate fencing to keep their pets in.  So you have females in heat running the streets and males chasing them (and likely fighting over females).   If you pick them up and kill them, other dogs just move in to fill the void left.    And people in those neighborhoods will get more pets, that won’t be sterilized, and the cycle of breeding, roaming and biting will continue.

I would like to suggest a more permanent, non-lethal solution.  How about investing that $50,000 in aggressive FREE spay/neuter services for citizens in those areas?    Use that overtime that you planned to pay BARC to catch and kill dogs to instead perform aggressive s/n services.  

Instead of picking dogs up, impounding them and killing them.  How about picking them up, spay/neuter them and return them, just like feral cats. And if BARC cannot perform that many spay/neuter, then the city should contact SNAP, Emancipet and/or Texas Litter Control for help.    The city already has a contract with Emancipet and, according to a recent city council agenda, Emancipet has not been fulfilling their quota of pets that are spay/neuter.  So, let them fill that quota on this project.

Not only will these dogs not be reproducing, but sterilized dogs are much less likely to bite and roam.   So if these dogs are sterilized and they get out of their yards again, they will be less likely to be running the streets or biting anyone.  

Let’s implement real proven, long term, solutions that do not involve slaughtering hundreds of animals.

Thank you,”

Councilmember Boykins’ contact information:

Dwight Boykins
900 Bagby, 1st Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 832.393.3001
Fax: 832.393.3201
districtd@houstontx.gov

Click here to find the mayor, city councilmembers and BARC management’s contact information.

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: Sweeps = more killing of Houston pets | An Animal Advocate

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