Save Rates for Harris Co, TX animal control; better than 2015, but not great

Houston, Harris County, Texas – I received the 2016 intake and outcome records for Harris County Animal Control (“HCAC”).   I calculated the Save Rates, and although they are better than 2015, they are still not great by any stretch of the imagination.

Here is a breakdown for 2016:

48.93% Total Kill Rate / 51.07% Total Save Rate

75.44% Kill Rate for Cats only

32.43% Kill Rate for Dogs only

19,544 Total Intakes (including 121 classified as “Other”)

 12,091 Dog Intakes

   7,332 Cat Intakes 

  3,485 Adoptions – 18% Total Adoption rate

  2,705 Dogs Adopted – 22% Adoption Rate for dogs

     778 Cats Adopted –  11% Adoption Rate for cats 

 9,562 Total animals were killed/lost/died in care

 3,921 Dogs killed or lost

 5,531 Cats killed or lost

1,309 Total Pets Returned to Owners – 9.36% Return to Owner Rate

1,234 Dogs & puppies Returned to Owners –  14.66% RTO Rate for Dogs only

     75 Cats and kittens Returned to Owners – 1.35% RTO Rate for Cats Only

If you would like to view the intake and outcome reports (gathered thru a Public Information Request), I have posted them on No Kill Houston’s website here.   

dogkilledathc

A dog killed by Harris County animal control

Here is a comparison of 2016’s numbers to 2015

2015-2016table

So,  Intakes decreased and their Save Rate increased, which are both good, however, HCAC killed or lost a horrifying 75.44% of all cats!  

Cats lost out in every category compared to dogs.  Their adoption rates are far less; the numbers returned to their owners are shockingly low; and even though the number of cat Intakes decreased by 1,114, Harris Co AC still killed 5,531 cats.   

Clearly, there is a lot more that could be done to save the pets entering HCAC, especially for cats. 

One program that would be easy, and cost effective, to implement is a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program for feral cats.   Pretty much every community, that I have ever studied, has a TNR program.  TNR is supported by every national humane organization as a humane and cost effective means of population control.  And yet shelter leadership in Harris County, which is the most populous county in Texas, and the 3rd most populated in the US, still has not implemented a TNR program. 

Shelter leadership at HCAC has remained in the dark ages of catch and kill sheltering for feral cats.   That is disgraceful, to say the least.

Another program that would increase adoptions dramatically, and also bring in revenue for HCAC, is an effective and comprehensive offsite adoption program.  Harris County spans an enormous 1,777 square miles.  It should be clear to anyone that their facility on Canino Road is not convenient for a huge number of Harris County residents.  In addition, some people will absolutely never, ever, go to a kill shelter.   That is why offsite adoption locations are critical to saving enough lives to end shelter killing. 

Yet, I searched the website for HCAC, looking for any offsite adoption locations and could find only one, for cats only, mentioned i.e. “PETCO River Oaks”.   While this is a great location, to my dismay, it appears that HCAC leadership has made it incredibly difficult for people to adopt a cat from this location. 

This is what is posted on their website: 

You need to fill out our adoption application and return the application to HCPH Veterinary Public Health either in person or by faxing to (281) 847-1911.  The application will be reviewed and then you will have 24 hours to come and pay the adoption fee, in person at our shelter during regular adoption hours.  The cats located at our adoption partner PETCO River Oaks are ready for adoption.  Adopters will be considered on a first come, first served basis.  Please note the name and animal identification number (AID) on the application.  It is important that you bring your application to our shelter during regular adoption hours as soon as possible. Once you have completed the application process and paid the adoption fee, you will be given paperwork to take to the PETCO River Oaks to pick up your new pet.”

It should be noted that, according to HCAC’s website, the “adoption hours” referenced above, are from 1:00 to 5:30 Monday – Friday, and 11:00 to 3:00 on Saturday and Sunday.  So, if a person found the cat that they wanted to adopt on a Sunday, most working people would not be able to drive to HCAC’s facility on Canino Rd within 24 hours… because they have jobs.  So HCAC’s target potential adopter i.e. people with jobs, will not be able to take advantage of these offsite adoptions in any great number.   

It doesn’t make sense to make people jump through multiple hoops, and drive across town in Houston traffic, to another location (a kill shelter), just to pay the adoption fee so that they can drive back across town again, to the first location to adopt.   This is ridiculous and defeats the whole purpose of “offsite adoptions”.  A lot of people are likely to just give up and go somewhere else that is less hassle, including breeders. 

Since HCAC KILLED 5,531 in 2016, the intelligent and compassionate thing to do to decrease shelter killing would be to make it as easy as humanly possible for people to adopt.   

One idea to increase adoptions would be for volunteers to either volunteer at that the PETCO location, and/or to take calls to immediately interview potential adopters.  In a county with 4.5 MILLION residents, it shouldn’t be hard to find enough volunteers to help with this.    This is so common sense to me.  So, why hasn’t shelter leadership seen this barrier to adoptions, and rectified it? 

Another issue is that, after some searching, I found mention of a Mobile Adoption event on “Harris County Animal Shelter’s” Facebook page.  But, I couldn’t find any mention of mobile adoption events anywhere on HCAC’s web site.  Why not?  

Marketing adoptable pets is a crucial part of saving lives.  It is a program that is so simple and, with a little work, pretty much free to implement, but I could not find any mention of a mobile adoption at all on their website. 

So, the bottom line is that the Save Rate at Harris County animal control has increased from 2015 to 2016, which is good. 

But many thousands of adoptable pets are still being killed while simple, cost effective, programs that would save their lives, are not being comprehensively implemented.  This is very bad.

As we have seen so many times before, this is a shelter leadership issue.

Please SPEAK OUT for shelter pets.  If we do not demand better from our shelters, the killing will never end.  No Kill Houston has made it very easy for you to contact your elected officials, who could increase the Save Rates.  

Click here to SPEAK OUT for shelter pets at Harris County Animal Control.

  ****************************************

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.)

Friend me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Follow Houston Voters For Companion Animals, a political animal advocacy group, on Facebook and Twitter, and register to receive their newsletter.

Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.

The top insane reason to kill a dog

Houston, TX – Last month, a woman named Nikki emailed me about a dog named Bella. Bella had been taken to the Houston Humane Society as a stray by an unknown man.  Nikki had lined up a home for Bella with a wonderful family and personal friend, but the Houston “Humane” Society refused to allow Bella to be adopted.  

Bella

Bella

The Houston “Humane” Society’s excuse for not allowing Bellas to be adopted was that they claimed that Bella had some Pit Bull in her DNA.  That was it.  No behaviorial tests… someone just claimed that Bella was part Pit Bull. The Houston “Humane” Society intended to KILL Bella if an approved rescue group could not be found to rescue Bella from the Houston “Humane” Society.

The Houston “Humane” Society had not bothered to do any DNA testing on Bella to verify that Bella had some Pit Bull in her before announcing that she would be killed.  No, some employee just looked at Bella and decided to slap that label on her based on no facts whatsoever.
.

Studies have shown shelter employees mis-identify dog breeds up to 87% of the time. Yet kill shelters, like the  Houston “Humane” Society, continue to place breed labels on dogs and then use those labels as an excuse to kill perfectly wonderful, healthy and treatable, and adoptable pets.  

In fact, the Houston “Humane” Society is extremely good at making up excuses to kill pets as the last time that they were transparent with their numbers, their KILL rate was a monstrous 89%!   

I posted Nikki’s plea to save Bella on Facebook.  Ninety people commented and most were shocked to learn of the  Houston “Humane” Society’s horrific and deadly procedures.   

Some people called the Houston “Humane” Society and asked about Bella. One concerned citizen was told that animals are “evaluated by certified technicians” at the Houston “Humane” Society.

When asked if the Houston “Humane” Society performs DNA tests before deciding to kill dogs, the Houston “Humane” Society stated “No.  It is based on pure observation and visual examination”.   The Houston “Humane” Society employee also said that they do not do a DNA test because the tests usually show that the dog is a mix of some other breed like German Shepherd  

So, the Houston “Humane” Society knows that the DNA test will show other breeds besides Pit Bull and that is exactly why they do not perform them.  Because DNA tests would prove they are lying about the breed label their “certified technicians” have wrongly assigned to a dog, and DNA tests will prove that the Houston “Humane” Society is killing dogs for absolutely no reason.

But the insanity at the Houston “Humane” Society gets even more insane as the Houston “Humane” Society employee also stated that the “certified technician” looks at the length of the dog’s fur and color and that “Pit Bulls usually have some white on their necks”.

So there it is.  The most insane reason I have ever heard to kill dogs.  And I have heard a lot of insane reasons for killing from kill shelters over the years…. but this one tops the list as the most insane i.e.  white fur on their necks”. 

So, all those people working in DNA labs, running scientific tests to determine the breeds of various dogs, have apparently been wasting their time.  They can quit all that wacky scientifically proven testing and just ask the Houston “Humane” Society’s “certified technicians” to look for white fur on dogs’ necks. 

Riley12-2015

My 7lb dog, Riley… with white fur on his neck.  Heaven forbid he ever get into the hands of the Houston “Humane” Society or they might kill him.

And even if Bella was a Pittie, so what?  Multiple studies, including one done by the CDC, prove that a dog’s breed is not an indicator of behavior.  Make no mistake, this is just an excuse to kill adoptable dogs.  There is absolutely no good reason to kill Bella and thousands of dogs just like her. 

The Houston “Humane” Society makes up ridiculous excuses like this so they can make false claims to the public that they save all “adoptable” pets…… then claim that dogs like Bella are not adoptable and kill them.

So, the next time someone says “shelters do not want to kill”, remember this story.   Bella’s story absolutely proves that some kill shelters DO want to kill, and they CHOOSE to kill perfectly adoptable pets even when people beg to save them.  And they do this every day of the year.

Petie

Petie, the “Pit Bull” with the small children from the Little Rascals show.

After many days, with hundreds of people working to find a rescue group that could save Bella, a rescue group did pull Bella.  Bella was then adopted from the rescue group by the family that originally offered to adopt her…. but who were turned down by the Houston “Humane” Society.

Below are pictures of Bella with her new brother.  

This is the dog that the Houston “Humane” Society said must be killed.

Bella-HM

Bella-HM2-2

Notice that Bella’s tail is wagging so fast that it is a blur…

I am very glad that animal lovers pulled together to save Bella, however I am angry and very disappointed that it took so much work, over so many days, just to save a dog from a facility that claims to be a shelter and calls itself “humane“.   It should not be that difficult to save a dog from a shelter. 

I am also sickened knowing that there are many more dogs who have been, and will continue to be, killed by Houston “Humane” Society simply because of a label that someone made up.  

I do not call this sheltering pets.  This is more like a slaughterhouse than a shelter.

Shelters that truly care about saving lives, work hard to save ALL lives.  

Real shelters do not kill animals because of the way the animals look…. or if the animals have white on their necks.  

If you donate to the Houston “Humane” Society, or any other facility with this repulsive, deadly rule, such as Houston SPCA or Harris County animal control, this is what your donations pay for.  

Your donations are being used to kill perfectly adoptable pets even when others beg to save them. 

Learn the truth about this slaughterhouse and pass it on to your animal loving friends and family.    More stories about this house of horrors are posted on No Kill Houston’s website here.     

*****************************************

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.)

Friend me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Follow Houston Voters For Companion Animals, a political animal advocacy group, on Facebook and Twitter, and register to receive their newsletter.

Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.

 

Houston SPCA killed Tanner even though his original rescue group begged to save him

Houston, TX – The senseless and monstrous “policies” of some kill shelters never cease to amaze and shock  me.   The below story, which I’ve posted word for word, was recently posted on Facebook (here) by a rescue group.   Unfortunately, I’ve heard stories just like this before.   A friend called me last year with an almost identical story, and other people have posted similar stories online.   

Tanner

“We were contacted by the Houston SPCA on February 6th. They had a cat that was brought in microchipped to All God’s Creatures.  We microchip our animals for this very reason in case they do end up at a shelter or lost.

I was ready to go pick him up, but was told there was a 6 day stray hold by Candice (manager) at the SPCA.  Plus, she wanted the name of the adopter so she could contact her if she wanted him back or not. Not realizing how the SPCA Houston works, I gave them Tanners adopters name and phone number.

The following week (Feb 8-12th) I called numerous times to find out the status. Finally, getting a return call from Candice, she said that she had not been able to reach the adopter but wanted to continue to try being that she was off on Friday 12th.

Monday comes and I start calling the SPCA, again. This time, I get a return call from Keisha Shaw (2/17), another manager at the Houston SPCA.  She leaves a voice message stating that the adopter has been contacted and has come to pick up Tanner. I was thrilled (or so I thought).

February 22nd, I call the adopter to see how Tanner was doing, now that he was back home. SHE SAID HE WAS AT THE SPCA.

I was livid, now! Still having the [voicemail] on my phone from Keisha Shaw saying he was picked up by the adopter, I wanted to know what was going on. According to Candice, the case about Tanner was between the SPCA and the OWNER (adopter) not me. The owner did not want Tanner back because they had told her that he had become sick. I said then, that I would come pick him up. Candice stated that I needed to talk to Keisha Shaw, whom conveniently was not there that day.

The next day when speaking to Keisha Shaw, she said it’s not All God’s Creatures cat.  I questioned about why she said that he was picked up by the adopter. Her comment was she only said that the owned had been contacted. I guess she had forgotten that she had left that message on my phone.

All this being said, I can presume that he is no longer alive, but the SPCA Houston will not tell us anything because he is not “our cat,” according to them.  If only the SPCA did what all the other shelters (Baytown Animal Control, CAPS, LA Humane Society, Woodville Animal Shelter, etc.) do when they come across an animal microchipped to a rescue. They should have released him to us and let us contact the adopter. Tanner might still be with us and not have gotten sick being at the SPCA so long. Unfortunately, we will never know, thanks to the Houston SPCA.”

Because the Houston SPCA lies about their Save Rates, many people believe that it is a No Kill facility.  But the fact is that the Houston SPCA is a high kill facility.  The last time that they were honest with the public, their KILL RATE was 65%.  Former employees have told me that they believe their current Kill Rate is around 85%!   This is despite the fact that they had $36 MILLION is assets in 2014 and they are a Limited Admission facility–meaning they can say no to intakes when they get full.  

Considering how many pets the Houston SPCA kills, logic would dictate that such a facility would BEG rescue groups to take animals from them so that they do not “have” to kill them.   

But, logic goes out the window when dealing with slaughterhouses like the Houston SPCA.

As this story, and other stories show, the Houston SPCA actually refuses to return a lost cat back to the rescue group that originally adopted him out even though the rescue group’s contact information is listed on the cat’s microchip!   

The Houston SPCA would literally rather kill Tanner than return him to the rescue group who repeatedly called and begged to get Tanner back to safety.   

And the Houston SPCA is so insistent on killing a wanted pet that their employees even LIE.   Keisha Shaw, a manager at the Houston SPCA, left a voice mail message for All God’s Creatures (AGC) that Tanner’s adopter had picked up Tanner.    But when AGC called the adopter to check on Tanner, Tanner’s adopter said that she did NOT retrieve Tanner from the Houston SPCA.  

When AGC called the Houston SPCA to ask why they had lied about Tanner being picked up, Keisha Shaw lied again and said she never said the adopter picked up Tanner.   But AGC still had Ms. Shaw’s voicemail message proving otherwise.  

Click here to listen to Keisha Shaw’s voicemail.    Listen to Keisha Shaw lie and state two times that “the owner came in for the cat”.  

It is mind boggling to any rational person to wonder what purpose was served by lying to All God’s Creatures telling them that Tanner’s owner had picked him up from the Houston SPCA.   The Houston SPCA is a HIGH KILL facility, yet it seems that they lied for sole purpose of keeping Tanner so that they could kill him rather than return him to the rescue group who originally adopted him out, and who begged to get him back.  

In my opinion, only MONSTERS would do such horrific act.  In no way, shape or form is this a “shelter”. 

As a foster mom, and as a human being with a conscience, my heart breaks for All God’s Creatures knowing that one of their own was callously and needlessly killed by the Houston SPCA while AGC begged to get him back. 

Tanner’s death was entirely avoidable. 

AGC’s director wrote “I have shed many tears since this past Monday when I spoke to the adopter and found out that Tanner was not with her.  Tears of sadness for Tanner and tears because I was so angry with the SPCA.”

Tanner

If you donate to the Houston SPCA, THIS is exactly what your donations pay for.  

Learn the truth about this slaughterhouse and pass it on to your animal loving friends and family.    More stories about this house of horrors are posted on No Kill Houston’s website here.     

*****************************************

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.)

Friend me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Follow Houston Voters For Companion Animals, a political animal advocacy group, on Facebook and Twitter, and register to receive their newsletter.

Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.

The most important thing that you can do for shelter pets

Ad

Houston, TX – On December 12, Houston will have run-off elections for mayor and 7 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.  Before the general elections, we sent all of the candidates a Candidate Survey on sheltering issues. However, some of the candidates in the run-off elections did not respond.

So, the one thing I am asking Houstonians to do today is:
ASK THE CANDIDATES ABOUT THEIR STANCE ON SHELTER ISSUES.

Houston Voters For Companion Animals has 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 create your own question(s), just PLEASE DO contact them.

SAMPLE QUESTION:
Houston’s taxpayer funded city pound (BARC) killed more than 10,000 pets in 2014 alone. Yet, other communities have ended shelter killing entirely. If elected, what are your plans to end the killing of shelter pets at BARC?

The candidates’ email addresses are below (copy and paste them all into an email):
info@billkingforhouston.com, info@steveleforhouston.com, info@nguyenforhouston.com, admin@karlacisneros.com, info@jasoncisneroz.com, jgbigham@gmail.com, lasterfordistrictj@yahoo.com, gdprovost@hotmail.com, wrayd4@gmail.com, campaign@davidwrobinson.org

The following candidates have not responded to our Candidate Survey and did not attend our Candidate Forum on sheltering issues.

MAYORAL CANDIDATE – Bill King

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES – DISTRICT F
Steve Duc Le, Richard Nguyen

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES- DISTRICT H
Karla Cisneros, Jason Cisneroz

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES-DISTRICT J
Jim Bigham, Mike Laster

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES – AT-LARGE POSITION #1
Georgia Provost 

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES – AT-LARGE POSITION #2
Willie Davis, David W. Robinson

*Sylvester Turner, running for mayor and all of the candidates running for City Council At Large Positions #4 and #5 have already responded to our Candidate Survey and their responses are posted on HVFCA’s website here.

 *****************************************

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.)

Friend me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Follow Houston Voters For Companion Animals, a political animal advocacy group, on Facebook and Twitter, and register to receive their newsletter.

Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.