BARC’S 2016 Save Rate better than 2015, but they killed 6,643 animals in 2016

Houston, Texas – I received December 2016’s intake and outcome records for BARC (Houston’s taxpayer funded animal control facility).   I calculated the Save Rates, and although they are slightly better than 2015, 6,643  pets were killed by BARC in 2016.  

That is an average of 553.5 pets killed every single month, or 18.2 pets killed by BARC EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR IN 2016.  

That is nothing to be proud of, in my opinion. 

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A dog killed by BARC in 2016

Here is a breakdown for 2016:

BARC had a 23.24% Kill Rate / 76.76% Save Rate for all animals

BARC had a 22.56% Kill Rate / 77.44% Save Rate for dogs and cats only

6,643 Animals were killed or lost by BARC (including “Other” animals)

6,239 Dog and Cats were killed or lost by BARC

28,579 Total Intakes

  8,865 Dog and Cat Adoptions – 32% Adoption rate

  9,149 Dogs and Cats transferred to rescue groups and transporters being paid to ship pets to other states

  1,976 TNRs

     945 Dogs & puppies Returned to Owners – 9.68% RTO rate for dogs & puppies

        52 Cats & kittens Returned to Owners – 1.1% RTO rate for cats & kittens

6.88% Total Return to Owner Rate

 

Here is a side-by-side comparison of BARC’s 2015 and 2016 numbers. 

2015-2016saveratescompare

BARC’s monthly intake and outcome reports (gathered thru a Public Information Request), are posted here.   

From looking at the huge numbers of pets still being killed, it is pretty clear that shelter leadership could do many things that would increase the Save Rates, both immedately and in the long term.  

The first thing, that would have an immediate impact, is a comprehensive offsite adoption program.  This would not only save more lives, but it would also bring in additional revenue to BARC.  Win-win.

Comprehensive is the key word that BARC leadership continues to ignore though. Houston stretches an enormous 623 square miles.  It should be clear to anyone that BARC’s facility on Carr St. is not convenient to a large number of Houstonians i.e. potential adopters.  In addition, some people will absolutely never, ever, go to a kill shelter. This is why comprehensive offsite adoption venues are critical to saving enough lives to end shelter killing.  Nathan Winograd told BARC and City of Houston officials this back in 2009.  

When Wingorad worked at the San Francisco SPCA, they had SEVEN offsite adoption venues, EVERY SINGLE DAY of the week, throughout the city.  San Francisco is about 49 square miles.  

After quite a bit of searching of BARC’s website, I finally found this calendar at the bottom of a page.  

barccalendar2-2016

The calendar lists ONE offsite adoption venue only 3 days per week. And TWO offsite adoption venues, only 1 day per week…. in a city that spans 623 square miles.  BARC should have ten times the number of offsite adoption venues that San Francisco had, but instead they have a tiny fraction of that amount.   

And to make matters worse, 2 of the 4 days that show offsite adoptions are work days for most people i.e. potential adopters.  Yet the hours BARC is available for adoptions is 11 to 4 or 11 to 5.  This means that the vast majority of the target adopting public will be unable to utilize these adoptions because they will be working.  

In addition, BARC’s Carr St. facility is open for adoptions when most of the target adopting public would be at work. The below is posted on their website.  

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Considering the traffic and the sheer size of Houston, most working people would never be able to adopt from BARC during the week.  

This is NOT comprehensively implementing an offsite adoption program. 

Likewise, most people with jobs, would be unlikely to be able to get to BARC to search for their lost pets before BARC closes. Since the stray hold period is only 3 days, a lost and loved, pet could be killed by BARC before the owner had the opportunity to get to BARC to search for their pet. 

Making small changes would solve this issue. Simply altering the hours that BARC is open to the public for adoptions, and to search for lost pets, would save many lives and also save money.  It would get more pets into loving homes, or back to their families, and it would save tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars every year.

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Another adoptable pet killed by BARC in 2016

Something so simple, and free, could have a profound impact on lifesaving.  

So, why isn’t it being implemented by BARC leadership?

Another program that could save thousands of lives, and hundreds of thousands of dollars is an effective and comprehensive Return to Owner program.  BARC’s Return to Owner rate has hovered at about 7% for years. Yet, other Open Admission, No Kill shelters have RTO rates of 60% to 65%.  

I calculated that if BARC comprehensively implemented the same Return to Owner program that other shelters implemented, it could free up 8,100 kennels per year for pets who are truly homeless.  

It  would also save over $900,000…. because it costs money to intake, process and then kill pets.  

Nathan Winograd also told BARC/City of Houston that this program should be implemented back in 2009.  This program would cost little to nothing to implement, yet BARC leadership has not bothered to comprehensively implement such a program. Again, I have to ask why not?

So, the bottom line is that the Save Rate at BARC, has increased slightly from 2015 to 2016.  But more than SIX THOUSAND animals were still killed by BARC in 2016 while simple, cost effective and FREE programs, were not comprehensively implemented.  

This is horrendous and inexcusable.  And as usual, this is a shelter leadership issue. 

But, this issue has a solution….. a pink slip.

 

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. They have programmed a link that will  create a pre-written, pre-addressed email that you can send.

Click here to send your email and SPEAK OUT for pets at BARC.

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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.   

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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.

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Councilman Boykins paid $50k to have BARC kill 74+ dogs and cats

Houston, TX – Last year, I wrote about Councilman Boykins’ plan to pay $50,000 to BARC (Houston’s animal control) for BARC to work overtime doing “sweeps” in his District.  Of course, we knew this would mean more death to more pets at BARC. 

Last year, I blogged about this issue here and here  and Randy Wallace with Fox 26 News reported on it here

Many people called and wrote Boykins and asked him to consider non-lethal options instead, but he refused to listen.  

One of Boykins’ staffers wrote me claiming “Please be advised that the allocated funds will cover the costs to intake an animal, care for it at BARC for the average length of stay, market it and find a live release home for it. The cost is approximately $180 – $200/per animal for these services, thus allowing the animal control officers to pick-up and secure the adoption of approximately 250 – 270 dogs. Adoption is an integral part of this initiative and our office is not advocating, nor supporting any lethal solutions.”

But BARC killed 7,715 pets in 2015 alone, so  everyone knew that BARC leadership would not require that his employees work harder to get these additional pets adopted, and Boykins did not require that BARC use his $50,000 to save those lives.  Boykins just wanted the pets picked up.  He didn’t care what happened to them.

Anyone familiar with BARC knew that these sweeps would result in mass slaughter, and we were right.

The kennel cards of those pets picked during Boykins’ “$50,000 sweep” show that, of the 224 pets picked up , 74 pets were killed by BARC.  10 kennel cards do not list an outcome, so I would bet that those pets were killed as well.  If those animals had been adopted out or sent to rescue, there would like be notations about it.

The above equals a 33% to 37.5% KILL RATE.  And, of course, that does not include the pets, that were already at BARC, and who were killed to make room for the increased intakes.

The kennel cards for the animals picked up in Boykins’ $50,000 sweeps are posted here.  

The pictures of the dogs and cat that BARC killed are posted below.  These are pets that Boykins paid BARC to kill.   And BARC leadership was happy to oblige because they  did nothing differently to make sure that these pets made it out alive.

It breaks my heart to look into all the faces that Councilman Boykins paid BARC to kill.

Remember, your tax dollars were used to kill these pets, instead of being used to save them.  Demand better than this from your elected officials.  Demand that the mayor require BARC to comprehensively implement all of the programs of the No Kill model of sheltering.

Click here to watch Randy Wallace’s recent report on this issue. 

From No Kill Houston: “To the animal lovers who want to help us help shelter pets in Houston, we need you SPEAK OUT in mass.  We do not want to see a repeat of Councilman Boykins’ & BARC’s $50,000 killing spree before the Super Bowl. 

We have made it very easy for animal lovers to SPEAK OUT for shelter pets by contacting the mayor and city council.  We have programmed a link on our web page that will open a pre-addressed, pre-written email to all.  

Here is the link. http://bit.ly/2iIvdXC   Please use it then SHARE.  Make this go VIRAL.

If people prefer to call, write a letter or fax the mayor and city council, we also have all contact information listed here: http://bit.ly/1twjKi3

Please also Follow our Facebook page and register for our e-newsletter here http://bit.ly/1VWic9C

We have big plans for this year but we need more animal lovers speaking out with us. Thank you.”

February – 27 pets killed by BARC.  5 with unknown or incomplete kennel cards, presumed killed.

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March – 28 pets killed by BARC.  4 pets with unknown or incomplete kennel cards, presumed killed.

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April – 19 pets killed by BARC.  1 with unknown or incomplete kennel cards, presumed killed.

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No Kill Houston’s 2017 Pin Up Calendar

Houston, TX – No Kill Houston’s 2017 Pin Up Calendar is now on sale!  The top 12 photos with the most votes in their Photo Contest are featured on a full page in the new Calendar, along with their stories.

2017cover

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Waffle got the most votes and is our 2017 Cover Model and also featured in December. Waffle is our 1st kitty Cover Model!  ALL of the other contestants are featured on a date somewhere in our calendar as well.

This calendar is GORGEOUS, full of heartwarming stories and helps raise money for charity.  It is a win-win-win!

There is still time to order your copies and get them in plenty of time to give as CHRISTMAS GIFTS!

CLICK HERE to buy your copies! 

We are thankful for…

via No Kill Houston

Thanksgiving Pet Celebration

We are thankful for those who work to save lives. Whether they are:

Shelter leadership that works to comprehensively implement the programs and services of the No Kill Equation that saves the lives of shelter animals and serves the community; or

Public officials who support the will of their constituents by implementing No Kill policies and legislation; or

The No Kill advocates, who refuse to stay silent in the face of shelter killing and abuses, and who work to help their shelters and communities in the continual journey towards No Kill;

The rescue community who pull shelter pets to safety; or.

Foster parents who keep pets out of the shelter system and provide a safe haven; or

Shelter volunteers who provide free labor to shelters and love to homeless pets; or

Community cat caretakers that practice Trap-Neuter-Return and keep feral cats out of shelters and out of harms way; or

Voters who research politicians and vote for those who are willing to do what is necessary to save shelter pets in their communities; and

We are thankful for YOU. The public, the animal lovers, the voters, who support all of the above with your time, your money, your homes and your votes.

You are helping to save lives every day.

ANIMAL LOVERS, YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED TO HELP SHELTER PETS!

Houston, TX – The city of Houston is asking for YOUR INPUT on what priorities that you want the city to focus on.

According to the Plan Houston website: “In 2015, Houston’s City Council took the groundbreaking step of adopting the city’s first general plan, Plan Houston. The Plan describes a vision and goals for our community and identifies twelve core strategies that represent the City’s approach for achieving the vision.

The City of Houston is now actively working towards achieving the community goals laid out in Plan Houston. The next step is to understand the community’s interests so that policy makers can consider them as they develop City priorities for the next budget year. The City’s next fiscal year begins July 1, 2017.

You can share your thoughts on what the City should be focusing on by responding to a brief survey.

I have reviewed the city’s current plan, and could find absolutely no mention of animal issues nor addressing Houston’s high kill sheltering issues. 

This needs to change.

planhouston

I believe that animal lovers CARE DEEPLY about animal issues and I am asking you to tell the mayor and city council this.  This is YOUR opportunity to tell them what is a priority for you.

Please TELL the mayor and city council that you want them to work hard to end the barbaric killing of 80,000+ shelter pets every year in Houston. There is a solution to end shelter killing.  But the mayor must require his city employees work hard to implement the solution comprehensively.

On the Survey, there are no choices for “ending the killing of shelter pets” under Choice A, B or C, so you will have to type it in under “Other”.

Then, please explain your choice in Box #3.   If you need help writing a statement for Box #3, I have posted my statement below that you can copy and paste and edit as you wish.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Then forward this blog to your animal loving friends and family and ask them to take the Survey as well.  We need ALL Houston animal lovers to speak for shelter pets!

My statement:

“There are 5 kill shelters located within Houston city limits: 1) BARC; 2) Houston SPCA; 3) Houston Humane Society; 4) CAP; and 5) Harris County animal control.

According to the Mayor’s Task Force report, these 5 shelters are killing approximately 80,000 pets every year. Some people believe the number is now closer to 100,000. However, there are now 200+ Open Admission shelters, serving 500+ cities and towns, who are saving 90% up to 100% of all animals entering their doors. Leadership in these shelters have comprehensively implemented a series of programs and services, called the No Kill model of sheltering which has effectively ended killing of healthy and treatable shelter pets.

I want the mayor and city council to focus on putting leadership in place at BARC who will comprehensively implement the same programs and services that have ended shelter killing around the country. BARC may be better than it was in years past, but BARC also killed more than 7,700 pets in 2015 alone. That simply is not good enough when there is a proven solution to end the killing.

Houston is a city of passionate animal lovers. We spend millions of dollars on our pets each year, and we spend millions of dollars to help homeless pets. Animal charities represent the largest growing sector of philanthropy.

If the mayor and city council made a concerted effort to end shelter killing at BARC, Houstonians would step up to help with their time and with their donations.

But, we need the mayor and city council to step up and put BARC on the right track.

As a Houston voter, who voted for Mayor Turner based on his responses to Houston Voters for Companion Animals Candidate Survey, I want him to keep his campaign promise when he said “Implementing a no-kill policy should be the ultimate goal for Houston’s animal control. As mayor, I will champion policies in pursuit of that goal” and when he said “I will work until they all have a forever home.“

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Humane organization gives award to person responsible for the deaths of ten of thousands of pets

Houston, TX – I recently ran across the below photo.  The caption congratulates “Sherry Ferguson from the Houston Humane Society who was recognized for her hard work fighting animal cruelty”. The recognition came from the Texas Humane Legislative Network (THLN).

fergusonaward3

The Houston “Humane” Society  is a facility that KILLS 89%* of all pets entering their doors, according to their last reported Save Rate.  

In other words, nearly 9 out of 10 pets that enter the Houston “Humane” Society are KILLED.  

I’ve previously written about the Houston “Humane” Society killing a beautiful little lost dog before the city mandated 3 day stray hold period expired, and in spite of the fact that a woman begged to save her.

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I’ve also written about the fact that the Houston “Humane” Society kills ALL dogs that they claim are “Pit Bulls” i.e. they kill dogs that have white fur on their necks like Bella below. 

Bella-HM

The last time that the Houston “Humane” Society was somewhat transparent with their intake and outcome numbers, they reported killing more than 15,300 pets in one year.   If the Houston Humane Society has been killing the same number of pets every year since that time, that means more than 237,000 pets have been killed by the Houston “Humane” Society, under Sherry Ferguson’s direction.

And if the Houston Humane Society has been killing the same number of pets since Sherry Ferguson was hired in 1984, they have killed more than 489,600 pets under her direction.   

Let that sink in ….. 489,600+ pets KILLED by the Houston “Humane” Society under Sherry Ferguson’s direction.  

Of course, that number could be much higher now.

For a humane organization to give an award to the person who has been responsible for that kind of mass killing of animals is truly mind boggling to me.   Even though THLN fought against the Companion Animal Protection Act (a state law that would have saved thousands, if not millions, of Texas shelter pets every year), this macabre “award” still stuns me.

I do not understand how any person, or any organization that claims to be “humane”, gets to the point where they give awards to people who have been responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of animals instead of working to protect those animals’ lives.   

Thousands, if not millions, of animal lovers were outraged when they learned that a vet killed a cat named Tiger. 

Millions of people were outraged when they learned that a dentist killed a lion named Cecil.  

Where is the outrage among animal lovers and “humane” organizations when a person kills tens of thousands of shelter pets every year for decades?  Shouldn’t we expect more from the people who are paid to care for shelter pets?   Shouldn’t we expect shelter directors to, you know, actually “shelter” pets not kill them?  

Killing is the ultimate form of animal cruelty because it is a cruelty than animals can never come back from.  They can come back from other forms of cruelty and go on to live happy lives.  We saw this with Michael Vick victims who went on to live with families after their horrendous ordeal.  But, pets cannot recover after being killed.  

So then why would a “humane” organization give an award to the person who has carried out the absolute antithesis of “fighting animal cruelty” by perpetuating the worst form of cruelty herself hundreds of thousands of times for decades?    

Let’s think of this another way:  If Child Protective Services took children from cruel or abusive situations, then turned around and killed those children, would we congratulate them? Would we call that being rescued?  Would anyone claim that CPS had worked to fight against cruelty to those children?  Would any other child-protective organization give those killers an award for “fighting cruelty to children”?   Of course not.  

The animals have no voice.   We have to be their voice.   We must stand up for what is right, and we must fight against what is wrong.  We must have the strength of character to stand up to “friends” and “humane” organizations and say “Killing pets when there are life saving alternatives is wrong and it must end.”***   

We must protect shelter pets with our voices by constantly demanding better from shelter leadership.  And we must protect pets with our wallets by not funding kill shelters, or their defenders.

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***

*According to the Mayor’s Task Force report. I have asked the Houston “Humane” Society to voluntarily provide their current intake and outcome numbers, but they refuse.  I have to assume that their kill rates are currently just as high, or higher now.  If their kill rates had dropped, I have to assume that they would gladly provide information to show their improvement.

** The Houston “Humane” Society is Limited Admission, meaning they can say no to intakes when they get full. 

***The solution to end shelter killing has been know for more than 15 years.  It is working in 200+ Open Admission shelters, serving 500+ cities and towns.  It works everywhere when shelter leadership comprehensively implements it. 

Houston Humane Society; not humane after all

*This is a reprint of my article that appeared on Examiner.com.   Examiner.com has shut down its website, and articles are no longer accessible, so I am moving my articles to my blog site here. 

(Originally printed December 8, 2011)  Houston, TX-  I recently received a disturbing from a heartbroken woman. I’m printing her email below exactly as she wrote it (except for removing a rescue group’s name) because it so clearly illustrates the serious issues plaguing so called “shelters” that are costing thousands of animals their lives.

“I made a terrible horrible mistake. I found a beautiful black and tan healthy Cocker Spaniel mix with a red collar no tags on an extremely busy road very close to the Humane Society. Stupidly I thought the best way for her to be found by her owners was to take her to the HUMANE Society. I told them I would be back to get her with the group I foster with (___) on day 3 which I was told she would be evaluated. I have 5 dogs, 2 which are fosters. I was not prepared to take her home. It takes some time to get these things worked out. So, when I called today I was told I would have to adopt. I said I was pulling her through a rescue and we could handle any treatments and neutering. She said they wouldn’t do that. I asked if she was still there. Did her owners come and find her? She said couldn’t give out that info. I said I am trying to help this dog what is your problem. Isn’t this the HUMANE Society? She said you signed a contract. She said this about 5 times. After about 15 minutes of this crap, she finally told me they had already euthanized her. This dog was sweet and fat and beautiful and obviously someone’s dog. When I took her through the clinic part 4 people said how cute she was. They did not even give her 2.5 days. Even BARC gives them 3 full days and allows rescue groups to take the dogs. They were not interested at all in me trying to come and get her. In fact, she pretty much discouraged me trying to help this dog in any way. This is just so wrong. I am sick that I did this. Please write about this in your news paper. I thought i was helping this dog to reunite with her people and I killed her. Never in a million years would I have thought they would euthanize this dog. Jennifer __”

bellakilledbyhhs

Jennifer is a kind hearted person who tried to help Bella*, a little lost dog that she found on the side of a busy street*.  Jennifer did what most people think is the best thing to do when they find a lost or stray pet…. she took Bella to an animal shelter. After all, animal shelters are supposed to be just that… shelters. They are supposed to be a place of refuge and safe havens where shelter workers work hard to make sure that lost animals find their way back home and homeless pets find new homes.

And Jennifer did more than the average person who finds a lost or homeless pet. She didn’t just drop Bella off and expect the shelter to do all of the work. No, she told the Houston Humane Society (HHS) that if Bella’s owner did not find her during the 3 day hold period, she would pull Bella from the shelter, through a rescue group, and foster her in her own home while she tried to find Bella’s owner herself. Jennifer talked at length with a HHS employee regarding the exact date and time that Bella’s 3 day hold would expire. The only thing that the Houston Humane Society had to do was hold Bella for 72 hours and hope that her family thought of looking for her there.

Jennifer took Bella to the Houston Humane Society on November 1 at 10:00 am. She was told that Bella’s 3 day hold period would expire on November 4 at 10:00 am. But, when Jennifer called HHS on November 3 at 3:00 pm to make arrangements to pick up Bella the following day, she was horrified to discover that the Houston Humane Society had already killed her. How long did the HHS wait before they killed Bella? Did they kill her the same day, as soon as Jennifer left the building? We don’t know exactly when the Houston Humane Society killed Bella because they consistently refuse to be honest with the public and release their intake and outcome records. However, we do know that Houston Humane Society killed Bella before Jennifer called to check on her, which was within 53 hours, or barely over 2 days.

Now a little dog, who was obviously someone’s loved lost pet, is dead and Jennifer blames herself for taking her to this “shelter”. But it is not Jennifer’s fault that Bella was killed. Jennifer, and thousands of other people, have been told that shelters are doing everything that they can to save animals. People believe that everyone who works at an animal shelter works hard to save their lives. They believe the “shelters’” claims that they do not want to kill animals, but they have no choice because the so called “irresponsible public” forces them to kill animals. Many people are not aware that some “shelters” are hiding hideously dark and nefarious secrets.

Of course, “shelters” like the Houston Humane Society do not tell the public or donors that they are actually little more than assembly lines of death, killing thousands of healthy and treatable, adoptable and even owned pets, even when alternatives are standing right in front of them. And unfortunately, it took the Houston Humane Society’s killing of an innocent little lost dog, to make Jennifer painfully aware of the reality of what is really going on at the Houston Humane Society.

It is despicable and immoral that a self-proclaimed “animal shelter” and “humane society” would kill an obviously owned, healthy pet within 53 hours, especially when a rescuer was begging to save her. Bella’s owner is probably still searching for her believing that she might one day return home. Bella’s family will probably never know that she even entered Houston Humane Society because Houston Humane Society could not be bothered to care for Bella long enough for her owner’s to find her. HHS could not be bothered to even offer Bella for adoption. And Houston Humane Society could not be bothered to try to find a foster home or rescue group to take Bella instead of killing her.

To make matters worse, Houston Humane Society didn’t even have to lift a finger to find a foster home because a rescue group had already offered to save Bella. But the Houston Humane Society couldn’t be bothered to hold her for the full 3 day hold period.

Houston Humane Society couldn’t even be bothered to call Jennifer and tell her that they planned to kill Bella before her 3 day hold expired to give Jennifer a chance to pick up Bella earlier. No, the Houston Humane Society killed Bella even when alternatives were beating down their door begging to save her life. How many thousands of animals have suffered the same fate as Bella at this so called “shelter”?

The above is not the definition of an animal shelter. This is a revolving door of death where thousands of animals go in, but only ELEVEN PERCENT of them make it out alive. **

And to add insult to injury, Houston Humane Society charged Jennifer $20 to leave Bella there. (Reminder: Jennifer was a Good Samaritan just trying to help another person’s lost pet.) In addition, when Jennifer called back to make arrangements to pull Bella through a rescue group, Houston Humane Society told her that she would have to adopt Bella in order to get her out of Houston Humane Society alive (this was before she discovered that Houston Humane Society had already killed Bella).

According to the Houston Humane Society’s website, their adoption fees for dogs range from $90 to $200. This means that, in addition to the $20 that Jennifer paid to leave a lost dog at a “shelter”, she would also be required to pay another $95 – $200 for the “privilege” of rescuing that same dog 3 days later from a “shelter” that is killing 89% of all animals entering their doors.

In addition, according to the citizen reviews on the websites here and here, it appears that Houston Humane Society does an incredibly horrible job at encouraging adoptions and has atrocious customer service, both of which are significantly important factors in getting animals out of shelters alive. In fact, after reading these reviews, it appears that most of their rules or procedures are geared towards making sure that animals never leave Houston Humane Society alive.  It is no wonder that only 11% of animals make it out of the Houston Humane Society alive.

In addition to the above issues, “According to Texas statutes, shelters like the Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA, Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) or any other mom and pop shelter, do not have the legal right to impound animals, without a contract with a local government.” said Zandra Anderson, Houston trial attorney and founder of the Texas Dog Commission. The Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA and CAP do not have government contracts for animal control duties in Houston. In fact, the city of Houston and Harris County both operate their own animal control facilities. (I also recently sent a public information request to the city of Houston asking for all contracts with Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA and CAP. The city of Houston reported that there are none.)

The above means that the only animals that the Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA and CAP have the legal authority to admit to their “shelters” are those relinquished by their owners. Admitting strays and lost pets, whether from a citizen who drops them off or whether the “shelters” pick up strays themselves, is impounding animals and they do not have the legal right to impound animals. So these facilities are breaking the law every time that they take in any animal, other than an owner relinquished pet.

The above is true regardless of whether the “shelter” forces a citizen sign a bogus “contract” such as the contract that Jennifer was forced to sign in order to leave Bella at the HHS. Anderson states that “Someone who finds an animal at large, a stray, is not the legal owner of that animal so does not have any ownership rights to convey to a private shelter. Any document that a finder of a stray animal signs purporting to extinguish ownership rights or to convey them, is worthless since this person has no rights to transfer or give up.”

I previously wrote an article asking what right these so called “shelters” have to kill animals. Texas has anti-cruelty laws prohibiting people from killing companion animals, but if some people get together and proclaim themselves a “shelter”, they suddenly have the right to kill companion animals any time that they choose? Obviously, laws in Texas that would actually protect animals from being killed by “shelters”, when alternatives exist, are non-existent. Every heartbreaking story like Jennifer’s that I hear, and I hear a lot of them, makes it abundantly clear that animals desperately need legal protections from the very institutions that proclaim themselves shelters or “humane” societies.

The Companion Animal Protection (CAPA) would provide such protections for shelter animals. CAPAwas filed in the Texas state legislature earlier this year. It was supported by animal lovers and rescuers because of stories like Jennifer’s, and equally repulsive stories, that are coming out of kill shelters far too often. It should come as no surprise to learn that Sherry Ferguson, the director of the Houston Humane Society, opposed Texas CAPA. After all, if Texas had shelter reform laws like CAPA, then Ferguson could not kill thousands of pets each year behind closed doors and in secret. Just like any other business which has the power over life and death, Ferguson would be required by law to be transparent with the public. But Ferguson does not want that.

If Texas CAPA had passed, Ferguson could no longer kill a pet after only 53 hours. She would be required by law to hold a pet longer to give the owner a fighting chance of finding and reclaiming his or her lost pet. But Ferguson does not want that.

If Texas CAPA had passed, Ferguson could no longer kill a pet when a qualified rescue group offered to save that pet, as in Bella’s case. But Ferguson does not want that.

If Texas CAPA had passed, Ferguson could no longer kill animals for arbitrary reasons such as color, breed or age. But Ferguson does not want that. No, she wants to continue to kill all Pit Bulls, or Pit mixes, that enter the Houston Humane Society’s doors, instead of adopting them out.

If Texas CAPA had passed, Ferguson would have to stop blaming the public for the fact that the Houston Humane Society, under her direction, kills 89% of all animals entering their doors and has done so for decades. Ferguson would have to face the fact that the Houston Humane Society does very little to save lives, and in fact hampers the life saving efforts of the community. But Ferguson does not want that.

If Texas CAPA had passed, more people might discover that the Houston Humane Society is not really humane after all, and Ferguson does not want that.

*We don’t know this dog’s real name since she was killed by Houston Humane Society before her owners could be found, but I’m going to call her Bella for this article. (See more pictures of her in the Slideshow posted on this article. If you, or anyone you know, has lost a dog fitting “Bella’s” description, in the Almeda Genoa area, please contact me.

**According the 2005 Mayor’s Task Force Report. This was the last time that the Houston Humane Society was transparent with the public. At that time, they were killing 89% of all animals entering their doors. They were even killing animals from other cities and counties FOR A FEE. That’s right, the Houston Humane Society was taking money to kill animals for others. They may still being doing this today. We don’t know if they still are because they currently refuse to be transparent with the public and produce their intake and outcome records.

***Earlier this year, the HHS told Texas state representative, Jessica Farrar that they were designing their own reports and didn’t want it to conflict with state laws. They “said” that this was the reason that they were opposed to Texas CAPA. I’ve looked at their website, and 8 months after their statement, they have yet to post any intake and outcome reports on their website. They continue to hide the number of animals that they are saving or killing from the community. So much for honesty, even when they are talking to a Texas state representative.

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No Kill Houston’s 2017 photo contest-fund raiser

No Kill Houston is excited to announce that their 3rd annual photo contest/fundraiser has begun!  We all love to show off our favorite photos of our pets. We keep them on our phones and share them on social media.

Now you can enter your pet(s)’ photo into our photo contest so the whole world can see just how adorable your pet is!

The top Fan Favorite, who receives the most votes, will win the coveted Calendar Cover spot and will be a featured Pin Up model on one month inside the calendar, along with the pet’s name, guardian’s name and a short story about how your pet became a part of your family. (See our 2016 Cover Model, Honey’s, photos and story below for examples.)

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Calendar Cover

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February’s photo

The next 11 Fan Favorites will be a Pin Up model showcased on each of the remaining 11 months. One winner per month. The pet’s name, guardian’s name and a short story about how your pet became a part of your family will featured with each pet.

All top 12 Fan Favorites will receive a free 2017 calendar! (First place receives 2 calendars).

CLICK HERE to enter your photos into the contest.  Then ask all of your friends and family to VOTE for your pet. 

Each contest submission and vote is a donation that helps support No Kill Houston, a 501(c)(3).

Will Houston shelters join the rest of the nation and stop killing for Just One Day?

JODL

Houston, TX – Just One Day is a national event in which organizers ask animal shelters across the country to stop killing on June 11 of every year.  Thousands of groups, across the nation, take part. And the results have been dramatic.  One shelter with high rates of killing stayed open for 11 hours.  Roughly 100 animals found homes, one every seven minutes the shelter was open, its most successful adoption day ever.

Another shelter opened on a day it was normally closed and placed 231 animals as a result. In still another, the director of animal control who once said that he would not hesitate to kill every community cat in the world, reported that, “The parking lot has been full since 10:00 this morning, it continues to be full. I’ve never seen so many people come out here all at one time, in one day.”

In an Arizona animal control shelter, 88 out of 100 dogs and 28 out of 30 cats were adopted by 11 am. In another community, they ran out of animals.

Yet another reported staff crying….. because they had never seen so many animals going out the front door in the loving arms of families.

For many of these shelters, it was a watershed moment. Not just because animals who would have normally been killed were saved, but because of the valuable lessons hundreds of traditional shelters across the country learned.  

One of the primary goals of the Just One Day campaign is to not only save animals through adoption on June 11, it is to get shelters resistant to the principles of the No Kill model of sheltering — of marketing animals, of asking the public for help, of being open for adoptions at times that are more convenient for the working public and families, of using the media to save lives and of partnering with rescue groups — to commit to trying these ways of operating.

JODMap

So far, 95 shelters in Texas, such as Friends For Life Animal Rescue and Adoption Organization – Houston have made the pledge.

Open Admission facilities such as Houston’s animal control facility, BARC, Pearland Pets – Animal Servicesand League City Animal Shelter have taken the pledge.

However, Limited Admission facilities such as Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society and Citizens for Animal Protection have NOT pledged to stop killing shelter pets for JUST ONE DAY.  

I have to ask why not? Shouldn’t the animal loving public and donors EXPECT them to join the nation and work to stop killing shelter pets?

Will you ask them to take the pledge?

They can take the pledge here:http://bit.ly/1sw5aq0

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Please Stop Serving the Kool-Aid

Re-printed with permission by Paw4Change

I genuinely do not seek out conflict. I am not one of those people who thrives on crisis and seeks to create drama. I know that my belief system causes me to be in conflict with others. I understand that is unavoidable. You cannot be vocal about your beliefs in the midst of people who do not agree and expect that we will all just get along without a degree of friction.

I’ve been in conflict with volunteers at high kill animal shelters for a very long time. A lot of people think I’m intolerant and I’m perfectly fine with that because I am intolerant when it comes to having my tax dollars and donations used to kill healthy and treatable animals. Although people from outside animal welfare circles may presume that we all stand for the same thing, that we all champion the cause of saving lives, that is not always the case.  As was said by one of my mentors during a radio interview last November.  No.  We cannot hug it out and just all get along.  We are two separate factions of people and we often share little in common in terms of what we value.

If you are a volunteer at an animal shelter that routinely and systematically destroys healthy and treatable pets, I will applaud you for your efforts to help animals based on a few conditions. I want you to educate yourself on programs being used across the country to save shelter pets. I want you to question why it is that the shelter in which you volunteer destroys animals when other places across the country are saving animals.  I want you to voice your protests over the destruction of animals which could and should be saved.  I want you to speak loudly and with a sense of urgency when you know that animals in the shelter have veterinary care delayed or denied, get sick due to lack of vaccinations and proper cleaning protocols or are allowed to kill each other because they were not properly housed or supervised.  I consider those acts to be criminal in nature because they amount to neglect and cruelty even if they take place inside a public building.  If you think you can do good from working inside the shelter, by all means continue to do so.

If you are a volunteer at an animal shelter that routinely and systematically destroys healthy and treatable pets and you remain silent, go along to get along or, worse yet, you defend the killing of healthy and treatable animals, you are an enabler. You are helping to perpetuate the destruction of the very animals you say you want to help. You may tell yourself that you are doing good because you are helping to care for animals in their last hours, as if their death is some foregone conclusion. That may be the case for animals which are suffering or which are so sick that they simply cannot be saved. But do not sugar coat your volunteerism and make it seem like you are rendering compassion and love to a healthy and treatable animal which is about to be destroyed for no good reason at all. And believe me, there is no good reason for that animal to be destroyed in spite of what you may have been told.

I have heard volunteers say that people who advocate for animals outside of the shelter are not “in the trenches,” do not see what they see and are part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.  But, here’s the thing. I am working to save the lives of animals by resolving systemic issues.  I would no more set foot in a high kill shelter than I would help hunt coyotes or work in a stockyard. I do not need to be in the shelter to know that what takes place there is wrong.  I know I cannot be there because then I, too, would be complicit in the killing.

And to those volunteers who think it is appropriate to defend killing savable shelter pets, I say this: you are not only part of the problem but you are actively working to prevent the solution.

 

It has been said that some in the sheltering industry have “drunk the Kool-Aid.” That they are so close to the destruction of animals that they simply cannot see any other way to think or function.  That they believe that animals simply must die and that they are performing some morbid public service.  If you volunteer in a shelter, please.  Focus on helping animals and advocating for them from inside the system.  

Just don’t serve the Kool-Aid.

Animal shelter

Read more on this topic here:  Can’t We All Get Along, by Nathan Winograd

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One Step Forward….

Houston, TX – I recently wrote a blog regarding Bella, a dog that the Houston “Humane” Society claimed should be killed because of the way she looked i.e. she had white fur on her neck so she must be a Pit Bull (click here to read the blog).  

Bella-HM

Bella, in her new home

While posting the blog on Facebook, I wrote that 3 “shelters” within Houston’s city limits refused to adopt dogs that someone claimed was a Pit Bull or Pit mix* meaning all of those dogs were automatically killed if a rescue group could not pull them to safety i.e. Houston SPCA, Houston “Humane” Society and Harris County Animal Control.  

But, that list has recently changed.  Harris County Animal Control confirmed that there Harris County Commissioners voted to end the breed discrimination at that facility meaning they now adopt out “Pit Bull” type dogs, along with other friendly dogs. 

This is good news!    

Yes, Harris County AC still appears to be a high kill facility, but at least all dogs will now get a shot at adoption.  And in fact, someone commented on my Facebook page that she had just adopted a dog from Harris County AC that had been labeled a Pit Bull.

So, this is one step forward for Harris County Animal Control and for Pit Bull type dogs entering that facility. 

Now both Houston’s city pound and Harris County’s pound adopt out Pit Bull type dogs, but tragically two of Houston’s Limited Admission “shelters” i.e Houston SPCA and Houston Humane Society remain in the dark ages of “catch and kill sheltering” still refuse to adopt out any dog that one of their employees claims is a Pit Bull or mix, meaning those dogs are killed . **

Riley

Riley, a dog that the Houston SPCA said is a Pit Bull mix and should be killed

I congratulate the 2 pounds for being more progressive than the Houston SPCA and Houston “Humane” Society on this issue.  

I also ask people to consider which practices better represent your values as an animal lover.  We should support only the facilities which represent our values, and continue to demand only the best practices known when it comes to sheltering our homeless pets.

Petie

Petie, the “Pit Bull” with The Little Rascals

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*”‘Pit Bull’ is not a breed of dog.  It is, according to a leading advocacy organization, “a catch-all term used to describe a continually expanding incoherent group of dogs, including pure-bred dogs and mixed-breed dogs. A ‘Pit Bull’ is any dog an animal control officer, shelter worker, dog trainer, politician, dog owner, police officer, newspaper reporter or anyone else says is a ‘Pit Bull.’”

** Studies show that shelter workers mis-identify dog breeds up to 87% of the time. 

 

 

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.
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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.     

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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.     

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Revisionist History

Houston, TX – The Houston Chronicle recently published an article talking about Annise Parker’s “legacy” after 6 years as Houston’s mayor.  The article was filled with a lot of “inaccurate” statements, especially concerning BARC.

If we are going to talk about legacies, it is important that we look at actual history.  And since it appears some people have conveniently forgotten what has taken place in the last 6 years, I’d like to recap.  

First, Parker claims in the article that she loves animals.  Really?  This is the person who admitted to trapping feral cats and taking them to BARC at a time when BARC killed ALL feral cats (or any cat that BARC claimed was feral even if he/she was just scared).   When Parker trapped the cats, she knew that BARC killed all feral cats, because she was part of the 2005 Mayor’s Task Force report which reported on BARC and Houston’s other kill shelters.  Yet, Parker took those cats to their deaths anyway.   

What kind of “animal lover” does that?

gattoSecond, the article claims that Parker started BARC’s “transformation”.  Actually, BARC’s “transformation”, if you want to call it that, began in Bill White’s last term in 2009.  After many, many demands from animal lovers, Bill White hired the “change agent” who fired 75+ truly horrendous, animal abusing, employees at BARC.   At the same time, citizens demanded that the city hire international, No Kill expert, Nathan Winograd to assess BARC.   After the public donated the money to hire Winograd, he wrote a nearly 200 page, assessment, telling the City and BARC how they could stop killing healthy and treatable pets.    

All of this took place before Parker even took office.  

So, the day Parker took office as Mayor, BARC was perfectly poised to stop killing shelter pets.   They had better employees, and a step by step guide showing them exactly how to do it.   But, Parker did not require her employees to actually implement what Winograd recommended.  

Therefore, BARC kept killing huge numbers of animals every year:   

At least 15,088 killed in 2010;  

13,060 killed in 2011;

14,530 killed in 2012;

12,596 killed in 2013; and

10,050 killed in 2014.   

That is 65,324 pets killed, or who died in BARC’s “care”, during Parker’s first 5 years in office.  (Of course, the total number killed during her entire 6 years in office is much higher with 2015’s numbers that I don’t have yet).   

In fact, BARC’s Kill Rate INCREASED every year for the first 3 years that Parker was in office.   

And all this happened after she promised voters to do “everything in her power” to transform Houston to a No Kill city.  If Parker had kept her promises, and if she had actually required that her employees rigorously implement all of Nathan Winograd’s 2009 recommendations, BARC would, no doubt, be a No Kill facility by now.  But, she didn’t.    Instead, she left the same management in place, year after failed year, doing the same failed jobs over and over…. and the results were disastrous.  
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Parker waited 5 years and 11 months to even require that her employess save at least 90% of BARC pets for just 1 month.   A nice little PR stunt, but what kind of “legacy” is that?

More kill shelter lies

Parker also kept Greg Damianoff in charge over BARC year after year, even though he totally failed to even try to end shelter killing.  He does not even work at BARC full time.   He shows up once a day for an hour and goes back to city hall.  You cannot turn around a facility like BARC by not even working there all day.  But, Damianoff and Parker were not trying to end shelter killing. 

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And let’s not forget that Damianoff, and the Houston Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, that Parker appointed, made a deal with HFD to allow them to EXPERIMENT on BARC cats.  

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And Damianoff  is the person who allow(ed) his employees to violate city ordinances and kill pets before the city mandated 3 day stray hold period expired.   

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In addition, over the years, I have received numerous emails from people saying that they offered to foster pets that were at risk of being killed by BARC, but they were turned down. BARC management i.e. Damianoff, chose to kill those pets even though people offered to save them. Click here and here.     

Another great “legacy”.  Not.

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Many people will never go to BARC to adopt.  1) Because of the horrible location and inconvenient hours — Houston is 600 square miles and it simply is not convenient for a lot of Houstonians to go there;  2) People know that BARC is a kill shelter and they simply cannot stand to go and stare into the faces of animals that they know will be killed.   

That is why offsite adoptions are CRITICAL to ending shelter killing. Parker knows this.  BARC management knows this.  Nathan Winograd told them this in 2009.  In fact, BARC experienced how successful offsite adoptions can be in 2011. The one, very successful, offsite adoption event that BARC organized was located in a HIGH TRAFFIC, HIGHLY VISIBLE location. This event was so successful that BARC had over 400 adoptions that weekend alone.    As a comparison, BARC had only 343 adoptions during the entire previous MONTH.) 

So, considering how many lives were saved at this successful offsite adoption event, logic would dictate that BARC leadership would organize many more just like it.  But, logic does not come into play when BARC leadership makes decisions.  That event took place in July 2011, and I have yet to see a similar event.    

Another failure on the part of BARC management and Parker who left him in charge for 6 years.

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And who can forget Keiko, the horribly injured dog that entered BARC in 2010.  She had serious head/eye injuries that so obviously needed specialized care, that BARC  was not equipped to handle.  (At the time, BARC was doing x-rays in a closet and had no specialized equipment for anything other than spay/neuters). Rescuers raised thousands of dollars to have Keiko cared for by a specialist, but BARC management refused to release Keiko to rescuers.   BARC and ARA Dept employees lied many times about the state of Keiko in order to keep her there.   This was not done in Keiko’s best interests.  This was all done as a PR stunt.  Despite not having adequate diagnostic or operating room equipment, BARC choose to operate on that poor dog.  Not surprisingly Keiko died.    

Big, fat, horrendous failure/legacy.

No Excuse Sad Embarrassed Person Isolated from Group

Under Parker and the ARA Dept, BARC illegally banned volunteers because those volunteers spoke up about problems at BARC. The last ARA Dept Director also threatened to ban volunteers who were trying to network and save death row pets, because he didn’t like words like “last chance” posted on the volunteers’ own Facebook page.  

And BARC ticketed rescuers who spent their last dime trying to save homeless animals. 

And BARC killed animals even when alternatives were literally standing right in front of them.

And Parker claims to have done a good job at BARC just because she took some pictures with BARC pets?  She does not mention that she did not bother to require her employees to actually market those pictures to the adopting public.  Personally, I have never once seen them marketed publically in a place where a large number of potential adopters would actually see them.  The only time I’ve seen the pictures is when I have been searching the city’s website or when they rarely turn up in one of my Google searches. But how many other people are doing this?   Very, very few from the results…

What Parker conveniently did not mention is that many of those same pets ended up on death row at BARC.  RESCUERS then saved those pets.  Not Parker. 

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And let’s talk about that white elephant, multi-million dollar, “shelter” that she built with our tax dollars.   She did not decide to buy some land “right after she took office” as she claimed in the article.   Bill White had already designated a horrible piece of property off of Wayside for more kennel space.   There were many problems with that property.  1) it was on the same property as a sewage treatment facility;   2) it was in a flood plain; 3) endangered birds were nesting in the trees there; 4) the neighborhood is in a zip code where BARC picks up the most strays i.e. that location is not conducive to high volume adoptions when there are so many strays already there.  

People from that neighborhood told me that they met with Parker and asked her to build the facility somewhere else, but she told them that she couldn’t.  She told them it was a done deal.  But, miraculously after thousands of people complained and no one wanted to donate to build in that foolish location, THEN Parker decided to build kennel space right next to BARC’s old facility.    This did not occur “right after she took office” and it was not of her own volition. 

And, let’s remember that when she was trying to sell people on donating to build that sewage treatment adjacent facility on Wayside, she said that BARC’s current location DETERS adoptions.   So why did she then turn around and spent millions of dollars to build in the exact location that she had earlier said deters adoptions?  More revisionist history at work.

BARC’s current location does deter adoptions.  So, building more kennel space/an adoption facility there is a waste of tax dollars and donor dollars because few people will go there to adopt.  That means fewer adoptions, so more animals losing their lives as well as fewer adoption fees (i.e. smaller return on that investment).  And it means higher costs (it costs MORE to kill animals than to save them).   That facility will waste money and hamper life saving efforts for decades to come.  Thanks for that “legacy”.

Burning dollar

And it gets worse, if you can believe it.  After the white elephant was built, BARC/city of Houston can’t even use it fully because Parker failed to budget money to actually pay employees to work there.  Dogs are taken to the new facility during the day, but have to be taken back to the old facility at night, if they aren’t adopted.   This means BARC has to leave the kennels in the old building open, in case the dog has to come back. 

And cats were completely forgotten during any plans.  They aren’t housed in the new facility at all.

Parker spent $12 million on a facility and it essentially added NO additional kennel space.  Not only that, but before that thing was built, she said it would cost $12 million to build.  That $12 million is gone and in the last report that I saw, she said it will cost another $20 million to finish.   How can anyone be off by $20 MILLION dollars? 

So let’s recap:  tax payers and donors are supposed to spend $32 million to build more kennels in a horrible location that DETERS adoptions and adds that no new kennel space.

Awesome “legacy”.

In addition, in 2009 Bill White set aside millions of dollars that were supposed to be spent to renovate the horrendous North Kennels.  Click here to see pictures of the nightmarish, dungeon-like, North Kennels. Architects were paid hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to come up with plans yet, 6+ years later, those kennels still have never been renovated.  What did Parker do with all of those millions that were dedicated to BARC?   

도둑

And let’s talk about BARC’s recent claimed 80%+ Save Rate.  I’ve caught BARC/COH lying about their Save Rates at least a ½ dozen times over the 6 years of Parker’s terms. Here is must one instance.   So, I absolutely do not believe their claims now.  BARC management uses a lot of “fuzzy math” to come up with their Save Rates. 

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In addition, a new “program” that BARC recently started includes dumping friendly cats in BARC’s parking lot.   This is a perversion of a program that was created to save more cats’ lives at kill shelters i.e. the shelters are supposed to spay/neuter friendly, healthy, adult, free roaming (non-feral) cats and return them to the location where they were picked up.  If the cats look healthy/well fed, they are most likely someone’s pet and will find their way back home.  If not owned, the cats are obviously finding food somewhere in the area and should be returned. 

But, BARC does not return the cats to the location where they were picked up.   BARC is dumping them in their parking lot.  Two cats were attacked and killed by dogs a few months ago in BARC’s parking lot.  I believe that these were most likely indoor only cats that didn’t know to be afraid of dogs and didn’t know how to survive “in the wild”.

And an email was recently forwarded to me about a group cats that were friendly, perhaps indoor only cats, that had been up for adoption at BARC. But the BARC employee said the cats were “out of time”, and they were going to “ear notch” them and release them.   If they are released in BARC’s parking these cats would never find their way home, nor would their owners ever them.  I supposed this is better than killing them, but it is not a good solution for these cats and this is not how this program is supposed to work.  If BARC had leadership that actually cared about saving lives, this program would never be perverted in this manner.

This is just a way to count “Saves” instead of “Kills” so Parker could claim that 94% Save Rate last November.  They are risking cats’ lives just to make a better Save Rate claim to the media. 

KittensatBARCIn addition, BARC/COH is paying a group literally millions of dollars to ship animals other communities.  The problem is that those communities also have kill shelters. This means that even if those BARC pets are going to No Kill rescue groups in those communities, pets on death row there will not be saved because the rescue groups are full with BARC pets. 

Causing the death of pets in another communities is not a “Save”. It is just transferring the killing somewhere else to make BARC “look” better.  It is trading one life for another.  This is not a solution.

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Further, a 94% Save Rate is not “unheard of” in a big city as Parker claimed.  Animal control in Austin and Williamson County, both very large communities, have been saving over 90% for years now.   And, there are hundreds of Open Admission animal control facilities doing the same all over the country and have been for 15 years.  Click here for a list of those communities.  

There were Open Admission, No Kill facilities when Parker took office.  In fact, the number of Open Admission, No Kill communities increased from about 5 to hundreds after Parker took office.  The only thing she had to do was require that BARC management copy their successes. But, she didn’t. For six long deadly years, she didn’t.  And BARC is still killing thousands of pets. 

Yea, that is quite a “legacy”.

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And Parker did absolutely nothing to try to end shelter killing in the other four kill shelters that are located in Houston’s city limits either.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  In fact, she did the exact opposite.   She fought others’ efforts to end shelter killing… 


In 2011, No Kill Houston got the Companion Animal Protection Act filed at the state level.  This was lifesaving legislation that would have done the following across the state of Texas: 

1) abolish the gas chamber;

2) abolish “heart sticks” as a method of “euthanasia” except under certain specific circumstances;

3) ban “convenience killing” (killing when there are empty cages);

4) mandate collaboration by requiring shelters to work with non-profit rescue organizations to maximize lifesaving;

5) mandate transparency by requiring shelters to report how many animals they kill;.

6) ban the killing of animals based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age or color;

7) prohibit selling shelter animals to research labs;

8) protect feral cats and feral cat caretakers; and more….

Yet Parker opposed the bill.  

And true to form, BARC management fought life saving, shelter reform legislation again in 2013.  Click here and here

Parker’s opposition against state wide, shelter reform legislation is worse than her failure to act.   She actively fought against those life saving efforts.

That is nothing short of an atrocity.

Animal shelter

And during Parker’s terms, BARC and the other kill shelters in Houston, killed tens of thousands more pets than all of the cities with larger human population. When it comes to animal shelters, Houston is literally the Biggest Loser.

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Here are some more of Parker’s promises to animal  lovers the first time she ran for office.   She has totally failed to do most of what she promised voters.  

Considering the above, I’d say that the word “legacy” is accurate only if we use the dictionary definition which is associated with something that is outdated or discontinuedand perhaps if we add the description complete and utter failure“.   

Parker’s legacy does not include an attempt to push Houston into the 21st century of sheltering.  She did little to nothing to “transform” BARC and she allowed it stay in the dark ages of catch and kill sheltering for 6 long years. And she made irresponsible and wasteful use of taxpayer and donor dollars to build a facility that has not, and will not, measurably increase life saving vs. had it been built in an intelligent location.

That is Parker’s legacy.  And it is a “legacy” that Houstonians will be stuck with for decades.

dirty toilet with money close up, lot of cash uselessYou might wonder why I bothered to recap some of Parker’s failures.  After all, she is term limited out and Houston recently elected a new mayor and some new city council members.

The reasons are:

1) It is important to remember history accurately.  Revising history to suit one person’s agenda, does nothing to help the rest of us in the future.  

2) Like Bill White, Parker may run for another office.  The Chronicle article stated that she was considering running for Harris County Commissioner or County Judge.  We need to remember the true history of Parker’s 3 terms so we can make wise decisions at the polls in the future.

I hope that Houston’s new mayor and city council members are forward thinking and will be willing to think outside the traditional sheltering “box” and that they are willing to make decisions, even the difficult decisions, that are required to move Houston into the 21st century.  

change management

If they are, then Houston will truly have a legacy that is worth boasting about.

best friends

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