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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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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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.

 

*”‘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. 

 

 

Tell your candidates that you care about animal issues

Houston, TX – The elections for Harris County candidates are this November.  Early voting starts in just a few weeks.  Do you know the positions of the candidates on animal issues?

If you vote for a candidate, will he or she then work to protect shelter pets?   

Will he/she support the No Kill model of sheltering in Harris County or will they simply allow the House of Horrors that is Harris County animal control to continue indefinitely? 

Do the candidates know that this issue matters to you, the voter? 

It is critical that we have elected officials who will work to fix the broken animal control system in Harris County.  As I have written previously, last February, the Harris County attorney’s office completed its investigation of Harris County animal control. Our tax dollars paid  for 11 employees to work on the investigation for 8 months.  The investigation confirmed what former employees, volunteers and rescue groups had alleged… that Harris County employees, under Dawn Blackmar’s direction, had been breaking Texas humane laws for years.  It confirmed that the employees consistently carried out very inhumane acts against the defenseless animals who were unfortunate enough to enter this facility.

The County Attorney’s report also confirmed that Harris County animal control had a horrific 83% KILL rate in 2011.  Yet, after confirming all of the above atrocities, Harris County officials have taken absolutely no action whatsoever.  None. There has been no attempt to discipline employees who broke the law and who tortured animals on the job, and there have been no changes that would increase the miniscule save rate.   

It is time for this House of Horrors to be reformed, but, it is clear that Harris County employees and elected officials will not do what is necessary to accomplish this.  The only way that positive changes will be made at this facility will be for us to elect candidates who will do it.  Harris County needs leaders who actually care about this issue and who will not continue to sweep it under the rug.    And, we need the candidates to know that voters care about this issue. 

That is where you come in.

It is imperative that all of the candidates hear from you about this issue.   It is critical that they know that voters are outraged about the House of Horrors in Harris County and that you want to know what they will do about it, if you vote for them in the upcoming election.

Right now, it appears that a lot of the candidates do not believe that voters care about animal issues as most of them are not paying attention to it.  No Kill Texas Advocates sent Candidate Questionnaires to all of the candidates several months ago, but Chuck Maricle is the only candidate who has responded.  See his responses here.     

In addition, over the last couple of weeks, No Kill Texas Advocates has contacted many of the candidates regarding attending a Candidate Forum (see my previous blog post) in order to answer the voters’ questions.  Yet only 2 of the candidates have indicated an interest in attending such a forum. 

Personally, the upcoming elections in Harris County are a one issue race for me.   Potholes or opening the next park are not high on my priority list.  

The main issue that I care about is which candidate(s) will work to stop the inhumane treatment, lawlessness and mass killing of pets at Harris County animal control.   

I care about knowing which candidate(s) will step up and help implement the same model of sheltering that 62 other Open Admission shelters (www.NoKillNews.com)  and animal controls have implemented to stop shelter killing, just like Austin Texas did.  

I care about knowing which candidate(s) will help drag Harris County out of the dark ages of catch and kill and help us join the 21st century where 90% or more of all shelter pets make it out alive.  

But, since some of the candidates are not responding to No Kill Texas Advocates’ request for a Candidate Forum on these issues, it is apparent that these candidates do not think that we voters care about animal issues.   

We need to prove them wrong. 

Therefore, I am asking each of you to contact the candidates and ask them about their views on Harris County animal control.  Let them know that this issue matters to you and that you will vote accordingly.   Please call the candidates and email them.   Also, post questions and comments on their Facebook pages and Tweet them, so that others will see your questions as well.  Ask your friends and family to do the same.

Let’s prove to the candidates that we voters DO care deeply about this issue 

I am providing the candidates’ contact information below.  I have even provided some sample questions, if you need help.   

Questions for the candidates:

 1) Are you aware that Harris County animal control has an 83% Kill Rate?  If you are elected, what will you do to reduce this rate?

2) Are you aware of Vince Ryan’s report confirming allegations that Harris County employees, under Dawn Blackmar’s direction, broke several state humane laws over a period of years?

3)  To date, no action has been taken regarding any of the employees who violated state laws.  Likewise, no action has been taken by the District Attorney to file criminal charges against employees who violated state laws.  What is your position regarding county employees who break the law while on the job?

4)  Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering has been successfully implemented in at least 62 Open Admission shelters/animal controls across the country and they are now saving 90% or more of all animals?

5) Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering not only saves on the cost of killing animals, but it brings in additional adoption revenue and other user fees and also provides an economic boon to local business?

6) Are you aware that Austin’s city council passed the Companion Animal Protection Act in 2010 and subsequently Austin’s Open Admission, animal control facility began saving 90% or more of all animals (their Save Rate was 93% for 2011)?

7) If elected, will you support the No Kill model of sheltering by passing the Companion Animal Protection Act in Harris County?

Here are the candidates’ contact information

Harris County Attorney – Robert Talton
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Talton-For-Harris-County-Attorney/9865667370
Email: rtalton2@att.net
Phone: 713-944-4005
Website: http://roberttaltonforcountyattorney.com/
 
Harris County District Attorney – Lloyd Wayne Oliver
Facebook: None that I can find
Email: attorneylloydoliver@yahoo.com
Phone: 713/542-1818; 281/796-7731; 713/382-8009
Website: http://lwoliverda.com/
 
Harris County District Attorney – Mike Anderson
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/VoteAnderson
Email: campaign@andersonda.com
Phone: 281-310-1201
Website: http://www.andersonda.com
 
County Commissioner Precinct 3 – Glorice McPherson
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/mglorice
Email: info@glorice4cc.com; glorice4cc@gmail.com
Phone: 281-741-7922; 281-670-8817
Website:  http://www.glorice4cc.com/

Note from No  Kill Texas Advocates:   Ms. McPherson has agreed to be part of our Candidate Forum and is open to discussing reform at Harris County animal control.  She has not responded to our Candidate Questionnaire as yet, but we hopeful that she will so that we can include her in our endorsements.
 
Ms. McPherson’s opponent, Steve Radack has not responded to our Candidate Questionnaire and thus far, has refused to be part of our Candidate Forum.
 
 
County Commissioner Precinct 4 – Sean Hammerle
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ElectHammerle
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/ElectHammerle
Email:  sean@seanhammerle.com
Phone:  832-691-0816
Website: http://www.seanhammerle.com/
 
Email addresses together to copy and paste into an emailrtalton2@att.net, attorneylloydoliver@yahoo.com, campaign@andersonda.cominfo@glorice4cc.com; glorice4cc@gmail.com, sean@seanhammerle.com
 
Note from No Kill Texas Advocates:   
We are happy to report that Chuck Maricle is the ONLY current Harris County candidate who responded to our Candidate Questionnaire.  See his responses posted here: http://www.nokilltexasadvocates.org/harris_co.html (scroll towards the bottom of the page) 
He is also 1 of only 2 candidates who agreed to be part of our Candidate Forum to discuss these important issues that matter to voters.   So far, the other candidates, including Mr. Maricle’s opponent, El Franco Lee, have NOT agreed to be part of the Candidate Forum.  In addition, Mr. Lee has not responded to our Candidate Questionnaire.

We believe that Chuck Maricle could help us make great positive changes at Harris County animal control.

Mr. Maricle has our FULL SUPPORT.

Please THANK Mr. Maricle for taking voters concerns about animal issues seriously and for supporting the reform of Harris County animal control.

County Commissioner Precinct 1Chuck Maricle

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChuckMaricle
Email:  chuck@chuckmaricle.com
Phone: 713-240-4929
Website: http://www.chuckmaricle.com/

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Below are the incumbents running for re-election in Harris County.

Sample questions for the  incumbents:

1) Why have you taken no actions toward the Harris County employees that the County Attorney confirmed broke state laws on the job?

2)  What is your position regarding county employees who break the law while on the job?

 3)  If re-elected, will you do anything differently?

 4) Are you aware that Harris County animal control has an 83% Kill Rate?  If you are re-elected, what will you do to reduce this rate?

 5) Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering has been successfully implemented in at least 70 Open Admission shelters/animal controls to date across the country and those shelters are now saving 90% or more of all animals?

 6) Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering not only saves on the cost of killing animals, but it brings in additional adoption revenue and other user fees and also provides an economic boon to local business?

 7) Are you aware that Austin’s city council passed the Companion Animal Protection Act in 2010 and subsequently Austin’s Open Admission, animal control facility began saving 90% or more of all animals (their Save Rate was 93% for 2011)?

 8) If re-elected, will you support the No Kill model of sheltering by passing the Companion Animal Protection Act?

 9) Explain to voters why we should vote for you again when you have not listened to your constituents’ wishes in the past?

 Here are the incumbents contact information

Harris County AttorneyVince Ryan
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/votevinceryan
Email: vinceryanlaw@aol.com;  vince.ryan@cao.hctx.net
Phone: 713-942-5816; 713-755-5101
Website: http://www.votevinceryan.com/
 
Harris County District Attorney – None
The incumbent, Pat Lykos, lost the primary election.
 
County Commissioner Precinct 1El Franco Lee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElFrancoLee
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/elfrancolee
Email:  info@elfrancolee.netelfranco.lee@hctx.net;  janet_duran0402@yahoo.com
Phone: 713-739-1111; 713-755-6111
Website: http://www.elfrancolee.net/
 
County Commissioner Precinct 3 – Steve Radack
Facebook: None
Email:  pct3@hctx.net
Phone: 713-465-8000; 713-755-6306
Website: None
 
County Commissioner Precinct 4 – R. Jack Cagle
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Commissioner-Jack-Cagle/290644070998400
Email:  commissionerjackcagle@gmail.com;  jyounts@hcp4.net
Phone: 713-838-8553;  713-755-6444
Website:http://www.commissionerjackcagle.com/
 
 Email addresses together to copy and paste into an email: vinceryanlaw@aol.com;  vince.ryan@cao.hctx.net,info@elfrancolee.netelfranco.lee@hctx.netjanet_duran0402@yahoo.com,pct3@hctx.net, commissionerjackcagle@gmail.com;  jyounts@hcp4.net
 

A Survey of Animal Lovers

Houston, TX – Over the past year, I have written several times regarding the horrific activities and sky high kill rates that have been a constant at Harris County animal control, under the direction of Dawn Blackmar.   After much negative news publicity and many complaints from the public, the Harris County Attorney, Vince Ryan, performed an 8 month investigation and produced a report which confirmed that the complaints were true.

The report confirmed that Harris County animal control has been breaking state humane and shelter laws for a number of years.

The report also confirmed that Harris County animal control has a shocking 83% KILL rate!

Yet, more than 6 months after the Harris CountyAttorney’s report was issued, there have been no repercussions to those employees who broke the law.  None.

The Harris County Commissioners’ Court did not fire or even reprimand the county employees.

The Harris CountyAttorneydid not fire or reprimand county employees, nor did he even recommend that they be reprimanded in his report.

The Harris County District Attorney has not filed criminal charges against those employees who have broken the law and treated animals inhumanely.

Absolutely nothing has happened.  Harris County officials are trying to sweep  it under the rug.

It is clear that the people running Harris County animal control, and the elected officials running our county, will not voluntarily make the changes necessary to stop the inhumane treatment and mass slaughter at Harris County animal control.

It is abundantly clear that, if we want changes in our shelter system, it will be up to us to force those changes.   That means making sure that Harris County has leadership dedicated to saving lives.  We have the power to accomplish this with our VOTES.

Therefore, No Kill Texas Advocates is considering organizing a Candidate Forum for the Harris County candidates who are ultimately responsible for Harris County animal control.  (The elections are in November, 2012.)

This would be an opportunity for you, a voter with the power to makes changes, to listen to the candidates and decide if they represent your values.

This would also be an opportunity for the candidates to see just how many people care about this issue and who will use their votes to make positive changes.

But, before we move forward and organize a Candidate Forum, I want to see how many people would be interested.

So, I am asking all animal lovers who are eligible to vote in Harris County to answer the below poll question.  Note:  The Candidate Forum would take place on a weekday evening after most people get off work.