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Ending euthenasia

This is a worthy project.

A local animal welfare group today will launch an ambitious effort to stop the euthanasia of dogs and cats at area shelters by the end of 2013.

Sean Hawkins, president of Saving Animals Across Borders, said Harris County could be turned into a no-kill area if advocates are able to spay and neuter 50,000 animals a year for five years.

“The shelters don’t want to be destroying healthy animals,” he said. “And we don’t need to be building more shelters to warehouse these animals. We’ve set a lofty goal.”

Last year, about 125,000 cats and dogs were taken into the Houston area’s five main shelters — the city Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control, the county animal shelter, the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Citizens for Animal Protection and the Houston Humane Society. About 80,000 of those were euthanized, Hawkins said.

About 25,000 of those animals were adopted. Owners picked up the remainder.

The goal of Saving Animals’ program, called Fix Houston, is to reduce the number of animals taken into the shelters by 50,000 a year.

To kick off the program, Savings Animals will open its first Fix Houston spay-neuter clinic, which will offer inexpensive sterilizations, near the Katy Freeway in west Harris County today. Four more clinics are to open by the end of 2008.


“What he is trying to do can be done. It’s not going to be easy. But if anybody can do it, it’s Sean Hawkins,” said Merritt Clifton, editor of the Animal People, a newspaper that covers animal protection issues. “He’s worked in a lot harder areas than Houston, such as Mexico and the Navajo reservation.”

Cindy Shaw, shelter operations coordinator at Citizens for Animal Protection, a nonprofit shelter on the Katy Freeway, said she hoped Fix Houston succeeds.

“We all want to eliminate the wholesale euthanasia that we have seen in Houston for so long. I think it is a wonderful initiative,” Shaw said.

Even if Fix Houston fails to turn the shelters into no-kill operations by 2013, it should increase the number of animal sterilizations in the area significantly, she said.

[PetSmart Charities director Susana] Della Maddalena said Fix Houston may take longer than anticipated to attain its no-kill goal, but PetSmart will be satisfied if the program makes significant gains in eight to 10 years.

About 70 percent of cats and dogs must be sterilized in a region that wants to run no-kill shelters, Clifton said. Della Maddalena put the number at 80 percent.

Among many other reasons why this is a Good Thing is it would have to save the county a bunch of money to see that big a reduction in the number of animals it handles. And even though things are a whole lot better around here than they used to be, you still want to limit the county’s involvement in animal control if possible. It’s pretty simple – the more spaying and neutering up front, the fewer animals that have to be put down later on. I wish Fix Houston all the best.

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One Comment

  1. tammy says:

    I agree 100%..I hope they succeed before their set time. I’m surely willing to do whatever it takes. However, there seems to be a problem with everyone actually pitching in, I saw a news story about a month ago where a woman somewhere in Houston was taking care of all the stray animals in her subdivision/apt. complex..feeding them AND spaying and neutering them to the point where even the managers and board decided to help with payment of this. It has lowered the amount of stray cats from hundreds to just about 80-100 (not exactly sure on specific amnt. but it was DRASTICALLY lowered)
    Of COURSE..THEN… the animal control steps in and says its against the code to go and feed the animals etc.. Basically, they are pissed off because STRAY animals mean that they are not registered with them which means no MONEY in their pockets. So, if she stops taking care of the cats, I guess in AC’s mind..they don’t exist? Or if they pick the animals up and destroy them, it will only cost THEM more money..they don’t seem to realize that quite a few people do this and it’s benefiting the WHOLE community. If you don’t have EVERYONE on board…it just wont succeed.
    On a side note, I want to mention that Animal Control workers actually walked up to EVERY window in my subdivision trying to visually count any animals in the homes..where people got some really nasty notes on their door saying that if they didn’t register them by so and so date, they would receive a hefty fine. This actually happened to my neighbor who’s father just so happen to be Dr. Ron Paul. But oddly enough, the cat disappeared and they STILL fined her $160. for not registering a cat that she USED to have.
    It’s ALL about the money with them. I’m thinking that we aught to restructure that organization as well while we are at it..the horror stories I can tell you!