Recently, approximately 300 animals were seized by various organizations in a raid at a ranch in Gatesville, TX See the story and photos here. This included approximately 250 Rottweiler adults and puppies which were then shipped over 200 miles to the Houston SPCA.
This story is disturbing on a number of levels. First, the Houston SPCA is a high kill shelter, killing 65% of all animals that enter their doors. It makes no sense to “rescue” animals from an inhumane situation and ship them to a facility that kills 65% of the animals already there.
Second, why were these animals shipped 200 miles from Gatesville to Houston? There are a number of cities/shelters that are much closer to Gatesville than Houston, including Austin which currently has an 88% SAVE rate. These dogs would certainly stand a much better chance of survival in Austin, than at any of the “kill shelters” in Houston. I question whether Austin’s shelter, or any other closer No Kill shelters, were contacted about these dogs.
Third, I question that the Houston SCPA actually has room for 250 Rottweilers—- without killing dogs already there to empty the kennels. I happened to be at the HSPCA a couple weeks ago trying to help my mother find a Rottweiler to adopt. (There were no Rottweilers there that day). While we were there, I counted only 44 kennels for larger male dogs. I’m assuming they have the same for female dogs. That’s only 88 kennels for larger dogs and they were already full. Were there 200+ extra kennels sitting empty just waiting for these Rottweilers? Seems highly unlikely.
Fourth, the HSPCA has become infamous for performing questionable “raids” that ultimately result in the deaths of many animals either from mishandling, improper housing or food at the HSPCA or the Houston SPCA kills all of the animals themselves.
In addition, former employees have witnessed the tragic results of other raids in which the HSPCA confiscated animals. They have seen that when other animals test positive heartworms or have skin conditions, the HSPCA kills them. They do not attempt to treat them. They do not attempt to adopt them out or find foster homes or rescue groups. They kill them even though the animals have very treatable illnesses.
In addition, former Houston SPCA employees and volunteers have asked about the HSPCA’s save / kill rate stats but instead of being honest with their own employees or volunteers, the HSPCA “scolded” them for asking. I reported earlier that the Houston SPCA has refused to respond to my repeated requests to produce their intake, adoption and outcome records which is very disturbing, but it is outrageous that they hide these statistics from their own employees and volunteers.
Considering that the HSPCA is a very high kill shelter and considering the very disturbing stories coming out of this facility, animal lovers are very concerned that the recently seized Rottweilers will suffer the same fate as so many other animals that had the misfortune to enter the Houston SPCA.
Adding to their concern is the fact that the HSPCA has yet to commit to saving these dogs. We have seen no commitment from the HSPCA that they will seek out an appropriate live outcome for every animal even after many, many people have expressed concern. We have also seen no commitment to make the dogs available for adoption once they are released by the court even if the dogs pass temperament and health screenings. This life saving commitment should be expected from a facility that claims to be an animal shelter organized to “prevent cruelty” to animals. Death is the ultimate cruelty.
Equally worrisome is that the Houston SPCA’s website posting about this raid does not ask for the help from the community. There is no request for adopters, foster homes, rescue groups or volunteers. In fact, according to some recent emails and Facebook posts, the HSPCA has asked that concerned citizens NOT call or email them. They claim that the number of calls they are receiving are keeping them from taking care of these dogs. Aside from the fact that the HSPCA has people that answer the phones that could respond to offers of help without distracting the staff that are caring for the dogs, it is very, very troublesome that the HSPCA would discourage citizens from contacting them to offer help. Two hundred and fifty dogs are A LOT of dogs for any organization to take in or place at one time, but 250 Rottweilers would be even more difficult as a lot of people simply do not have the space to foster an animal that large. If the Houston SPCA’s ultimate goal is to save every single life, wouldn’t it make sense to take the contact information of every single person or rescue group who offers help so that they have a large pool of people to choose from when the time comes to move these animals?
Emails from volunteers/rescuers state that the HSPCA is willing to work with the American Rottweiler Club and Rottweiler rescue groups that are not for profit status, but it is not clear exactly what this “work” entails and again we don’t see this confirmation listed on the HSPCA’s website. Also contact information for the American Rottweiler Club or any other Rottweiler rescue group that they may be “working” with, are not listed on the HSPCA’s website. So, unless a citizen just happened to receive the email in which this information was listed, they would not know this contact information.
This entire situation is concerning because from all outward signs, it does not appear that the HSPCA is actively looking for ways to increase live outcomes for these dogs.
The HSPCA could make this situation so much simpler and ease the community’s mind in that the Houston SPCA director, Patty Mercer, could COMMIT to looking for an appropriate live outcome for every animal seized.
Patty Mercer could COMMIT to making the animals available for adoption once they have been legally released.
Since we know that the immune systems of small puppies frequently can’t withstand a shelter environment and therefore they die, Patty Mercer could COMMIT to immediately placing the pregnant dogs and those dogs with puppies into foster homes to get them out of the shelter environment, increasing their chance of survival.
These are the right things to do for the dogs and Patty Mercer could put this commitment in writing on the HSPCA’s website.
But she hasn’t.
Therefore, I am asking you to please visit HSPCA’s Facebook page and urge Houston SPCA director Patty Mercer to COMMIT to the above. Tell her that mass “euthanasia” will not be tolerated this time. Let her know that animal lovers all over the United States are paying attention to the outcome of these animals, not just the raid. Make it clear, that animal lovers will hold the HSPCA accountable if they fail to meet these basic standards for humane animal care.
Here is the link to the Houston SPCA’s Facebook page.
If you are not on Facebook, here is a link to their website with contact information.
If you are an experienced foster and are able to help any of these dogs please visit the American Rottweiler club’s website for details on how to help.
02/12/11 UPDATE POSTED HERE.
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