COPPERAS COVE — The city animal shelter housed more domestic animals in 2012 than 2011 with total number of rescues, adoptions and euthanizations of pets also increasing.

According to an annual report released by the Cove Animal Control, the shelter experienced a 37.5 percent increase in the number of domesticated animals impounded during 2012 compared to 2011.

Deputy Police Chief Mike Heintzelman, who supervises animal control, couldn’t explain exactly why there was such a large increase.

Economic troubles and irresponsible owners are probably the two greatest factors however, Heintzelman said. “We do have a lot of strays running the streets, but for a lot of these animals, people are just dumping them.”

Canines consisted of a majority of the shelter’s intake with almost 400 more dogs staying in the city facility than cats. More felines never left the shelter and were euthanized.

About 64.8 percent of cats held in the shelter were euthanized during 2012, while about 22 percent of dogs were put to sleep, stated animal control’s report.

“The last thing we want to see is the number of euthanized animals increase,” Hientzelman said.

Euthanasia rates for cats and dogs decreased from 2011, when about 77.4 percent of felines were killed and 29.4 percent of dogs.

Adoption rates for the two species of animals also decreased by several percentage points between the two years, regardless of the shelter experiencing more adoptions than the previous year.

There were significantly more canine and several more cat adoptions in 2012 than 2011, Heintzelman said. But adoption percentages decreased because of the number of animals impounded.

Heintzelman attributed the greater number of adoptions to several businesses and community organizations hosting pet adoption events. Those events not only allowed animals to find a new home but raised shelter awareness, he said.

Another contributing factor to more animals not being euthanized was cooperation from rescue and foster groups, Heintzelman said.

He noted that the city changed its ordinance in 2011, so it could allow those organizations to take animals from the shelter.

Humane rescue rates increased between the two years. More than 14 percent of the dogs and 17.6 percent of cats were transferred to a no-kill shelter or foster group in 2012. In 2011, 12.3 percent of canines and 12.5 percent of cats were taken in by rescue groups.

Dog owners also did their share to eliminate animals staying at the shelter in 2012. About 35 percent of canines were returned to their owners. Only 3.4 percent of cats impounded by animal control had owners claim them at the shelter.

“My number one thing is the return to owners (numbers), because those animals get to their original homes,” Heintzelman said.

Overall though, Heintzelman said 2012 was a good year for the shelter with more animals finding a home than not, which is a goal of the facility.

Of the 2,140 animals that could be pets, 798 were rescued or adopted, 467 were returned to their owners, and 848 were euthanized.

More information

2012 domestic animal impounds: 2,140

2011 domestic animal impounds: 1,556

2012 rescues and adoptions: 798

2011 rescues and adoptions: 581

2012 pets returned home: 467

2011 pets returned home: 291

2012 euthanized: 848

2011 euthanized: 803


2012 by animal


Impounded — 1,257

Adopted — 353

Returned to owner — 441

Euthanized — 276

Rescued — 176


Impounded — 883

Adopted — 114

Returned to owner — 26

Euthanized — 572

Rescued — 155

Note: 110 dogs and 33 cats were euthanized at the owner’s request.


2011 by animal


Impounded — 900

Adopted — 290

Returned to owner — 269

Euthanized — 295

Rescued — 111


Impounded — 656

Adopted — 98

Returned to owner — 22

Euthanized — 508

Rescued — 82

Note: 97 dogs and 46 cats were euthanized at the owner’s request.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474

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