To the Editor:

If all pet owners said they treat their pets as children, we would see shelters empty, rare sightings of feral animals, low pregnancies and litters, more playing at the dog parks and less neglect. Unfortunately, a lot of pet owners would be terrible “parents” in Killeen and surrounding areas.

I visited the Killeen animal shelter to check out the animals that were available for adoption. I was shocked to see the amount of animals there.

When I asked about how these animals got there, a majority of them were captured off the streets, either due to escaping out of their homes or were simply dumped off.

Few of these animals are “bailed out,” while the rest of the pets sit in these confined spaces longer because either the owners cannot afford to pay the fee or they were neglected.

I am on several Facebook pages, especially the area pet and yard sale pages, and during the holidays, I saw an exhorbitant amount of puppies being sold.

Unfortunately, a lot of pets arrive to the shelter shortly after Christmas for various reasons. “My child is allergic to the dog!” “The dog is too hyper for me!” “We don’t have the time to train it!” “I’m moving and my new landlord doesn’t allow pets!” “My cat is sick and I can’t afford the vet bill!”

I saw a lot of these comments on the Facebook pages. Some of these animals don’t even make it to the shelter. They are usually dropped off in a vacant area of town and let loose, often avoiding the surrender fee the shelters charge for people who no longer want to maintain responsibility of these animals.

In a three-day span, I saw over 40 postings of people seeing cats and dogs roaming the streets during the first week of January. About 10 of them got hit and died.

I feel more needs to be done about the overpopulation of animals. The city ordinance to get your animal spayed or neutered is only as good as Animal Control and the city of Killeen’s follow-through with it, which is basically a joke.

There are so many businesses, such as Emanicpet, that offer low fees to fix pets, but again, it would only be useful if Animal Control and the city held these pet owners responsible. Adding a small fee every month to their water bills would be a suggestion.

Ticketing the residents will lower the litter rates and kill rates, and shelters will not be overwhelmed.

Esmerelda Goldez

Killeen

(2) comments

OldWoman
OldWoman

I agree that there are way too many irresponsible owners. I have two dogs I picked up off the streets, 1 from an irresponsible owner (years ago), and one from the Killeen Animal Shelter. My neighbors own one that was given away free, another neighbor has dogs his kids found.

In order to get a grip on pet population and shelter issues, we need to look at Austin Pets Alive, and how they have assisted the Austin City shelter achieve an almost 100% kill rate. The community and rescue groups need to freely and confidently be able to work with the Animal Control staff, to achieve maximum adoptions, transfers and RTO rates. Charging people extra fees is not a solution.

My suggestion is an open admissions shelter, spay / neuter of all adoptable animals, much like every rescue group does, and a sound commitment to just not kill animals. Have procedures in place to turn over ill animals to vets or foster homes for physical injuries and recuperation. Add to that a pleasant, clean, inviting shelter environment. People only don't turn in their unwanted animals, because they think that an empty field or a neighborhood is safer than the kill shelter.

We need community support. This is difficult in a city with high turnover rates, people coming and going frequently, but not impossible, if we have a core of outreach volunteers.

I hear from so many people that they are displeased with the state of animal care in this city, and once people are approached about volunteering and given directions, they WILL support animal welfare programs.

It is harder to achieve if people know that the dog or cat they walked today may be killed tonight. Walking into a kill shelter is one of the most depressing things I've done. Sure I come in there to rescue one soul, but it's like a death march, walking from cage to cage.

Imagine a shelter, where you know that none of the animals in there will die.
Imagine a shelter, where you can interact with animals in a comfortable environment
Take the time and follow APA on Facebook. It is so refreshing! I am sad that I don't live closer to them. I'd love to volunteer there.

Only charging people more money is not fixing the problem. Allowing them to safely take their animals to a shelter in the knowledge that an owner or rescue will be found for it, will encourage people to participate and keep more animals off the streets.

This will require a larger shelter. This will require internal procedural reforms. This will require an attitude adjustment in leadership.

The city managed to invite Emancipet to Killeen, We got a dog park built, now we just need to keep the animals alive to be able to enjoy these amenities.

Armain

Let's not add anything to my water bill. It is high enough as it is. I have two pets and each are either spayed or neutered. One of them was adopted from the Killeen Animal Shelter. I take care of them and they live inside except when we let them out in the back yard. Why would you try to make me pay more to take care of irresponsible pet owners? You need to formulate a plan to make those responsible pay for their own mess.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.