COPPERAS COVE — The city animal shelter automatically euthanizes certain dogs based on breed regardless of temperament, age or mixture with another breed. Animal advocates hope new leadership on the Copperas Cove Animal Shelter Advisory Council will result in the lives of banned animals being spared.

Roger Falkenstein, who operates the animal rescue group More Paws to Love, was elected chairman of the advisory council Wednesday night, even though it was his first meeting since being appointed to the council in September. A handful of residents attended the meeting to protest the shelter’s general order that bans adoption of chow chows, pit bulls or Rottweilers and automatically kills those breeds, including puppies.

Falkenstein owns a pit bull and said he does not understand condemning the dogs based on breed alone. Instead, he recommended they be evaluated based on temperament or be allowed to be rescued.

“We have competent staff in the shelter who should assess animals to determine if they should be put down based on temperament, not on breed,” Falkenstein said. “It is a death sentence for these animals, young or old.”

He said his rescue group gets a lot of banned breeds, which he and other volunteers work to get adopted.

“If these are dangerous dogs, then why aren’t they dangerous everywhere?” Michaela Ramos of Kempner asked the council. “Lampasas, Fort Hood, Killeen, Harker Heights and Bell County all offer these animals for adoption.”

Copperas Cove is the only city or county animal shelter in the area that kills the dogs based on breed alone, which is determined by workers at the shelter.

The Lampasas Animal Shelter has three rules for any dog, regardless of breed, to decide if the animal is adoptable.

“We do not look at the breed of the animal as this is normally an educated guess anyway,” Kasey Dressell said. “The dog must be good with other animals. It must show no aggression with people, and it must be healthy.”

At the Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center, officials said they don’t discriminate simply by breed.

“We evaluate the animal’s disposition and personality and make individual judgment on that particular animal,” said Albert Musgrove, who serves on the Harker Heights Animal Advisory Committee.

In Bell County, dogs must pass several evaluations to be adoptable to the public.

“We adopt based on behavior and temperament — not breed. Animals are observed during feeding to look for food aggressiveness and are tested with other dogs to ensure friendliness toward other animals as well testing for ear, tail and feet sensitivity,” said Dustin Connell, the county’s Animal Control Facility manager.

On the Killeen Animal Control Shelter website Friday, 13 pit bulls were listed for adoption, and the Fort Hood Animal Stray Facility Facebook page also lists several pit bulls for adoption.

Falkenstein recommended the Cove shelter consider allowing animal rescue groups to pull the banned animals from the facility to prevent euthanasia.

“We can’t do background checks on individuals but we do them on rescues,” Animal Control Supervisor David Wellington said. “But there should be an age limit. On older dogs, we don’t know the history. But, puppies under a year would be OK (to go to rescues).”

But not everyone agrees.

Beau Brabbin, the Cove advisory council’s vice chairman, said dog fighting is a reason to kill the banned breeds even if they are puppies.

“Unfortunately, Copperas Cove sits on the intersection of three different counties and (dog fighters) are not stupid,” Brabbin said. “I’ve picked up the remains (of dogs) from bar ditches after they’ve thrown them out when they can no longer use them.”

“(People who fight dogs) are not usually going to go to the city shelter (to adopt an animal) where they have to show ID,” Ramos said. “They’ll just go on Craigslist.”

The council agreed to discuss, and possibly vote, on allowing banned breeds to be pulled from the shelter by rescue groups at the next advisory council meeting on April 9. The council meets three times annually in April, August and November.

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

(13) comments


There seems to be a lot of emotion involved in this story, but realistically: the problem is not what's going on at the shelter. That's a reaction to a symptom of the problem, which is *way* too many dogs (of all kinds) being bred (or allowed to breed) for the human population. Any real solution has to affect the source of the issue, not just the end of the pipeline.

Anyone wants to adopt a few vicious dogs, just walk through my neighborhood a few times a week -- there are several that regularly break out from their owners' fences and roam freely.


Dog fighters DO NOT adopt altered pit bull terriers from shelters. Plus, they are killing Rotties and Chows too - so what is the excuse for those breeds? This policy is promoting back yard breeding as well - if you want a pit bull you have no choice but to buy one as adoption is not an option. Plus the state of Texas actually bans breed descrimination - this is a real black eye on Cove.

Cove citizens - you are paying to kill these animals with YOUR tax dollars. Stand up and DEMAND this practice cease immediately. If this is a policy, and not written in law - it can stop TODAY.


How about we put down those who are breeding these animals. You see it all over craigslist. This would stop so many of these dogs ending up in shelters, Unless you are a licensed breeder you shouldn't be allowed to sale or fake rehome any dog. My family has had a pitbull for years and he has never even came close to attacking anyone. He's the sweetest dog who loves children and is very calm. Like I said it's the owners of certain breeds that make others look bad.

George Fox

KDH did an outstanding job coving this story. You husband did an outstanding job as the new chairperson of this important committee and it is about time. But you are wrong about some other areas. City staff has been killing these animals for years using bad policies. Why did they wait till the night of the meeting to start to look at a change to the policy? The passing of 46 ordinance changes in 2010 because the current ordinance at the time were out of date, the bad feral cat ordinace passed this year that does nothing to fix a fixable problem and now the killing of puppies and adoptable old dogs that has been going on for years without anybody knowing about it should be a crime. The idea that Cove citizens are not very smart and can not handle these animals or are all dog fighters and the fact that this staff does not have the money to do back ground checks is a joke and all Cove citizens should be outraged. Who gave these low level employees of Copperas Cove the right to make a policy that should have been but appears not to have been reviewed by the city manager. We have heard all this before you have not. You are new to this.The policy is not just about non profits being able to transfer these animals which by the way was one of the 46 ordinance changes made in 2010 but that citizens of Cove should have the right just like citizens do in every city in Texas to adopt these dogs and puppies. Staff does not know what breed these adult and puppies are.Temperment of the animal should be the cities main concern.


Comments in this article have been taken out of context. I am quite upset with the KDH coverage of this productive meeting. The Chairman Robert (not Roger) Falkenstein began a discussion on the possibility of changing the verbage of the Copperas Cove Animal Control SOP about banned breeds. Every committee member was receptive to the idea especially the possibility of approved 501C3 dog rescues pulling the banned breeds after temperament assessment. Beau Brabbin was the first committee member to voice his support of rescues pulling these dogs. The discussion led to Robert Falkenstein asking when and why the breeds became banned (and why these breeds and not others). The quote in this article by Beau Brabbin is completely out of context -- he was explaining why in 2001 the ban on adopting these breeds was established. As a member of More Paws 2 Love All Breed Rescue, I was thrilled at the positive, productive meeting which included the beginning of the creation of a website to let citizens know about the animal shelter and all the great work they are doing.

Dog Lover

I am ashamed to live here in CC thank god outside of it ..... you all from the Shelter in cove are a bunch of murderers in my eyes !
Just the other day I saw them fetch a Pit ... who was very friendly because he was at first scared of them and then after they gave him food he went to that one female I was asking if they murder him she just said ice cold if no one comes to claim him !
At this point I got sick to my stomach really sick .... she was lying to me I could see that on here face !
They will go to hell for what they did and do to this animals !!
I hope the city wakes up and does something about this senseless murder !!!
It is NEVER the dog it is the person raising and teaching them you going to but them down too ?


I have lived in the Kempner, TX area for fifteen years and I have to travel through Copperas Cove, to get around so I guess I have the right to speak up here, aka freedom of my speech as I see it. I just winder how these people in Copperas Cove, can sleep at night knowing that they are killing animals just becuase of their breed. I was mauled by a German Sheppard as a teenager by my neighbors dog, he never did this befrore and never after, he had his shots and was not put down. I had my entire right arm engulfed down the throat of a Pit Bull, my nephews dog, this dog never put eyes on me before, did he even try to bite or chew my arm off? no he did not and why? well it was because of this master and the way he had been taught, do I trust that dog now? yes I do becuase he could sense my fear and never caused me any kind of harm. I ahve owned dogs of all sizes my collie would but the head off of someone that I gave her the command to do so, other than that she was gentle and loving. My nephew is a Police Chief in a different state, his old tactical dog a Huskey did not know me from adam, he was not friendly he attacked me twice, once on the hand once on my face by my eye. He lieved in my sisters home, each time he listened to his caretaker to stand down and he did, but that dog remembered me and his eyes would get wild and turn red whenever I was visiting, no he did not like me and in my eyes he needed not to be put down but he needed to be in a more secure inviorment due to his profession. Cove, leave the amimals alone and let them be adopted becuase you can change an animal with some loving care and proper handling. Killing is not the answer. I feel that your took quick to judge and who made you God anyway? He put all animals here on earth as he put you and I.

Mamma Griz

Years ago, my younger sister was babysitting for a neighbor. She and the dog got along real well. That is, until the owners came home. Then the dog reached up and nipped my sister on the back of a KNEE. No, the dog was not a pit bull or any such critter as that. The dog that bit her was a DASCHUND, and not a giant of a dog. It does not pay to judge a dog by his breed or his name or his facial expression. Will the next thing to euthanize a woman because she doesn't look right to you? Besides, it isn't the dog's fault that he was brought up the way he was. Blame the stupid humans-- who are probably training the dog to be a heller. And no, that isn't a typo!


You have the names wrong... His name is Robert Falkenstein.
Also, I thought the discussion was open and made great movement. Calling people out like this is not the way to get anything done.. People need to learn to be professional adults..


Old woman has excellent points! Evaluating on temperament not breed would be the way to go. Get to work Cove & fix the problem.

George Fox

What was not in the paper from the Wednesday night ASAC meeting was what staff implyed and said about Cove citizens. The citizens of Cove are too stupid to have and handle these breeds that staff themselves can not idendify. We would need to do back ground checks on our citizens to weed out the crooks and dog fighters before adoptions and we do not have the time or money to do that so we will just kill all these animals. This policy has been in place since 2001. How many puppies and good adoptable dogs have been killed by this bad policy? NO RESPECT FOR COVE CITIZENS. Beau Brabbins in no longer the chairperson for the Cove ASAC. That should save some lives.


Cove get rid of those Breed of Humans who want to kill animals . As most are pro life Ted Cruz fans or Obama worshippers . That action will improve not only Cove but the entire USA.


"Beau Brabbin, the Cove advisory council’s vice chairman, said dog fighting is a reason to kill the banned breeds even if they are puppies."

Does that mean we should get rid of cars because accidents happens?
Would it not make more sense to work on eliminating the dog fighting rings? It's not just the dog fighting, those elements bring drug trade and gambling, which ALL are crimes. There is a law against dog fighting in Texas, how about enforcing the law, instead of killing the potential victims of the crime?

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