• Susan Houser

News of the Week 05-03-15

There is a lot of news from Texas this week. An audit in Austin has found overcrowding at the city shelter. This is no surprise, as many said when the new shelter was built a few years ago that it did not have sufficient animal housing. The city has already taken steps to deal with the problem by adding 100 kennels.


Best Friends magazine is featuring Michael and Pam Kitkoski of Texas in the “Inspiring People” section of its May/June issue. The Kitkoskis founded Rockwall Pets in 2010, which led to the cities of Rockwall and Royse achieving No Kill status. In 2014 they founded No Kill Solutions, to consult with shelters in Dallas-Ft. Worth.


Houston’s BARC public shelter has announced that it had an 80% live release rate for the first three months of 2015, after having had only a 64% live release rate in 2014. BARC is a very large operation, taking in 25,000 animals per year, and until recently was chronically underfunded by the city. The shelter attributes its improvement to increased funding and new partnerships. One rescue partner, the Rescued Pets Movement, has pulled 6700 dogs and cats from the shelter since September of 2013. The Rescued Pets Movement transports about 150 pets per week to Colorado. It takes about 60% of the animals that BARC transfers to its rescue partners.


A great example of the power of one is Debbie Fatheree in Hearne, Texas. Since she started helping the Hearne Animal Shelter in 2013 she has saved 900 dogs and cats and, according to the linked article, the shelter has not euthanized a single animal. A big part of her efforts is social-media networking. She also has adoption events and recruits fosters.


Maddie’s Fund has collected a list of resources on disease prevention protocols in shelters.

ASPCA president Matt Bershadker has written an article pushing back at the audit report by New York City controller Scott Stringer that was critical of the city’s Animal Care and Control unit. Bershadker points out that the audit does not reflect that in the last year AC&C has taken action on most of the problems mentioned in the report. He also argues that the report does not give the AC&C credit for the degree to which it has increased the city’s live release rate.


The Pet Animal Coalition of Kansas (PACK) is trying to get the state’s Department of Agriculture to tighten up requirements for animal shelters. High on the list of things they want implemented is a ban on gas chambers. At least three shelters in the state still use gas to kill impounded animals.

It’s super adoption season for Best Friends, with a three-day event last weekend in New York City and events this weekend in Salt Lake City (Friday and Saturday) and Los Angeles (Saturday and Sunday). The Los Angeles event is featuring over 1000 shelter pets.


Four Florida International University students have designed an open-source app that they envision being used to create a single regional database for shelter animals. This will facilitate adoptions by allowing potential adopters to quickly locate animals they have seen online, and allow shelters and rescues to work with the adopters.

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