***[UPDATE: More than 4,000 signatures reached! Citizens of Waco are responding to say, "We support life for these vulnerable animals." Give yourself a pat on the back, and forward the petition on.The city announced Friday that they would not take over the shelter in October as planned. It will fund the Humane Society for two more months to give itself time to make a plan. We will see what that means in the coming weeks, but for now, know that YOU ARE HAVING AN IMPACT! Thank you!***
As a community we have the power and responsibility to oppose policies that will lead to the imminent death of many shelter dogs and cats beginning in October. These animals are in danger of being subjected to a 72-hour shelter rule because the city failed to reach a contract with the non-profit Humane Society of Central Texas, with the intent of taking command of the Circle Road animal shelter on October 1st.
Like many shelters across the nation, the Waco facility is overcrowded with unwanted or unclaimed dogs and cats.
Rather than take proactive and humane steps to deal with this problem, the City Council plans to stop pet adoptions at the facility and do the minimum required under the law to protect the lives of animals delivered into its care, according to local news reports here and here.
Under the proposed policy, these animals – many of whom are healthy and adoptable – will be subject to a 72-hour “shelter” policy. This means that if the shelter can’t find an animal a home, a different shelter, or a foster family within three days, the animal will be killed.
This policy amounts to keeping the animals "in a facility where the only objective is to house them long enough to satisfy a legal obligation before killing them," wrote Woodway's Susan McVey in the Sept. 11 edition of the Waco Tribune Herald.
The inevitable logic of the policy is that many lost pets and otherwise healthy animals will be killed to clear space at the shelter. It’s mind-boggling that the city would impose this draconian policy at the same time it closes the shelter to adoptions, which is one of the clearest avenues these animals have for escaping this fate.
Ironically, the over-crowding situation is the result of budgetary shortfalls at the shelter over many years, caused in part by the city’s unwillingness to allocate enough money to support the caretakers or facilities. Other laws to control domesticated animals have been passed but seldom have they been enforced.
What may look to some like a tough but neccessary action is actually a moral disaster, considering that the community caused the problem and has repeatedly failed to address it. The city’s plan to close the facility to adoptions and speed up the killings assumes a better solution doesn't exist. This simply isn't true.
We can do better than this. The opinion page of the Waco Tribune Herald from September 11th proves that Waco is full of conscientious citizens who can’t bear to see these animals slaughtered as a result of our collective failure to solve this problem. These citizens understand that we have an ethical responsibility to protect and care for the companion animals we bring into this world.
Tell the City of Waco to immediately halt its plan to kill any animal within 72 hours of receipt. Tell the City Council to hold a public meeting, to establish an oversight board for the shelter, and to come up with smarter, more humane ways to deal with a problem they had a hand in making.
(Photo: Mable is a vibrant 4-year-old dog who was adopted several years ago from the shelter).