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Animals caged in the dark at Texas shelter

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Controversy is nothing new to the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area, which contracts to provide animal control services to Comal County, including the city of New Braunfels, and the city of Marion in Guadalupe County, Texas. The high-kill Humane Society was recently in the news for killing George, a twelve-week-old dachshund mix, whom they deemed "dangerous." Now it turns out that Baby George may have spent his last days in the dark in a windowless room with the lights turned off to keep the electric bill low.

Now don't get this wrong: what you are about to read is upsetting, but it is going to be most upsetting to the animal-loving residents of New Braunfels. This writer knows New Braunfels and the people of New Braunfels. They care about animals and will not rest until they see for themselves what is going on. That is going to be difficult. The place I am writing about is not open to the public. The stray hold area at the new Humane Society facility in New Braunfels is an area that is off-limits to the public, which is precisely why the situation there is not common knowledge.

Occasionally "outsiders" get a peek, and one was angry enough to contact me. This writer was told that there was a room piled high with bedding donated by generous New Braunfel's residents; but that the stray hold dogs in kennels had no beds or bedding on their bare concrete floor. Even a nursing mother and her puppies lay on the cold hard floor. Animal professionals know puppies and kittens find it very difficult to control their body temperature. It is hard to think of them lying there. But then maybe they were not going to live long enough to merit bedding. This is a very high-kill facility.

Some dogs were still waiting at noon for food and water and to have their kennels cleaned. The kennels looked as if they had not been cleaned for several days. There is no photo showing the condition of the dogs in their kennels, because no photography is allowed in this "staff only" area.

Worst of all, is that the cats and the small dogs were kept in cages in rooms with no outside windows and where the lights are kept off to save electricity. Now that is an image that stays in your mind, photo or no photo. This is where Baby George would have been held.

Conditions in the adoption area where the public is allowed entry are better. There you will see most of the animals in clean kennels and most. but not all, with food, water and bedding. The facility itself is brand new. It is the methods and conditions that are old school.

This writer saw how residents of Comal Country responded to terrible conditions at Canyon Lake Animal Shelter. The entire board was made to resign and the facility became No Kill overnight. Businesses donated tens of thousands of dollars and volunteers stepped up to do many hours of work. It might seem like a miracle some places, but that is just how people are in the Hill Country of Texas. They are passionate about where they live and they care about the people and animals who are their neighbors.

As is often the case, social media is quick to pick up when change is needed. There is a new FaceBook page promoting No Kill for New Braunfels. No Kill became a reality in nearby Austin, tiny Kirby, and in Williamson County, so maybe Comal County and New Braunfels will be next.

There is also a website: "No-Kill New Braunfels" If Austin can be NO KILL, New Braunfels can be NO KILL

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I am looking for more volunteers from the Humane Society to tell me what goes on in the area away from the public behind closed doors and members of the public to tell me their experiences. Your privacy will be respected and your identity concealed. E-mail marilyn@marilynlitt.com

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