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Texas High Kill shelter claims No Kill status

Dogs safe at home
Dogs safe at home
Marilyn Knapp Litt

The Humane Society of New Braunfels (Texas) is puzzling No Kill activists by claiming to be almost No Kill, while at the same time killing 62% of the animals in 2013. Half of the animals they receive are kept in areas not open to the public and photos are not posted online. The Humane Society states this is to protect the animals, which may be owned, from potential thieves. Essentially they are concealing animals to protect them before killing them.

Although the Humane Society claims to be closing in on No Kill, in the past they told callers and visitors that they were already a No Kill shelter. Being No Kill is so desirable, that the accepted standards for this status are sometimes disregarded in favor of simply claiming to be No Kill. This is a disservice to those shelters making an effort to attain No Kill status.

Frustration with the situation in New Braunfels has prompted the creation of a group, No-Kill New Braunfels, which is demanding a truly No Kill shelter for New Braunfels. The following is an editorial by Linda Scullary, a member of No-Kill New Braunfels:

"No-Kill New Braunfels is not composed of people who are sitting on the sidelines and complaining about the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area as implied in the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung’s Feb. 11 editorial.

We are animal rescuers with decades of experience who have just convinced a reluctant San Antonio Animal Care Services to stop hiding animals in a kennel area where the public has no access. This is exactly what is being done in New Braunfels.

It is against all common sense for the Humane Society to refuse to post photos of all the animals in their custody. Owners of lost pets and potential adopters need to be able to see the animals to increase their chance of finding a home.

Contrary to claims and published reports, the New Braunfels Humane Society has not mastered any of the 11 steps toward achieving No-Kill status. Here are the steps:

1. Trap-Neuter-Return feral cats (TNR) — We spoke at City Council meetings and met with officials to see what ordinance changes are needed for our city to allow TNR. Does this sound like our group, No-Kill New Braunfels, is merely criticizing?

2. High-volume, low-cost spay/neuter — The Humane Society currently offers only one spay/neuter event each month.

3. Rescue partnerships — Which rescue groups does the Humane Society have relationships with? How many pets are sent to rescue groups each month?

4. Foster care — How many pets are in foster care each month? Do foster families have assurances that when their foster pets are returned to the shelter that the pets won’t be killed?

5. Comprehensive adoption program — The Humane Society has some of the highest adoption fees in the area: $120 to adopt a dog and $95 for a cat. The Austin Animal Center charges around $40 for either.

6. Pet retention — The Humane Society has no published programs offering alternatives to surrendering a pet.

7. Medical and behavior programs — The Humane Society provides no information to the public about any such programs. Do they have vaccination and disease prevention protocols, temperament/behavior testing, or programs to help pets with correctable behavior problems?

8. Public relations/community involvement — The public is prevented from seeing half of the pets at the shelter, and offers of help have been ignored.

9. Volunteers — We offered volunteers who could photograph the pets currently hidden from view. These volunteers were not wanted.

10. Proactive redemption — The Humane Society won’t allow the public to see half the animals. How does that help get owned animals home?

11. A compassionate director — Is it compassionate to keep animals in the dark all day to save on electricity or to withhold bedding from animals sleeping on bare concrete?

New Braunfels needs to come together and make the community a better place for people and pets.

The animal-loving town of New Braunfels that we call our home can have a No-Kill shelter that is the pride of the Hill Country. Go see for yourself how many pets are being held in all the areas off-limits to the public, and you will want immediate change.

That is, if they will let you in."

There is a FaceBook page promoting No Kill for New Braunfels and 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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