Texans: Would You Like to Mandate Your Shelters to Work Hard to Save Pets’ Lives?

The Companion Animal Protection Act of 2011 has been introduced in Texas.  Provisions include:

  • Shelters can no longer kill pets when an adopter or rescue group is willing to take them.
  • Shelters can no longer kill savable pets at the owner’s request.
  • Shelters can no longer kill owner surrendered pets immediately upon intake.
  • Shelters can no longer kill pets when the facility has empty cages/kennels or when the pet can share a cage/kennel with another pet.
  • Shelters can no longer kill pets when a foster home is available.
  • Shelters can no longer kill nursing litters of puppies and kittens impounded without their mama unless they have exhausted all avenues of rescue and foster care, documented these efforts, certified in writing why the shelter itself can not provide care for the litter at present and what’s being done to change that situation.  Said certification must be available for public inspection upon request for at least 3 years.
  • Shelters can no longer refuse to adopt out pets based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age or color.
  • Before a shelter can kill a dog with confirmed parvo or a cat with confirmed panleukopenia, a licensed vet must certify in writing that the pet’s prognosis is poor, even with treatment.  Said certification must be available for public inspection upon request for at least 3 years.
  • Any agency – public or private – which kills pets must seek out and maintain a list of rescue groups willing to take pets and adopt them out.  The agency must contact each group on the list who is willing to take the type of pet the agency wishes to kill before killing the pet.
  • When shelters do kill pets, it must be done by IV injection after sedation (with limited exceptions made for IP injections and heartstick on unconscious pets under the direction of a licensed vet).  Shelters can no longer kill pets in view of other pets.
  • All municipal shelters must provide low cost spay-neuter programs to the public, volunteer opportunities, and pet retention programs.
  • Shelters – both public and private – must report their stats monthly and those reports shall be available for public inspection upon request for at least 3 years.

All I can say is – Yes, please!

No Kill Houston has action items for Texans all laid out.  If you live in Texas, do it!

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20 Comments

  1. Erica

     /  March 26, 2011

    FINALLY “someone” gets it!!! That sounds awesome…maybe the good folks of Texas would like to send the same info to each and every state in the US…maybe if each state would inact these parts of the no kill equation through law we would see a huge decrease in killing and more lives saved. I’m writing my congressmen with this information right NOW!

    Reply
    • Shirley, thank you for posting this information.

      Erica, I am the one that convinced a Texas representative to file this bill. I am just an ordinary citizen that is passionate about stopping the killing in our shelters. If I can do it, you can do it in your state too. We citizens can make a difference.

      However, the fight is just beginnging in Texas. I am quite sure that every kill shelter in Texas will oppose this bill. Also, the ASPCA has fought a similiar bill in NY for 2 years; HSUS fought a similar bill in CA and PeTA is in Texas trying to pass a bill that would outlaw certain exotic animal sanctuaries. I am quite sure that they will fight us on Texas CAPA and they have a lot more money than we have and have professional lobbyists.

      That is why it is vitally important that every single person speak up in support of Texas CAPA. We need every single person helping us. I have made it very easy to speak up with a template letter with talking points and even a petition that will email members of the Public Health committe.
      Thank you!

      Reply
      • Erica

         /  March 28, 2011

        Do you have links to a website or FB page that includes those items? It would be great to have a template that everyone can use to pressure their reps in their own states. And – by the way..great job!

      • Erica,

        Here is a link to our website. (http://s312584456.initial-website.com/legislation/texas-capa/)
        The template letter and link to our petition is listed there. Please pass on to all of your Texas friends and family. We are already getting huge opposition. We need all Texans, particuarly Houstonians, to speak out in support right now. There is strength in numbers!
        Thanks very much!

      • Erica

         /  March 29, 2011

        While I am not in Texas…I will send a letter anyways to show my support of this piece of legislation. But I will also share with any friends I have living in Texas to help drum up support. Thank you for the link..I will be using it here in Ohio to try and see that somethign similar can get passed here.

  2. Susan

     /  March 26, 2011

    Wow–if this can be introduced in Texas, then states that consider themselves “progressive” (Hello, New York? You listening?) have no excuse for not following the example!

    Reply
  3. Wonderful! But I can see most of the shelter and city leaders screaming, “We can’t do all of this. It would cost too much!”.

    Is the part about how to pay for all of this laid out in this law?

    I really would love to see this law sweep the country.

    Reply
  4. How embarrassing it is that a law needs to be introduced to mandate such basic things.

    (Not that I’m not happy about it, of course!)

    Reply
    • dru

       /  March 26, 2011

      it IS so sad/embarrassing!!! AWESOME that it IS being introduced….i pray that it DOES happen!! we NEED 2 stop all this slaughtering of innocents!!!! AND if it happens in Texas……maybe it’ll happen in the rest of the country…THEN maybe, just maybe the REST OF THE WORLD….
      SPAY & NEUTER
      dru

      Reply
  5. EmilyS

     /  March 26, 2011

    I heartily approve of everything except the mandate to transfer animals .. unless there’s some kind of demonstration that these “rescues” or “adopters” or “groups” can actually provide an acceptable level of care. If not, where’s the improvement for the animal?

    Reply
    • Emily, there are certain requirements laid out in Texas CAPA that must be met by the organizations that are allowed to pull animals. This is a much better solution than shelters being able to turn rescuers away for arbitrary reasons which is the situation we have now. I get emails from around the country from rescuers who are trying to save animals but are being turned away, or the animals are killed before they can make it to the “shelter”. This very thing happened to me 2 years ago. I had managed to find a rescue that would take about a dozen cats from our high kill city animal control facility. But before some of my temporary fosters could get to the “shelter”, they had killed one cat and we found a second sitting outside of the euthanasia room…next in line to be killed. These cats had been marked “on hold” for me but they were killed anyway. In addition, the “shelter” claimed that they could not find one of the kittens that was on hold for me. I have discovered that “can’t find” usually means “already killed”.

      So, here we have at least 3 cats in which I had homes lined up. I even had a free plane ride to Dallas arranged, but they were killed anyway.

      Texas CAPA would make this illegal. And it would also give citizens the legal standing to file suit if shelters don’t follow the law. Right now, there is nothing we can do about situations like this.

      Reply
  6. RoninDallas

     /  March 26, 2011

    Sorry to say but this will fly like a waxed brick.
    In this time of economic decimation to save budgets, there’s no way the legislature would past a COSTLY bill even if it’s the right thing to do.
    The second aspect to point out is that while Yes it targets shelters, it’s a negative bill. It’s full of you cants and no you cans. How do municipalities cut their budgets while having to cater to mandates that will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions?
    Ultimately who is going to foot the bills. To comply, the taxpayers are stuck with it, for non compliance, the taxpayers are gonna get hit with the bills for that as well.
    If you can find ways to make it profitable to be no kill, then no kill will take precident. Until then, shelter pets will die en Masse`

    Reply
    • This law has been passed in other states and cities, so it very well could pass in Texas.

      Please become acquainted with the No Kill model of sheltering and the No Kill Equation on which CAPA is based. You will learn that many of the programs would actually save shelters money, because it costs MORE to kill animals than to save them. For instance, one program that saves money is a Return to Owner program. I calculated if Houston’s animal control facility (BARC) would institute this program with the same success as Washoe Co., NV (returns 65% of pets to their owners), BARC would save 8,100 animals per year AND save over $900,000 per year. That savings could then be redirected into programs that cost money like low cost and free s/n programs or programs to keep animals in their homes.
      We also know that the most well funded shelters are not necessarily saving more lives. In fact, many well funded shelters are killing more, while those shelters with little money are No Kill and open admission. It’s not the money that gets a shelter to No Kill, it is the leadership. Since we cannot convince leadership in most shelters to do what has been proven to save lives, we need laws to make them do this.
      We can see that these laws are very necessary by taking a look at the San Francisco SPCA. This was once a No Kill shelter when Rich Avanzino and Nathan Winograd ran it. But, they left and now this shelter is no longer No Kill. If the programs that Avanzino and Winograd had in place were legally required and not just optional, the SF SPCA would probably still be a No Kill shelter.

      Reply
    • Could you please expound on what portions of this bill force an unreasonable economic burden on animal shelters? There is no economic penalty for not complying, so far as I can tell.

      I think the only portion of that bill that may be deemed significantly burdensome and unreasonable are the feral cat requirements.

      But other than that, the requirements set forth are reasonable and, in theory, most should already be in place including electronic record keeping, lost/found filing, and a database or list of rescue agencies to contact.

      I guess I’m curious why you believe this puts a significant financial burden on either the shelters or taxpayers.

      Reply
      • RoninDallas

         /  March 27, 2011

        Marji,
        The financial burdens would be found in implimenting the records keeping, the on site vet, and realistic training of management. I have no doubt that the majority of shelter workers and volunteers have the best interests of the animals at heart however look at most poorly run (read as Piss poor managed)shelters who merely see the facilities as a dumping grounds of unwanted pets who they have to dispose of. Adoption is a secondary thought.
        The cost of medically treating say a random puppy with worms and parvo would easily exceed a grand. The cost of sticking it with a needle is less than 15 bucks. Where is all this additional money coming from? If treated, the puppy would be adoptable for around 100-125. A loss of nearly 900 dollars. This is exactly why rescues aren’t big money making machines.

      • Caveat: I read the bill but as it was 21 pages, I readily admit missing some stuff.

        Record keeping is a basic requirement that every shelter should already have in place. It keeps them accountable and is beneficial to them for liability purposes and the like.

        Is an on-site vet an actual requirement?

        Expecting a shelter to treat parvovirus is unreasonable and financially prohibitive – my understanding of the bill is that that is not something that would occur as a requirement.

        Deworming a puppy, though, is cheaper than killing a puppy.

        I guess I’m still not seeing how this bill would be cost-prohibitive or inflict an unreasonable or undue burden on a shelter or taxpayers.

        Clearly doing nothing is ineffective. Perhaps this seems like an extreme response, but nothing (except the feral cat requirements, imo) in this bill appears unreasonable to expect of a society that has consistently claimed to value companion dogs and cats.

  7. xtexone@aol.com

     /  March 27, 2011

    Many “rescues” are hell for animals. You’d better be prepared to check them out very, very well. Many use deception to get animals and are nothing but glorified hoarders.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 28, 2011

      Where did you ‘find’ this information? I know of many, MANY rescues that are indeed rescues and not hoarders. Sounds like you are repeating the reguritated stuff from the ASPCA & HSUS…

      While I admit to not reading the bill completely I am sure that there is something in it that defines a rescue as a 501(c)3 charity. I would take my chances with a rescue ANY day over the killing of animals. The ONLY concern I would have would be with the PETA death squads that collect animals from shelters only to kill them.

      Reply
  8. Anne

     /  March 27, 2011

    i haven’t read the bill- can anyone explain to me the limitations on ‘not being allowed to kill owner surrendered animals immediately’?
    this make me sad to think ailing or suffering pets may have to sit in a cage over night before being euthanized.
    also, the ‘can’t kill pets when empty cages’ seems like it’s supposed to stop space killing (which is great), but what about shelters that don’t have to kill for space? Are they required to keep dangerous or sick pets alive just because they have some empty cages?
    Again, haven’t read the bill. just wondering

    Reply
    • My guess is the owner-surrender euthanasia/kill request language will be modified. In its current form, it offers no exceptions to irremediably suffering animals (which MAY be covered by other parts of the bill). It requires the animal to be held for the same period as an owner-surrender. I can’t see that staying as is.

      In its current form, the bill permits the euthanasia of irremediably sick and aggressive animals – at least, as far as I can tell.

      Reply

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