The Cameron Co Pound Would Give Edgar Allan Poe Nightmares

Cameron Co Animal Control in Texas picks up strays and does quarantine holds at its facility.  I had to dig around to find this document but apparently in 2010, the facility had a 1% adoption rate.  That is, of the 2611 animals the county took in, 27 were adopted/rescued.  The county killed 2158 animals, 17 were “released to wild” (I’m hoping those were actual wild animals) and 134 were returned to owner.  The 2010 kill rate was 83%.

The facility has 10 kennels, with 3 designated for quarantine.  There is no room for expansion.  There is no kill room and nowhere to cut off animals’ heads for rabies testing.  The killing and beheading of pets is done in the kennel area.  Most impounds are killed within 72 hours.

If you want to look for your lost pet or adopt a new one, you must either schedule an appointment or come during the regular open hours:  Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM.  There is no Petfinder page for this facility nor is there any way to see pets online.  Many people in the area don’t even know the pound exists or where it is.

An area resident named Dial Dunkin was recently helping a friend look for a lost dog.  He visited the pound and told the local paper he “was shocked to see dozens of dogs awaiting euthanization”.  How the place is housing dozens of dogs in 7 general population kennels is a mystery to me.  But Mr. Dunkin’s reaction may shed some light on the situation:

When he saw the high number of dogs confined in small cages at the county shelter, he felt sick, Dunkin said.

“The cages are full of really nice dogs,” Dunkin said. “I’m really upset, I’ve been up all night.”

Mr. Dunkin offered to buy the pound a camera so photos of each pet could be posted online.  He even offered to keep the place supplied with pet food so they could keep the animals longer in order to increase their chances of adoption.  But the county says they have plenty of donated food.  They just need a bigger space.  And it will cost half a million dollars.

Information in the newspaper piece appears to contradict some of the county info available online.  In the article, county officials indicate the public is not allowed inside the pound and even the newspaper was refused entry.  Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos was asked if he’d be open to discussing shelter reform ideas with Mr. Dunkin:

“We’ll listen,” Cascos said. “But there are leash laws and we have to pick them up and, unfortunately, if they aren’t adopted, we have to euthanize them.”

If they aren’t adopted.  But you can’t go in.  Well maybe you can for an hour in the morning.  Probably not though.  But we have to kill them.

Precinct 3 Commissioner David Garza shoots for a 3 pointer:

“There are too many irresponsible pet owners.”

SCORE!  [crowd goes wild]

Judge Cascos:

“If Mr. Dunkin wants to discuss it with us, it would be great to have a philanthropist to help us raise $500,000 for a new shelter,” Cascos said. “The county’s open to suggestions.”

So thanks for the offer of a camera and pet food but the only thing we want is 500 grand.  If you don’t have that well, we just have to keep killing all these pets right on the kennel floor in front of the living ones.  And cutting off heads, natch.

Because irresponsible public!

Gee, I wonder why they wouldn’t let the paper in to take photos.

21 thoughts on “The Cameron Co Pound Would Give Edgar Allan Poe Nightmares

  1. At risk of stating the obvious, nothing in the no kill equations states anything about building a new shelter and a foster program and off site adoptions instantly expand the capacity of the shelter for no cost!!

  2. OMG. There are LEASH LAWS! Death is imminent.

    What do you bet somebody tries to pass MSN there next?!

    Are there any vet offices in this community? WHO is chopping the heads off? I don’t know of too many licensed vets who would be willing to work in that sort of situation.

    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has it’s own lab for this sort of *research* on wildlife…this place sounds like the Walmart of death.

  3. I must have my head in the sand but I had no idea about cutting off heads to test for rabies. Is that common practice? I’m shocked.

    1. that is a common practice that even private vets have to do….the brain matter is what gets tested generally at the state’s health department.

    2. yeah- that’s how rabies testing is done. I’m assuming they then send the head to a diagnostic lab for testing (this makes me really, really happy that our local DLab accepts the entire body…)

  4. Yes, send us that moolah REAL QUICK ’cause building a new shelter is our county’s NUMBER ONE PRIORITY!! Just look at how much better things are in Memphis now (for the employees)with a *NEW* shelter!!

  5. How on earth do you find all of this awful, gut-wrenching material every day? Blach! I have to admit, and I’m not proud of this, but part of me wants to never look at your blog again so that I can go on being oblivious to all of the horrible goings-on in “shelters” across America. But I won’t. I just don’t really know what to do!

    I already volunteer and help out some really great no-kill shelters in my area… And I have some moral issues with some of the groups that save the lives of shelther pets in high-kill facilities around here. For example: there is a group that devotes ALL of their time and money to ‘saving’ dogs from a local rabies control only to turn some of them over to back yard breeders and the like… Um… aren’t they just insuring more work for themselves? I feel like there are worse things than death sometimes. Such as being chained in a backyard and bred over and over again. If you’re going to “save” them from certain death, why not take the next step and have them altered? Just my opinion.

    I guess I have gotten a little off subject… my point is, what do I do with all of this knowledge (that I sorta wish I didn’t have)?

    1. I hope that this knowledge will motivate some (or even one?) to get involved in political advocacy on the local and state level. If we had CAPA type laws in place in every state in this country, a lot of this abuse would be against the law. As things stand, most pet killing facilities have free reign to do as they please. Some even have a small army of dedicated volunteers to champion their killing ways and whitewash it all for the public. CAPA could do so much good for community pets if it was passed.

      Sometimes I don’t want to read my blog either.

      1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that to my best friend or to my boyfriend. “Why do I read this stuff? How can I UNKNOW this heartbreak?”

        Followed immediately with “But if I didn’t, who would go stand in front of a shelter and protest? who would speak out?”

        It’s a horrible thing – knowing. It’s even worse when no one cares – and we can’t let that happen.

      2. Shirley (or anyone),

        1. Is there anything more we can do to try to pass CAPA than write senators, who probably dont even read our emails? I feel so helpless when it comes to stuff like this. I just want to know what else more we can do.
        2. What/do any states already have CAPA?
        Sorry if these are heavy-handed questions..

  6. Oh man. This makes me sick. This is probably even worse than MAS, if you can believe it. I dont even know what else to say.

  7. My reaction to this post is Are these people really people? Doesn’t seem like it to me. Just greedy people who don’t care about a thing except their pockets!

  8. “Cost so much to do so little” — tagline for most new animal shelters?

    How about the old “where there is a will there is a way” and do more to save more?

    All across the U.S. we need new leaders with a better vision of what can be.

  9. Until the old crews who has ran these hell-holes are gone, it seems almost impossible to get justice for the kids. Even some brite & shiney new shelters are still being ran by these ‘status quo’ people and they aren’t ever going to change either until laws like CAPA are forced on them.

    It’s going to take all-everybody’s efforts to get new rules, regulations & laws on the books to help those who need help the most; that is the old head up their ass folks who like it like it is. Because they do need “professional” help if they think it’s ok to treat dogs & cats like they do.

  10. Sounds like they need to partner with transports until the time they can figure out how to stop killing some other way. Terrible.

  11. The profile for San Benito, Tx (near the shelter) shows a very low income area, but Harlingen, only 5 miles away, has better income, and both places together have over 75,000 population. Sounds like a lot of possible homes to me.

  12. Can anyone explain how “we have leash laws” = “we must kill pets in front of each other and decapitate them in full view of the kenneled dogs” ?

    I hope the media continues to press the issue.

  13. If the animals get adopted there will be more available kennel space and the animals will not have to be killed. Has this concept not occurred to these idiots? They have plenty of food because they kill the animals and do not have to feed. Are they really feeding and taking care of the animals if they do not allow people in to see them?

    South Padre Island is located in this county which I find ironic since it is a vacation destination.

Leave a Reply