Aransas Pass Animal Control has upset more than just the locals of the Texas town after the city’s manager announced a new policy to euthanize all animals that stay in the shelter longer than three days. In a letter to the residents of Aransas Pass on the city’s Facebook page, the city states that the number one responsibility of Animal Control is to control the stray animal population. The letter pointed out that Animal Control is not intended to be an adoption facility. The temporary new policy, adopted by city manager Sylvia Carrillo, was implemented June 20, according to Action 10 News, who only discovered and reported on it this week.
The Aransas Pass city manager admitted that the new euthanasia policy may violate a city ordinance which calls for the adoption of stray animals when possible, but she feels that the policy is more critical than any ordinance. “I would say the entire health population overall is important which is the intent of that and any ordinance is the overall public health as the overall protection of the community,” Carrillo told Action 10 News.
Problems within the Aransas Pass Animal Control were cited by Carrillo as lack of funds, insufficient veterinary care, improper paperwork, and loose adoption polices. The City of Aransas Pass posted a job opening for a new Animal Control Officer last month which calls for the “euthanasia of animals on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.” According to Aransas Pass Progress, one officer, Carol Crockett, was suspended without pay recently. The suspended animal control officer ended up resigning from the position. Aransas Pass’s city manager said:
“We have, in the last five years…steered away from our mission. Our mission is animal control, and that is controlling the animal population. Which means our primary goal should be euthanization. We have not planned accordingly or budgeted accordingly. Without the assistance of our local (veterinarians), which nobody has really stepped up, we have to go back to euthanization.”
The city’s manager said that Aransas Pass strayed from their mission. She pointed out that the city needlessly relocated opossums and skunks. Crockett, the animal control officer who quit her position, according to the city manager, should have just killed those animals instead of relocating them. Crockett said, “I can’t do that every day. I can’t go home and live with myself.” The city manager argued that, while euthanizing healthy animals every day would be difficult, it’s just part of the job.
The City of Aransas Pass had not properly budgeted for adequate veterinary services and claims the animal control facility was never set up for adoptions. The city manager explained that a recently adopted animal ended up dying of parvo. She says that without proper veterinary care that could happen again and urges the community to think about how the possibility of future disease would be “pulling at the heart strings of a child who just had an animal adopted.”
Cheryl Schneider from Georgetown, Texas said:
“As an open admission shelter director that adopts out 60% of the 7500 animals that come to the shelter yearly and has a save rate that exceeds 90% for 3.5 years, I have to say this is a tragedy. The city manager is SO misinformed and uncaring, it is sickening. It doesn’t take a bigger budget, it takes volunteers and programs that don’t cost a thing and your donations will pour in to cover those medical expenses. This is so barbaric. How is the public health protected and the number one reason for animal control is to protect the public against rabies. Way to go for getting it all wrong. No way will I ever spend a dime in this town again. Who is going to walk those healthy, adoptable dogs and cats to the kill room? What if the family is on vacation and their dog gets out. Way to serve the public.”
Aransas Pass is conducting a survey of its residents to see if they’d be willing to pay a $5 surcharge on utility bills to cover animal care services, but on the city’s Facebook page, residents want to know if their $5 will be for a 100 percent euthanasia-based facility before committing any extra funds to animal services. Animal Control falls within the Public Works division of Aransas Pass’ governmental structure.
Survey on animal control topic. The city would like your input. http://t.co/fKe7ojwEHE
— Aransas Pass Police (@AransasPassPD) July 3, 2014
Crockett was the Aransas Pass’ only animal control officer certified to perform euthanasia. Until certification is granted to another officer, Dr. Neal Floerke, a veterinarian from the neighboring City of Taft, will be performing Aransas Pass’ animal euthanasia. Dr. Floerke is a board member for the San Patricio County SPCA, which practices TNR, but still has no facility. The city manager stressed the importance of spaying and neutering, but neglected to mention successful Trap-Neuter-Return(TNR) programs that have controlled feral communities in other areas around the nation. Aransas Pass’ city manager hopes that the SPCA’s animal shelter, once built, will provide the housing and adoption services for the area’s strays.