Special Report: Pet Over Population at the Animal Shelter

POSTED: Friday, July 3, 2009 - 8:47am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:33pm

The Animal Care and Regulation Center in Brownsville is a busy place, everyday family pets, strays and unwanted pest wind up on their doorsteps in need of a home. Not all of them are lucky enough to find one and some have to be put down because of pet overpopulation. NewsCenter 23's Janine Reyes brings us their story in this special report.

We visited the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Control Center and after a typically busy day, they'll have more pets to identify and photograph the next day. That will begin their journey to a happy home or an early death. On any given day inside the animal shelter the clock is ticking for any given animal. The shelter is a place familiar to one and half year-old Jack. They adopted him out at four months-old, but when he grew up he became too active and his owner brought him back, but too much energy for one person may be just what another is looking for. Yvette Cumpian became immediately attached to Jack and shelter staff hopes a run out back gives Jack just what he needs, a happy home.

While Jack's being put to the test outside, back inside, a handful of pets sit in an employee's only hallway. Unfortunately for all these animals their time is and in a nearby room, half a dozen just turned in puppies will face the same. Just weeks into life, its over for these pups, the owner turned them in with mange and while it's treatable, there's no way for the shelter staff to take on the expense or time it takes to cure it.

So, for pets like Jack to stay, others like the puppies need to go. Nelly Zamora, who works at the shelter, says it's the hardest part of her job and she does it more than an hundred times a week. In fact, the shelter did go No Kill for 90 days in the summer of 2007, the result a failed inspection by the Health Department. The shelter was put on probation when the inspector found the facility crowded, no segregation for sick animals and recommending euthanasia for unclaimed strays.

He blames overcrowding cat kennels for keeping the facility from being dry and clean and even suggested more staff to keep the facility sanitary. A month later with the pet population at the shelter back down, it passed. These pets will be some of the 20 that are put down daily with injections and their lives will be gone in minutes and their day that began inside the shelter with food, water and care will end in a body bag

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