TX Dept. of Health: Old Shelter May Have Violated State Regulations
By BOB PALMER,
A national expert estimates a Jefferson animal shelter should care for an average of 10 dogs, not the 80 dogs discovered when members of the Humane Society of Marion County intervened last weekend.
Brent Toellner, senior director of national programs for Best Friends Animal Society – a leading proponent of no-kill shelters based in Kanab, Utah – noted a town of 2,000 should produce about 100 dogs for the shelter each year.
“The goal is to have the animals going out as fast as they are coming in,” Toellner said. “You should have ten on hand.” After reviewing the Jefferson shelter situation, Toellner drew several conclusions. “Sounds like they are bringing animals in, but no adoptions are taking place,” Toellner said.
Toellner suggested the shelter should advertise where the public can come out and meet the dogs or take dogs to a feed store where people can “meet the dogs, fall in love and adopt them.” The expert thought something more than poor management may be in play.
“Sounds like it was more of a hoarding situation,” Toellner said. “I don’t use that term lightly. That’s what all these indications look like.” Toellner said the state of affairs does happen. “Unfortunately, this (hoarding) happens in this field from time to time,” Toellner said. “People get in over their heads.”
Toellner laid out what expenses the HSMC can expect with the shelter going forward. “The way the math works,” Toellner said, “is to figure about $600 per animal that comes in. Some you won’t spend that much money on. They will be adopted quickly.
$60 times 100 dogs equals a shelter costing $60,000. Toellner also recognized another problem. “When you don’t have a county shelter, they all come into the city,” Toellner said. “The county should pay for a little bit of that.”
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Health noted Tuesday, animal shelter in Marion County may not be exempt from state regulations just because the county’s population is less than 75,000.
“State regulations governing animal shelters are not a requirement for smaller counties, unless that shelter is a rabies quarantine facility or impounding facility,” Chris Van Deusen, DOH spokesman said.
The Humane Society shelter did impound stray dogs found inside Jefferson and quarantined possible rabid dogs. “The still have to meet state regulations but are not required to have a veterinarian inspection and an advisory board,” Van Deusen told the Jimplecute. Enforcement of regulation falls to local authorities.
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