On Tuesday, the Harris County Animal Shelter received a big donation that they say will help save animals’ lives and tackle the area’s stray problem at its root.
Houston PetSet, a local nonprofit that awards grants to other Houston-area animal nonprofits, along with philanthropist Jan Duncan, donated $743,541 to the shelter.
Volunteers and county officials say that money will pay for more staff and longer hours for their low-cost spay and neutering services and help transfer around 300 animals a month to out-of-state shelter looking to take in more animals to fill their sometimes nearly-empty kennels.
“We got an email the other day…from a shelter in Wisconsin,” recalled Purvez Captain, a shelter volunteer. “That said, ‘I’m a 75-animal shelter. We’ve got three dogs left. After these three dogs are adopted, I’ll have an empty shelter. How quickly can you send the dogs?’”
Clear Channel also donated 13 billboards to help spread the word about the shelter, which often gets confused with the City of Houston’s BARC shelter but is a separate operation.
Finally, the additional money will help Universal K9, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that trains shelters dogs and donates them to police departments across the state, rescue more dogs.
“Where these dogs were in the shelter, costing taxpayers money, or where there (was) the possibility of them being put down because of their looks, we’re now turning them into productive members of society, and they go out and do the same work as any other dog,” said Brad Croft, Operations Director for Universal K9. “We specifically look for pit bulls, and we train them for various law enforcement activities like detection work and tracking.”
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said many of the ideas funded by the donations sprang from the stray animal summit the city and county held last October.
“What did come out of the summit was the need to pay attention to the spay and neuter issue, and we are doing that,” said Emmett.
Emmett told KHOU he hopes to hold another summit later in the summer.