Tuesday, November 22, 2022

City Council Down to Two for Election Certification

San Angelo City Council conducted business with two members.  The two elected officials acted on a motion to accept the results of the November election.  Is that allowed given Council's quorum requirements? 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Spay/Neutering San Angelo's Legions of Unaltered Pets

info@cvpaws is yet to answer this inquiry.  On 11-1-22 I asked:

I am interested in learning the # of Dog and Cat SNIP vouchers PAWS issues per month.  What is the current number issued and does PAWS plan to increase that number to serve the City Animal Shelter? 

On 9-14-22 I asked Executive Director Jenie Wilson:

Which vets/vet clinics take PAWS SNIP vouchers as a general rule?

That question remains unanswered although PAWS website states participating vets are list on the SNIP voucher.   PAWS website indicated 30 dog spay/neuter vouchers are available for the next 30 days.  Annualizing that figure equals 360 SNIP vouchers.

City of San Angelo policy makers need to consider the magnitude of our unaltered pet problem.  The Animal Shelter released nearly 1,500 unaltered pets the last two years, 760 in the fiscal year just ended.

There is a significant population of unaltered pets in San Angelo neighborhoods.  If City leaders want the Animal Shelter to have space to actually serve citizens then there is a serious backlog to begin working. 

Animal Shelter Chief Morgan Chegwidden said in 2020:

Once we’ve achieved and maintained 90%, we hope to become a community resource to families in need.
The problem of unaltered pets in our community will continue to grow, especially when leaders are OK with ring fencing the Animal Shelter. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

PETA Letter Missing from City Council Agenda

The City of San Angelo released the agenda and background packet for next week's City Council meeting.  It does not include consideration of PETA's letter encouraging Council to reverse the closing of dog intake for November for public safety reasons.  

The Animal Shelter is on the Consent Agenda.  Item P is:

Consider a resolution accepting the donation of outdoor kennels and play yards to Animal Services (Morgan Chegwidden)

The donation includes 25 outdoor kennels and a play area.

Concho Valley PAWS has fundraised private dollars to construct outdoor kennels and play yards to offer enrichment to canines housed at Animal Services as well as provide for efficiencies in cleaning entire rooms of kennels empty of dogs for more thorough disinfecting. They will install 25 outdoor kennels directly south of the building as well as one large play group east of the animal shelter. The estimated cost of the project is $41,750 to be funded entirely through private dollars collected and remitted by Concho Valley PAWS.

During the roach infestation and horrific hoarding conditions the City purchased 24 stainless steel cages at a cost of $23,659.98.  City maintenance staff set them up in the 4H Building.  What is the current status of those 24 cages and how do they relate to this project?

Items not on the agenda cannot be discussed.  The public would like to know the status of the city's  review "of all the information that was in the letter sent by PETA."

An option would be to ask the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee for advice, however there is no ASAC meeting scheduled.   

It's hard to see where any policy setting body is considering the issues raised in the PETA letter.  

(PETA is short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.)

Update 11-15-22:  City Council met today.  It did not pull the kennel donation from the consent agenda so the item passed without discussion.  The Mayor did not ask for future agenda items at the end of the meeting.  So, the December 13th meeting is Council's next chance to have the city's PETA letter response discussed in public.  The next ASAC meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2023.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Mayor/Council's Response to PETA Concerns?

San Angelo's City Council has been encouraged to pass an "emergency citywide ban on breeding and selling animals in order to assist ones who are now in crisis and to require the city shelter to protect animals and the public by accepting every animal taken to it."

The recommendation came via letter to Mayor Brenda Gunter and members of City Council from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).   

City Council has options in responding to PETA's letter.  It could seek the advice of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee (ASAC).

The Animal Shelter Advisory Committee makes recommendations regarding Animal Services policy to the City Council.

The ASAC will not meet again until January 2023, although the Chairperson Caitlin Wylie could call a meeting at any time.  

Shelter Chief Morgan Chegwidden is the Staff Liaison to the committee as well an ASAC committee member (Single Member District #6).  Chegwidden led the shelter since July 2017 and supervised the reduction of animal related services to taxpaying citizens.  

Under her leadership the shelter experienced a dog poisoning/cleanliness crisis (November 2021) and the recent roach infestation/horrific hoarding conditions (August 2022). 

A responsible City Council would take action in response to the PETA letter.  It remains to be seen what that is.  

Update 11-8-22:  ConchoValleyHomepage ran a piece on PETA's letter.  It stated:

The City of San Angelo told Concho Valley Homepage staff that they are still reviewing all the information that was in the letter sent by PETA.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Few Breeder's Permits Issued by City of San Angelo

San Angelo residents are confused by the large numbers of puppies contributing to Animal Shelter overcrowding given the city adopted a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance in 2015.  At the time Council included a requirement that citizens obtain a breeders' permit in order for their pet to reproduce. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals weighed in the recent shelter crisis.  Their statement included:

PETA points out that while the shelter is turning animals away, anyone who pays a nominal fee can circumvent the city’s spay/neuter law and breed animals, inevitably adding to the flood of homeless ones.

PETA does not know that most of the puppies and kittens came from people who did not pay a nominal fee via the purchase of a breeder's permit.  Over a seven year period the city issued 16 breeder's permits.

PETA is unaware that the shelter does not have to comply with city ordinances.  The Animal Shelter released nearly 1,500 unaltered pets over the last two fiscal years.  It holds unaltered dogs for years, even allowing pregnant dogs to deliver in the shelter.  

Veterinary services contractor Concho Valley PAWS had two months to perform spay/neuter surgery and prevent the June birth of seven puppies into a shelter with endemic parvo.  They failed to do so.

PETA noted:

Astonishingly, residents are reportedly now being asked to house stray animals for the city, a plan that’s dangerous for animals and residents alike when untrained laypeople try to do the job of trained animal care and control professionals. 
This is ancient history under Pets Alive.  The shelter began choking off intake in 2019 and that hold got tighter and tighter until the shelter stopped taking dogs altogether.

The Animal Shelter has been full of large, long stay dogs.  The city has prioritized difficult to adopt dogs over service to citizens under Pets Alive.  City Council endorsed shelter operations, even through a poisoning event that involved adoption contractor Concho Valley PAWS publicly pleading for volunteers to clean shelter cages.  Council continues to support leadership that steered the shelter into horrific hoarding conditions amid a roach infestation.  

San Angelo residents don't care for outside groups telling them what to do.  That said, there are plenty of residents deeply concerned about the fencing off of Animal Shelter intake and the abject failure of Animal Services to enforce spay/neuter requirements and make the shelter "bad citizen" proof regarding spay/neuter.  Council is yet to listen to locals with statistics, facts and testimony.  They won't give PETA the time of day.

What will get Council's attention is an incident with a connected member of the community or an area employer.  It's a matter of time before that happens.

Friday, November 04, 2022

Aggressive White Dogs at ASU

On August 5, 2022 two large white dogs roamed Angelo State University's campus.  ASU Police received a call from university staff regarding the loose dogs at 9:16 am.  Before being detained the dogs attacked an Education Professor walking her two dogs on campus.  

ASU Education Professor --------  called University Police to report being attacked by two aggressive white dogs around S. Johnson and the crosswalk. Stribling said the dogs were last seen walking towards the University Center. Dispatch informed --------- that the dogs had already been detained and Animal Control had been called.
The Professor described the incident as frightening and said help from bystanders kept her or her dogs from being injured.  

Callers dialed Animal Control in addition to the ASU Police.  The dogs' owner drove up and retrieved his loose pets, according to the ASU Police report:

the owner of the dogs drove up in a vehicle bearing TX:----- , TX DL--------:  ----- lives on W. Ave K. The dogs were released to him. Animal Control had not arrived on scene at this time.

City of San Angelo Animal Control had this document regarding the incident:


No response to a Police involved incident from Animal Services.  That happened in December 2021 just blocks away with two large white dogs, one aggressive.  Had Animal Control responded they would be in a position to know if these two incidents were connected and if citizens with pets in the area should be concerned if two large, white dogs are rapidly approaching.  

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Animal Services Promotes Shelter Intake Cutoff

SALive interviewed Shelter Chief Morgan Chegwidden and PAWS Executive Director Jenie Wilson the day after the city announced dog intake would be closed for November as long as the canine census remains over 170.  

Morgan continued her exclusive promotion of PAWS, saying the net reduction of over 100 animals through life saving measures was "entirely due to our relationship with Concho Valley PAWS and their life saving programs they offer."  

The City is extremely appreciative of all of the people and organizations that have stepped up in this time of need to help with temporary fosters and relocations of animals.
Chegwidden made no mention of other area rescues who took shelter animals during the roach infestation/horrific hoarding conditions.

Morgan said "we want to be answerable to citizens that invest in us.."   Shouldn't that be citizens who invest in the mission of animal welfare?  Otherwise, the shelter is just part of a political apparatus.

Citizens interested in attending the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee meeting had four opportunities to do so in the last seventeen months.  On 10-20-22 the ASAC stopped answering questions from citizens in attendance as public comment is not a question/answer session, especially for items not on the agenda.  The same thing happened at City Council on 11-1-22.  So there really isn't a forum to get answers from Shelter leadership for people committed to animal welfare.

There is SALive, where Joe Hyde and Yantis Green get to lob softball questions for Morgan and Jenie to answer.  Shelter capacity will remain an ongoing problem due to the city's charging pet owners for their animal's shelter stay ($86) and microchip fee ($13).  If their pet is unaltered, add the cost of a citation ($150) and court fees ($76).  Those fees and fines total $325.  Irresponsible pet owners may leave their pet in the shelter rather than pony up hundreds of dollars. 

City Council did not act on staff's recommendation for a monthly amnesty day on shelter fees or putting $10,000 towards low cost spay/neuter for low income residents.

Cats everywhere, dog packs, all made worse by the shelter releasing nearly 1,500 unaltered pets the last two fiscal years.  And the answer is to close dog intake?  San Angelo's pet problem will be as impressive to area employers as the condition of the streets where stray dogs roam.