Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Face of the City Animal Shelter for How Much Longer?

Concho Valley PAWS Executive Director Jenie Wilson spoke with San Angelo Live.  Jenie could have admitted that not fixing pregnant shelter pets had contributed to its gross overcrowding.  PAWS provides veterinary services and is responsible for getting shelter pets fixed per city ordinance.

Wilson also had ample opportunity to inform the public of PAWS spay/neuter services while stressing the need for citizens to fix their pets.  She missed it.

For years the city let Wilson be the public face of the City Animal Shelter.  I expect city leaders to pull that role back after City Council meets Thursday.  

How will Council ensure a sanitary animal shelter where pets are housed safely going forward?  A November 2021 crisis in cleanliness had Wilson inviting the public in to clean cages.  During that period someone with shelter access poisoned the dogs, killing three.  The city conducted no investigation and made no operational changes as a result of that poisoning.  The case was referred to SAPD but charges have yet to be filed.  

There is a need for a greater strategic reorientation of shelter services but that requires listening to citizens, local rescues and making the shelter "bad citizen" proof regarding spay/neuter surgeries.  That includes fixing pregnant pets in shelter care.  

Years of widespread spay/neuter can eventually reduce the flow of pets into the shelter.  Until that day comes citizens expect the shelter to not look like a horrific hoarding situation.  

Update 9-22-22:  Oddly, no one from Concho Valley PAWS gave public comment at City Council this morning.  Their all out public relations campaign had a letter to members of Council and city leaders, yet no PAWS representative(s) showed up to make those points to elected officials in person.  Even though it was not on the agenda City Manager Daniel Valenzuela spoke about the city's efforts to gather information to provide a better way forward.  

City Council remains AWOL on these three questions:  How were conditions allowed to get so horrific under shelter leadership?  How can this be prevented in the future?  What can Council do to ensure public trust in Animal Services?

Update 9-23-22:  City Manager Daniel Valenzuela said "Animal rescue groups must work together."  Actually, the City Animal Shelter needs to have quality services that make the shelter "bad citizen" proof regarding spay/neuter.  The Shelter needs strategies that ensure pets safe, sanitary facilities, serve citizens in need, don't exclusively cater to Concho Valley PAWS and over time reduce the numbers of stray/unowned pets in San Angelo. 

Update 10-21-22:   The "It's not our fault" PAWS PR tour worked.  PAWS remains the public face of the city Animal Shelter.  A shelter update has been requested for City Council.  Will it address PAWS assertion that shelter staff are overworked and underpaid?

The city continues to exclusively promote Concho Valley PAWS as a source for low cost spay-neuter.  The more things change the more they stay the same. 

Update 10-27-22:  The City issued a press release with "A message from our adopting agency Concho Valley PAWS."  It's on the shelter being full of long stay, large dogs.

Update 1-2-23:  Concho Valley Homepage selected the Animal Shelter as a top story for 2022.  It reads like PAWS wrote it.  

Neither the city or PAWS accepted responsibility for prioritizing large, long stay dogs over tax paying citizen needs, as well as releasing 1,500 unaltered dogs from the shelter in the last two years and not enforcing the mandatory spay/neuter ordinance since its adoption.  There has been no willingness to examine the disastrous Pets Alive strategies, which operationally remain in place. The rest of the animal rescue community washed its hands of the city shelter.  Citizens and SAPD have no belief that Animal Services wants to assist pets in need, outside a shelter mostly filled with unadoptable dogs.


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