Thursday, November 11, 2010

Houston TX - Still in the dark ages

Click2 Houston offers this depressing news article on three Houston shelters' unforgivable stance on pit bull type dogs. "Should pit bulls live or die?"
Statement from Houston SPCA:
"The Houston SPCA does not adopt pit bulls."

Mission Statement: Our mission is to promote respect for all animals and free them from suffering, abuse and exploitation.

Statement from Houston Humane Society:

"The Houston Humane Society does not adopt out pit bulls due to their dangerous nature and liability for the shelter ... While these animals may seem friendly, all too often they are ticking time bombs as they are extremely powerful, unpredictable and can cause serious damage and even death. Attacks by pit bulls frequently come without warning and the shelter would face serious liability if they adopted out a dog that subsequently attacked a person. In addition the shelter faces danger for even housing pit bulls as criminals involved in dogfighting rings often break into shelters to steal these dogs. Adoptive families may also be targeted as well." - Sherry Ferguson, Houston Humane Society Executive Director.

Mission Statement: The Houston Humane Society (HHS) is a non-profit animal shelter dedicated to eliminating cruelty, abuse, and the overpopulation of animals.

Harris County Animal Shelter

"In this line of work, it's very, very difficult to determine the good ones from the bad ones." - said Dr. Dawn Blackmar, Harris County's director of veterinary health. Blackmar is also a veterinarian and runs Harris County's animal shelter. She says so many pit bulls come into the shelter abused and mistreated, so there's no way to know their history. She says there's no way to know if the pit bulls were bred to fight or even what could trigger a violent attack.

One Houston shelter rises above. From the news piece, "BARC believes good pit bulls are making good pets for responsible owners. (Adopter and veterinarian) Susan Pickle says her new pet, Rosy, is proof pit bulls are not all bad. "I just don't think it's justified, and I think people need to give them a chance," said Pickle. "I think there are a lot of good dogs out there that are being killed, and that's all it is, killing them.""

Photo: A homeless dog that was lucky enough to avoid Houston Humane, Houston SPCA or Harris County Animal Shelter. She's now waiting for a home at BARC. Find her here.

Hat tips to facebook friend Bonnie Marugg for calling out this news piece.

30 comments:

S Jezebel said...

When will people get the term Responsible Ownership....

HP said...

How can they preach a mission statement of eliminating animal cruelty when they are contributing to it?

Also, more times than not, the issue isn't attacking people, it is getting into it with another dog. According to one of the police officers that worked on Michael Vick's case that I spoke with last year, he has never felt threatened by "fighting dogs", only dogs that were raised to protect drug houses. He says that when you enter a dog-fighters house, many of those dogs will run and hide until they realize you aren't going to hurt them. When will people realize that there are so many great, amazing pit bulls out there that just want a roof over their head and love? Unfortunately, much of Houston's citizens will never be able to meet those dogs since their shelters are preventing them from getting forever homes...

Dianne said...

On Saturday, the League sent home a 2 year old black pit to a young family which included a baby and a cat. No one thought for a moment that he could be a "ticking time bomb" or any other sort of liability. I think we need to find a pit bull savvy person with the ACLU. This stuff has to be unconstitutional.

mayziegal said...

Utterly and completely tragic. It's one thing to hear this nonsense from the uneducated masses. But to hear it spewed from organizations who should know better (and thereby continuing to feed misinformation to the uneducated masses) - well, it's just tragic.

Beth said...

So many things wrong about this - hard to count the ways. Tragically, the most "respected" person by others, the vet, is helping to drive the misconceptions about all shelter animals when she states there's no way to know the history and thus, the conclusion is drawn that they could be violent at any time. This especially hurts our dear pibbles but its an all too common misconception about all shelter animals. I'm surprised a vet would buy into the notion that violence happens without warning and they are ticking time bombs (UGGG)

Bombarding them with hateful comments and/or articles about all the "good" things pit bull isn't all that effective and hateful comments many times lose the message, so how do you change the minds and hearts?

Joel said...

Unless it's due to liability or political pressure, how in Hades can any halfway responsible/knowledgable animal shelter use the term 'ticking time bomb'? If that were even remotely true pit bulls would be somewhere between heart disease and cancer on leading causes of death.

And this is from somebody originally from Cincinnati.

Pit bulls 'seem' friendly???? I've met a couple of hundred that apparently should be up for Oscars.

Dianne said...

Also please check out this video about Pets 2 Vets, which partners with WARL to place shelter pets with veterans with PTSD. Dave Sharpe calls his pit bull Cheyenne ("Chey") his savior.

http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,671301612001_2030797,00.html

Bett Sundermeyer-No Kill Houston said...

Houston has FIVE kill shelters that together are killing 80,000 animals every year. The Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society & Harris County animal control automatically kill all Pit Bulls. The news report didn't say whether Citizens for Animal Protection also kills all Pit Bulls. http://bit.ly/95Fw9i

At least BARC (which is Houston's city animal control) gives Pit Bulls the same shot at adoption as other breeds. However, all animals have a 65% chance of being killed at BARC so it is not quite as lucky as you state. A 65% chance of being killed is not a whole lot better than a 100% of being killed. http://bit.ly/cBVmGX

In Houston, at least 3 of the 5 kill shelters automatically kill all Pit Bulls. Houston has a lot to learn when it comes to being a compassionate city to animals, but a lot of us already knew this. Read this to learn the SERIOUS issues in Houston’s shelters. http://exm.nr/bKOTy2

Amanda said...

Wow, with animal welfare friends like that, who needs enemies?! "Ticking time bombs," really?! I can't believe that is part of any rational person's reasoning. Sad.

Better go, i can barely hear over all the ticking going on here in my house. ;)

gamebred said...

its sad and scary to me that educated people in the "rescue" community can make such uneducated irrational judgements. just makes me so sad and angry. it usually takes some personal experience for people to change their minds about pitbulls and that is why i think the open houses BADRAP does are pivotal to changing public perception. its just too bad some people wont open themselves up to that sort of healing. there is no such thing as an unpredictable dog.

Bonnie said...

Citizens for Animal Protection does adopt out pit bulls. They aren't no kill and I've been told pitties some times get bumped to the top of the list because they want to keep the shelter from becoming all pit bulls. I've also heard - albeit from questionable sources, they have told people who wanted to drop off a dog they are all ready at their max for pit bulls. I've also seen them marketing and working hard to place pitties. They also have a great program where families that need to rehome home there dog for whatever reason can drop them off during the day to try to find a new home and then then take them home at the end of the day. Matter of fact anyone who's looking should check out Angus at CAPS

http://www.cap4pets.org/pet-adoptions/dog-adoption?start=10

Leslie-Ukiah said...

My girl will be 11 in February, the bomb hasn't gone off yet.

Jennie Bailey said...

Wow. Just wow. We take a great leap forward and then people like this YANK us back. Please, let's not call these people educated when they clearly are not. It's not the least bit difficult to tell the good DOGS from the "bad" DOGS (I don't even like using the term bad when it isn't he dog's fault that he didn't receive the socialization, training and love a responsible home would give him). The fact that they are just blaming one breed when the bites in their area paint an entirely different picture? And how insulting to the people of Houston that their shelters don't feel they can be trusted to be responsible owners. This is just really, really sad.

Anonymous said...

Dog genocide. :(
Such sweet pups.

Anonymous said...

Sherry must have been misquoted. She must have said pit bulls are LICKING time bombs, because, as we all know, once they get started giving kisses there's just no end to the love and enthusiasm.

If "...the shelter would face serious liability if they adopted out a dog that subsequently attacked a person", how do they rationalize adopting out any dog of any breed? Dogs don't come with a guarantee. They are living, breathing individuals. Doesn't this shelter evaluate their dogs to determine temperament prior to any adoptions?

Sherry -- it's 2010. Perhaps a little research might yield some startling new facts since the 1980s. Scary to think this is the mentality of an Executive Director of a large metropolitan shelter. Gives me a greater sense of appreciation for my local shelters and their management.

s&b/mty

EmilyS said...

What a strange "coincidence" that this article, with those damning quotes from "experts", appears at the same time that a Texas legislator is promoting breed ban legislation.

The news media is just a neutral reporting mechanism.

The Foster Lady said...

Hard to believe that shelters like this still exist in this country, when so many others are making great strides forward. Very sad. Glad I don't live in Texas. Though, actually, I live in the Philly area, and that's bad enough with Vick here...and the newest 'hero' in town.

dr.chagnon said...

It is so discouraging to see the ignorant trash that is spewed by those who are supposed to know animals better. It would suggest they really don't know what they are doing since they can't tell a basically good dog from a truly dangerous one--shouldn't that be a basic requirement to run an SPCA? Our own dogs sure "seem friendly" but all too often they will turn on you and....LICK you mercilessly while flogging you with their unrelenting tails. Truly vicious.

The Warren's said...

As a Texan, this hits a nerve. As said many times before, and proven with dogs from the vick case, responsible owners are the key. Maybe someday society will understand that. It's just a shame.

gjwriter said...

This is a sad story. BSL is nothing more than politicians forcing people management on those who refuse to manage themselves. Human beings need to be 100% responsible for their actions, period. What has happened in the industrialized society is the swelling belief that someone else will take care of those who won't be responsible for themselves.

sharabang said...

You can own a tiger in Texas but not a pit-bull what the hell is wrong with these people !!! maybe you should rethink who you should be going after I think I'd rather go face to face with a pit it might lick me to death but I'm sure the tiger would eat me !!! get your damn priorities in order TEXAS!! or are you all as dumb as George Bush !!!

r. said...

Texas statutes actually have stiff penalties for unfair and deceptive trade practices. But the SPCA still gets away with saying on their website, year after year, that they give all adoptable dogs a chance at adoption. Even their fine print doesn't include that "adoptable" is defined to not include pit bulls -- they just would rather potential donors not know. Kind of like how they don't publish euthanasia rates. I would have no problem with them being a limited-admission shelter if they were actually open about it, but they're not. They promote themselves as an open-admission shelter that gives all dogs a chance. And nowhere, not even in the find print, do they say anything else.

I wish someone--even if only the media--would hold them accountable for their false advertising.

Millie Hubbard - Ft Myers, Fl said...

I think that if they are going to live by this ridiculous and unjust stance, they need to remove the words "HUMANE Society" from their title, this stance is anything BUT humane. This is nothing more than a way to rid themselves of the most needy dog in the country by taking the easy way out for themselves. Simply medieval...seriously.

Diane; The Dog Diva said...

Ticking time bombs? Attack with out warning? These are JUST the myths that our pit bull educatino class (had one last night) serve to dismiss. And does she REALLY think that all those other dogs they adopt out don't have the POTENTIAL to bite or attack some one?
Hello? Anything with teeth can bite, I can bite! Don't know about the rest of you out there but our shelter has never been broken into by dog fighters....
I know I'm preaching to the choir here...but just had to vent a bit.
Thanks.
Diane

Christie (and her dog Tiffany) said...

Wow, that is messed up. I feel so bad for the dogs that suffer because of this kind of ignorance.

I volunteer at a shelter in IL, and we're the only one in the area that regularly adopts out pit bulls. On occasion, you might see one or two up for adoption at animal control, but I figure they must take in more than that. It's sad.

Anonymous said...

i have lived in houston my whole life and BARC is actually a kill shelter as well. i have had several friends save pitbulls just in time from being euthanized at BARC. a WONDERFUL no-kill shelter in houston is Friends for Life. they do not discriminate against any breed of dog (and the majority of dogs they have are pitbulls) and they run the rescue with fosters (every dog has a foster that they live with and they bring the dogs to the rescue for the day to find any potential adopters. so no dog is left in a kennel all day and all night).

Zbyszek said...

uch a shelter for liquidation, and the people working there on the pavement throw

Cheryl Huerta said...

As a pit bull advocate myself working tirelessly along with my fellow advocates here in Portland and with as many of the pit bull owning community as we can gather each month for a Bully Walk this is very sad if not very sickening. For 'so called' canine experts to state that pit bulls are ticking time bombs and also that they are so difficult because they don't know the history of the dog is a travesty at the very least. The history of the dog, of any dog, is not important and anyone who works with dogs or who claims to be an canine expert should know that and if they don't know it they shouldn't work with dogs and they shouldn't claim to be an expert. What is important is how the dog is evaluated, how it does in the evaluation and what a human can do to help rehabilitate it. Fortunately we don't run into anything like this here in Portland Oregon where all the county shelters have pit bulls, all of them do their best to rehabilitate them if it's needed and also work tirelessly to get promote them to the public for adoption. I hope that the people of Houston get with the ACLU or someone else and sue the hell out of their Humane Society which doesn't appear to be so humane at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across this article. I live in Houston. BARC is one of the worst shelters. I've heard horror stories about the way they treat animals. Please don't let them fool you into thinking they care. Houston has a dogfighting problem and the city does not give a damn about the Pitties. We have several great rescue groups for Pitties. It really bugs me that Houston is always trying to act like they are so great when in reLity they haven't done a damn thing about the Corridor of Cruelty. Once again, volunteers stepped up. Good animal people reside in Houston, but they sure as heck aren't working in our shelters.

Anonymous said...

I have personally seen pitbulls of my elderly neighbor who walked over to my face and tenderly lick it and lay their head on my leg when i was injured. Granted, some pitbulls you cannot save, but if shelters start discriminating against a BREED, not a specific dog, then they're just as bad as everyone else. It's like saying all chihuahuas are vicious, which is not true as i have had 3 who wouldn't hurt a fly. I love the Houston Humane Society, but this new rule is stupid