Animal activists protest at city Animal Services meeting

Animal activists protest at city Animal Services meeting
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POSTED: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 10:23pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 9:27am

Animal activists gathered in big numbers Wednesday, to send a message to the city. They're upset with the number of animals that are being euthanized in El Paso.
An animal activist group displayed a chain of 2,497 links meant to represent a collar for each pet that was euthanized in June.
The group spoke during public comment addressing numerous issues they feel Animal Services is not tending to.
On the agenda were items that included, making changes like education and public outreach on the importance of spaying and neutering, reducing the number of cats impounded and euthanized and a proposed program for educating city ordinance offenders.

"In 1999, the city signed a resolution to make the City of El Paso a no kill city and the problem with that is its been 14 years and last year they actually had about 238,000 euthanizations. They euthanized 238,000 animals," said Charlie Moreno with El Paso Pets.Org.

The city's Environmental Services Director addressed the issue.

“It's not really a growing number, its just been a problem for a number of years. We have an enormous pet population of both cats and dogs and the reality is unless we trap them and neuter them and return them to their colony, they're gonna be euthanized, said Ellen Smith, the director of Environmental Services.

The city's Environmental Services Education Committee has already implemented specific programs meant to educate in the hopes of reducing euthanizations, like partnerships with PetSmart and local schools to pass out info on spaying and neutering, hosting adoption events and lastly, marketing to promote that information hoping to reach the community.

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As a member of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee (ASAC), I do sympathize with the frustrations voiced at tonight's meeting. However, the proposed remedies for the most part treat the symptom - the huge number of euthanizations annually - and not the underlying disease - an uninformed and largely irresponsible public to whom a pet is merely an animated possession to be abandoned or discarded when no longer "interesting". To suggest the ASAC and the city don't care is highly insulting.

she would rather these animals stay in El Paso and be euthanized than to cross a state line. Again, this is another example of the dysfunction within this committee and you sit there and allow this to happen. If you are insulted because you and the rest of this committee was "called out" for not doing your job then step up, speak up and start doing your job! Or resign and let someone who is willing to do the job fill that position so El Paso can become a no kill city.

This rescue had to submit all of the same required paperwork and documents to become a rescue partner with Animal Services that all the rescues have had to do. Environment Services and the city attorneys reviewed and verified all the documents, this rescue passed and was given a rescue partner permit. And the reason for this committee member's fishing expedition.....she doesn't want animals from El Paso to go to New Mexico. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

When another committee member "calls out the rescues" because she feels the rescues are not "pulling" enough animals from Animal Services and that is a cause for the higher euthanasia rates, one of the local legitimate and reputable rescues steps up and starts pulling more animals. Instead of thanking this rescue for saving more lives, this committee member goes on a "fishing expedition" to discredit this rescue because the rescue is located on the edge of Texas and has a chaparral address.

But this is not the first time this committee member comes to meetings unprepared and contributes nothing to the meetings. When you review previous months meeting minutes, this is a pattern with her. And not one other committee member questions this, instead you are fine with this lack of any action and accept it because is the norm for this committee who's motto is "take no action".

If education is the answer to becoming no kill then you need to hold your own committee members and yourself accountable for the dysfunction of this committee and the lack of any education from this committee. The chairperson for the "Public Education, Outreach and Responsible Pet Ownership" subcommittee sits in a packed room filled with members of this "ignorant community" as well as news media and with a smile on her face she says" I haven't prepared anything and I have nothing to report".

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