Group: Fort Worth Unnecessarily Killing Animals

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Suzette Watkins runs Riverside Kennel in Fort Worth and is the head of the Fort Worth branch of No Kill, an animal rights group.

And she has a problem with Fort Worth’s animal control.

“I think that shelter management is lacking care and compassion and I don’t think they really know what’s going on at the shelter,” Watkins said.

She points to a state inspection of the city’s kennels from March of last year that cites animal shelter’s cages as being overcrowded and littered with stool. And, Watkins says, the city unnecessarily euthanizes animals in its care.
“The stuff at the shelter right now is intolerable and unacceptable,” Watkins said.

“The report from the state is extremely accurate,” said Brandon Bennett Fort Worth’s code compliance director.

Bennett said at the time of that inspection the shelter was doing exactly what animal rights groups wanted — keeping animals longer hoping for adoption or rescue. Those adoptions didn’t keep pace with the number of animals coming in.

“Even through the use of volunteers and community service workers and temporary labor it was still very difficult to stay on top of the pet waste,” Bennett said. “And even more concerning was disease control.”
Bennett had state inspections prior to March of last year and after March of last year.  Neither made note of any overcrowding and waste issues.

Bennett said animal control did learn some lessons with the experiment in March.  They stay open later to accomodate people’s work schedules and try to schedule appointments with people so they can spend more time looking for a new pet.  And, with the help of off-site adoption centers like at Petsmart, Bennett said adoptions are up more than 150% since may of last year.

But then there are dogs like Henry, Bennett’s own rescue dog. Emaciated and ill when he was brought in by animal control officers, Henry had to be quarantined for four months to prevent spreading a virus to other animals. Bennett did that in his home. But there is no place at the shelter for long-term quarantine and care for other animals, Bennett said.

“We try to get them into rescue, try to get them into adoption and if we can’t get them out the door that way unfortunately some of them will be euthanized,” Bennett said.

Bennett said the percentage of animals who found new homes or were rescued hit a record 66% in December.

Watkins said that number is still far too high and animal control can’t achieve a ‘no kill’ operation because it does not want to believe it is possible.

More from Joel Thomas
Comments

One Comment

  1. No Kill Fort Worth says:

    If Brandon Bennett was worth his pay and words, there would have never been a horrible Inspection at Fort Worth’s Chuck Silcox Animal Center! The fact that just a few months ago, Oct 2011, that Inspection was done is telling of Mr. Bennett’s out of touchness with the reality of the shelter operations. Of course, he’s going to have a shelter full of sick dogs when the shelter is filthy!

    They have had little to no Volunteers working the shelter and he is not committed to the 11 point No Kill Equation. He has said many times, he does not believe Fort Worth can become a No Kill Community! Therefore, we need to rid ourselves of him and hire people committed to the No Kill Equation and who believe that Fort Worth can become a No Kill Community. Otherwise, we are wasting too much energy on someone who is a naysayer and who we won’t be able the ‘change’.
    Find us on Facebook.
    No Kill Fort Worth

  2. Ruthie says:

    I am a Huge no kill advocate from Austin. Although it appears there are very serious issues in Ft. Worth, in order to really establish a no kill city, we will ALL have to learn to work together to find and implement creative ways to get to the 90% or above save rate. Bashing back and forth will only hinder the goal. Until the city decides enough is enough with the shelters current management, No Kill advocates have to find a way to establish a great working relationship. This isn’t about the humans. It’s about our cities animals who don’t have the ability to speak for themselves.

    1. Robineggs says:

      You are correct that everyone must work together. The problem is that the current shelter management is fine with killing the animals and does not see any reason to change anything. The process will, of course, take time. It cannot happen overnight, but shelter management must be open to trying new things and hearing new ideas. Just because this shelter has always killed many animals does not mean that it must continue that way forever.

    2. Vinnie says:

      One of the most prominent but absolutely worst myths in animal welfare is the idea that you need to get everyone on board to collaborate before you can really start saving lives— you know, the “we just all need to work together” meme. That is a recipe for more shelter deaths, I can assure you, because waiting for everyone to agree on a plan of action unnecessarily delays lifesaving actions and often results in not implementing effective progressive policies (to which many old-guard groups object).

      Dr. Ellen Jefferson, the leader of the No Kill movement in Austin, Texas, sums it up well in this article from Best Friends Magazine: “If you . . . spend a ton of time getting everyone on the same page, you’re not moving forward toward the ultimate goal. You want to have collaboration, but you can’t let that wish hold up the progressive work that needs to be done.”
      http://www.austinpetsalive.org/files/BFMagEllenJefferson.pdf

  3. LORI BOLT says:

    I BELIEVE THERE NEEDS TO BE A LAW IN PLACE!! WE SHOULD’NT HAVE THIS PROBLEM. THE MONEY COULD COME FROM TAX PAYERS. WE ALREADY PAY TAXES ON USLESS THINGS, SUCH AS CITY WORKERS GETTING SHOWERS. BY THE WAY, THAT MONEY WAS TAKEN AWAY FROM THE SHELTER…. THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED FOR PUTTING IN A/C UNITS FOR THE ANIMALS THAT BURN UP IN THE SUMMER AND FREEZE IN THE WINTER WHILE WAITING TO DIE!! ALL KILL SHELTERS ARE INHUMANE. WHY CANT ANYONE SAVE A DOG OR CAT? WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE A RESCUE GROUP? AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH GIVING THE ANIMALS AWAY FOR FREE? THEY’RE GONNA BE KILLED ANYWAY!! SO WHERE’S THE LOSS IN MONEY? IS THAT ALL ITS ABOUT? I KNOW THAT THERE SHOULD BE A FEE FOR VETTED ANIMALS; BUT MAKE IT A REASONABLE PRICE!! AND IF THEY ARE NOT ADOPTED, LET PEOPLE RESCUE THEM FOR FREE! WHATS THE PROBLEM WITH THAT!! THEY WOULD RATHER KIILL THAN SAVE A LIFE….. ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY!!!!!!

    1. Robineggs says:

      The fee to adopt a fully vetted animal is already only $45 including spay/neuter plus they routinely run discounted specials. Rescue groups can already pull fully vetted animals at no charge. The biggest issue at this shelter is the rampant illness that they can’t seem to remedy. The animals get sick in the shelter then are killed at an alarming rate. The environment at this facility is so miserable that volunteers do not feel welcome or appreciated. When visitors do come in to adopt, all of the animals are in the back instead of out in the front for viewing / visiting. I agree wholeheartedly that this shelter is a mess, but the adoption fees are not the problem.

      1. LORI BOLT says:

        ROBINEGGS…. I KNOW ADOTPTION FEES AREN’T THE PROBLEM! KILLING ALL THE ANIMALS IS THE PROBLEM!! AND 45.00 MAY NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH TO YOU, BUT WHEN THEY ARE GONNA BE KILLED ANYWAY; THEN JUST LET “SOMEONE” GIVE THEM A HOME FOR FREE! THAT WAS MY POINT! AND I DONT CONSIDER A RESCUE GROUP AN INDIVDUAL…… INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RESCUE!!! AND LIKE I SAID ITS NOT FAIR TO TAKE MONEY FROM SHELTERS TO PAMPER CITY WORKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Responsible Pet Owner says:

    The shelter staff at this shelter are very rude and they have a problem with sanitary conditions, and neutering animals. When I was there I witnessed a lady sweep yes SWEEP up poop and smear it across the floor. This puppy could’ve had PARVO!! and now she spread this poop across the floor. She then proceeded to get a dirty mop that was so disgusting smelly and falling apart and tried to mop it up. She did all of this ONLY AFTER I told her that it was unsanitary to sweep up poop and leave it smeared across the floor, which by the way me and my family had to walk across!!. They also had a dog in quarantine that had pooped several times in his water bowl and you could not even see clear water, it was filled with poop!! When I told the two people in scrubs about it they replied and I quote..” Oh that dog does that all the time”. Well I said, that is unsanitary and he needs fresh water. Do you think they even budged when I said that?.. NO they did not!!.. They also botched my dogs neuter and it required several laser treatments from my vet and 5 yes 5 different medications!! He got a horrible infection less then 24 hours of me having him!!. He had very bad Upper respiratory infection and kennel cough as well. I am glad I saved our dogs life and took it out of that nasty facility. They need to change there staff and clean that place top to bottom and I don’t just mean the kennels!!. If people here were really dedicated to saving animals as i am they would do whatever it takes!! Even if it means speaking up and risking getting fired and or taking it from your own pocket if you can as I have done myself!.

  5. Responsible Pet Owner says:

    I believe they can become a NO KILL Shelter they just don’t seem interested in putting in the effort. Just going in to there job having there routine and collecting a paycheck…

  6. Vinnie says:

    One of the most prominent but absolutely worst myths in animal welfare is the idea that you need to get everyone on board to collaborate before you can really start saving lives— you know, the “we just all need to work together” meme. That is a recipe for more shelter deaths, I can assure you, because waiting for everyone to agree on a plan of action unnecessarily delays lifesaving actions and often results in not implementing effective progressive policies (to which many old-guard groups object).

    Dr. Ellen Jefferson, the leader of the No Kill movement in Austin, Texas, sums it up well in this article from Best Friends Magazine: “If you . . . spend a ton of time getting everyone on the same page, you’re not moving forward toward the ultimate goal. You want to have collaboration, but you can’t let that wish hold up the progressive work that needs to be done.”
    http://www.austinpetsalive.org/files/BFMagEllenJefferson.pdf

  7. Vinnie says:

    Austin’s city shelter became no kill and they take in more animals than Fort Worth Animal Control. The #1 component of the no kill equation is to have a compassionate Director. Brandon Bennett seems to insert himself into every news story about the shelter and make excuses for not doing the right thing. At a meeting with rescue groups this summer he made it clear he had no clue who Nathan Winograd is or what the No Kill Equation involves. He seemed more concerned about getting to an appointment with his tailor for a suit fitting or having his nails manicured before going out to dinner downtown, than making life-saving changes at the shelter. He is too arrogant to admit there is a better way. He brags about helping 1 dog. Ask him about to 16,000-18,000 he and the shelter killed this year!! He has to go!!! Everyone who is not committed to the No Kill Equation must be removed from having anything to do with the shelter!

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App
Drip Pan: Video Player

Listen Live