Fort Worth Plans Expanding Animal Medical Ward

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – How ill animals are treated at city pounds is one of the biggest complaints of animal rights groups. Fort Worth city officials say that’s why they’re planning a huge expansion of its animal isolation and medical ward.

“We can hold up to 400 dogs right now but we have only eight isolation kennels,” said Fort Worth Code Compliance Director Brandon Bennett, pointing to the floor plan of their current building with a highlighted area showing where the new facility would go.

The problem is properly handling ill animals: In a crowded kennel, they have to be isolated before they spread their sickness to other animals.

“And that’s part of the problem, we don’t have enough medical space or enough isolation space for the animals that are ill,” said Bennett.

The director says the city currently has eight isolation chambers; the expansion will bring them to 58. This is good news for animal activists, who are concerned about the ways sick animals under the city’s care have been treated.

“Well, recently they’ve just been killing them,” said Suzette Watkins, founder of No Kill Fort Worth, an animal rights group that wants city shelters to move to a ‘no kill’ policy.

Sick animals need isolated rehab areas. Sometimes rehabilitation can take several weeks. It’s also space most cities don’t have. Fort Worth wants to change that in its shelter; thus, the plans for the huge expansion.

There’s still a huge hurdle, though –– but, first, cue the broken record: money.

The project will cost $1 million to build and begin operating. Operations will cost $270 thousand a year after that.

As such, Fort Worth is looking for private sector help. They had success in teaming with PetSmart by putting in adoption centers in some Fort Worth stores. The city now is able to adopt out all of the healthy animals in its animal control center.

“But there’s still these hard-to-find-homes-for animals that we know if we had more time to either work with them or more time to find the right rescue group we could find them homes also,” Bennett said.

The expansion, Bennett says, would save 1,500 animals a year.

More from Joel Thomas

One Comment

  1. No Kill Fort Worth says:

    This is all well and good, except not much will change until the foundation is changed and there is a cultural shift in the way the Chuck Silcox Animal Center is managed and operated! For example, the epileptic dog, Rex, that was not given his meds, recently died in his kennel at the center. You don’t need an iso ward to give meds. The shelter is not managed by compassionate people. This has to change in order for the taxpayers of Fort Worth to get the full benefit of their dollars spent and for lives to be saved. Where is the army of Volunteers? Where is the compassionate Shelter Director? Where is the community involvement? Why is City Hall still saying that we do not Kill adoptable animals? Where is the Trap-Neuter-Release program?
    Thanks so much for reporting on our shelter animals. We sure appreciate you!

  2. Marsha Rahn says:

    It is simply not true that “The city now is able to adopt out all of the healthy animals in its animal control center.” The shelter needs to stop saying that! It is one thing to say that all of the animals adopted out are heathy but it is not true to allow the public to believe that all healthy animals are adopted. Healthy, adoptable animals are killed evey day because of lack of space. The shelter needs more volunteers and should establsh foster program to allow the animals a chance to get out of the shelter. A No Kill shelter is possible.

  3. Debra Allen says:

    Someone asked one of the workers at the animal shelter in Fort Worth how they could stand to kill animals every day. The worker said, “You get used to it.”
    That tells you the state of mind of some of the workers at this shelter. It doesn’t sound very compassionate to me!! You should check out the facebook page ( the volunteers at this shelter run and see all the adoptable animals that are on the euthanize list daily! They are often labeled aggressive but when visited proves to be untrue. The volunteers do all they can to get these animals saved but often only have a few hours to share their photos to save their lives. No Kill is possible if the shelter is willing to work with the volunteers!!

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