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Animal Shelter, Activists’ Rift Illustrated By False Rumor

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – The rumor of a mass euthanizing of adoptable dogs at the Parker County Animal Shelter Wednesday proved to be bad information. But the rumor underscores tension between the shelter and area rescue groups.

Wednesday’s move of animals should have been routine.

Employees relocated a kennel full of dogs from one barn to another for pest exterminators to spray; it wasn’t supposed to trigger panic. But last December, a previous shelter manager put down nearly 30 adoptable dogs, said councilwoman Heidi Wilder.

So on Wednesday, pet activists feared the worst.

This was an understandable mistake, according to interim Weatherford Animal Control Manager Dustin Deel.

“By shutting one (kennel) down I could see why the perception might be there, but it was done just through general maintenance,” he said. “Right now we’re pretty much at max capacity.”

That’s 140 cages. Deel says he gets about 25 dogs and cats a day. But only seven or eight are adopted out. Survival becomes a numbers game, leaving pet advocates on edge.

They feel they could foster more animals.

The shelter confirms it had to put down about six animals Wednesday. Sadly, they say, that’s pretty much average.

“Unfortunately this is our busy time of year, said Deel. “Whenever you enter into spring and into the summer all of these animals are going to be having kittens and puppies.”

Pet groups would like Parker County to be a no-kill shelter. And so would Deel.

“Everybody in the shelter and probably the community is very much for that end goal of having 90 percent live release rate,” he said, noting he’s an interim director of only six weeks. “I think some of the tension happens when some of the groups want to have it overnight and it’s one of those things that’s going to take a little more time and resources and education.”

The December incident prompted volunteer groups to quit, taking tens of thousands of dollars of donations with them, said Councilwoman Wilder.

Now, individuals scrutinize shelter practices and attend shelter advisory committee meetings, like one that occurred Thursday afternoon.

LeeAnn Adams is with a new pet rescue group called Parker County Pets Alive.

“And it’s our goal and mission to partner with the shelter –– this is our shelter –– and we want to see this shelter to move forward in a positive direction,” she said.

She says if the shelter would post photos of adoptable pets and provide lists of animals marked for euthanasia, rescue groups could foster them.

She also sounds a word of encouragement: “So we’re hopeful they’ll partner with us and let us help them with various adoption events.”

And maybe start to rebuild some trust.

The activists have a Facebook page where they post pictures of adoptable animals named Help Weatherford Shelter Pets; click here for that.  To contact Adams, shoot her an email at leeannadams@hotmail.com

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