Reporting Joel Thomas
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Facing a desperate life or death decision, Fort Worth code compliance officials had to find homes for six dozen sheltered animals or kill them Wednesday night.
They saved them.
But after a brief reprieve, they returned Thursday to a broken record: Yet another influx of stray animals, more overcrowding and the depressing likelihood that the city’s shelter will have to euthanize its first animal since 2010.
“All that did was get us back to capacity, so we come in this morning and we play the same game of, ‘how many are coming in and how many are going out and what kind of accommodations will have to be made again to save the animals?,” said Scott Hanlan, Assistant Code Compliance Director.
CBS 11 viewers who saw Wednesday’s report, which followed the department as it struggled to find a way to avoid killing any animals, wanted to help. One woman came in for one dog and left with two.
“I felt sad because I always want to adopt animals,” said Iberia Davis, pictured above. “It just hurt me that they were going to put them to sleep and they might not have a chance.”
Shelter employees are scrambling. Some worked until 11 p.m. Wednesday to find home or rescue groups for 77 animals. Without the moves, the animals would have continued to suffer in overcrowded conditions.
The Fort Worth Animal Shelter has to house two and sometimes three dogs in cages meant for one. Some of the older animals have spent more than a month in the shelter without being adopted.
Despite these conditions, animals continue coming in at a steady pace. The decision to return to euthanizing animals is a difficult one for the shelter’s managers.
“We are never going to adopt our way out of this problem,” Code Compliance Director Brandon Bennett said Wednesday. “We’re never going to get there.”
And in a move that surprised many, the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it understands the city’s fateful plight.
“This is something not unique to Fort Worth,” said spokeswoman Teresa Chagrin. “Until people act responsibly and stop breeding and start spraying and neutering, this will just continue. There is only so much space at a shelter and it’s not humane to keep them in a cage forever.”
“It is a tragic, humane option.”