Texas Representative Calls for No-Kill Cat Shelters

New legislation would encourage practices proven to reduce stray cats.

Local residents seeking to reduce the number of dogs and cats euthanized by Houston animal shelters received a potential boost this month, as State Representative Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) filed legislation to introduce “no kill” standards to dog and cat shelters statewide. Houston shelters put down roughly 80,000 cats and dogs each year, according to Bett Sundermeyer of No Kill Houston, an animal advocacy group. The City of Austin, which adopted similar standards in 2008, claims to save 92 percent of dogs and cats that pass through its facilities.
The Texas Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) takes aim at practices that advocates say lead to unnecessary killing of cats and dogs: insufficient efforts to spay or neuter cats and dogs, deficient record-keeping and failure to work collaboratively with dog and cat rescue groups.
“There is little sense in Texas shelters killing animals at taxpayer expense, when private non-profit rescue organizations are willing to spend their own money to save them,” Sundermeyer said. “Citizens of Texas have a right to have their tax dollars spent wisely. They have a right to see that their money is being used for the purpose it was intended to achieve: namely, to save animals and not to kill them.”
State law in California and Delaware already reflects the standards of the “no kill” movement. Other localities to adopt such standards include Reno, Nevada and Marquette, Michigan.
Representative Farrar explained her decision to file the legislation: “I represent a district where dogs and cats are in charge of many of the households. I respect the work of our local shelters, but I think there are reasonable steps that can be taken to reduce the number of animals that have to be killed.”
Sundermeyer, summing up prospects for the legislations, noted that “CAPA saves the lives of animals, it ensures that tax dollars are spent wisely, and it enhances public health and safety. It is a good public policy that has proven very popular in other states, with support that spans the political spectrum. People of all walks of life want to protect pets.”
Farrar’s legislation has been referred to the Texas House Committee on Public Health for further consideration.

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