Texas Shelters In Turmoil Amid Viral Outbreaks And Accusations Of Abuse

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Texas shelters regularly struggle because, in most areas, there are more dogs than there is space, forcing organizations to put them down. Sadly, Texas is one of the states that euthanizes the most dogs, but shelters and rescues keep working hard to save more dogs every year. Even so, challenges continue to occur.

In 2023, many Texas shelters are already in turmoil because of viruses and diseases spreading rapidly. One shelter is even being accused of having abusive management. So, what is happening to Texas shelters and how can the public help?

Sad puppy at Texas shelter

Virus Outbreaks in Texas

Since Texas shelters are often overcrowded, they’re at a higher risk of disease outbreaks. BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions in Houston was recently forced to halt their dog intakes because of a positive distemper case. Distemper is a highly contagious disease that typically affects puppies. 80% of puppies with distemper don’t make it and 50% of adult dogs die.

All the dogs that have been exposed to the distemper-positive canine have been isolated and are awaiting test results. Luckily, this case was caught early. So, with proper cautionary measures in place, the shelter should be able to operate again soon.

RELATED: What Is Distemper And Should I Worry About My Dog Getting It?

However, they aren’t the only Texas shelter dealing with a virus. El Paso Animal Services is also dealing with a distemper and strep zoo outbreak. They had to close down the facility to deep clean public areas. All the dogs are going through testing after several illnesses were reported. They’re only open to emergency intakes at the moment until they can get the outbreaks under control.

Dog waiting at Texas shelter

Abuse Accusations

Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS) is another shelter that recently dealt with a distemper and parvovirus outbreak. They closed to the public for safety reasons, but the outbreak wasn’t the only issue inside the facility.

According to several sources, the current owners of the shelter, Darrell and Kelly Mayfield, have allowed abuse to occur. A few former volunteers noticed that many dogs were sick without being treated. Some animals would disappear without an explanation. One former employee even claimed that the Mayfields were putting sick puppies in the freezer instead of humanely euthanizing or treating them.

Of course, shelters are under a lot of stress right now and they can’t always save every dog. But they should never purposely let dogs suffer, especially when they have the resources to do better. So, many dog lovers are speaking out against this shelter and demanding that the directors change. Luckily, a transition plan has been proposed so a new board will soon take over.

Shelter puppy in person's arms

Helping the Dogs of Texas

The general public may not be able to make distemper disappear or speed up the board changes at CLASS, but Texas shelters can always use some help. If you want to help save dogs in Texas, here are a few things you can do:

  • Adopt – If you’re looking for a new family member, adopt a dog from a shelter to free up space for another dog in need.
  • Foster – When you foster, a dog gets to stay in your home instead of the shelter, which also frees up space for a dog to be saved.
  • Volunteer – As long as there isn’t an ongoing virus breakout, most Texas shelters will happily welcome volunteers to help care for the dogs, making running a shelter more manageable for the other people involved.
  • Donate – Both money and supplies are beneficial to shelters. If you’re unsure what supplies they need most, just ask. Some rescues outside of Texas may raise money to transport Texas dogs to shelters in other states with more space, so that could be another great cause to donate to.

Times are especially difficult for Texas shelters right now, but they can always benefit from dog lovers stepping up to help. So, anything can make a difference, no matter how small.

Adoptable dog at Texas shelter

Featured Image: Facebook

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