I am writing in response to your editorial entitled “A passion for animals, a passion for the facts.” The irony behind your title is that your editorial failed to capture the true facts that generated the public outcry and protest against the plan that was presented.
Fact 1: The Friendswood Police Department presented its initial proposal to repair the floor at the June 18 meeting to the Friendswood Animal Shelter Advisory Committee. This plan relied on farming out the animals to other neighboring facilities if space permitted.
Fact 2: The plan included little detail with poor timing due to the project taking place during the Fourth of July weekend. There were no specifics on where animals would be placed, no specific information on how many kennels would be made available at other area facilities, and no guarantees to protect the animals.
Fact 3: It is well documented that the early part of July is the worst part of the year to take on a project of this magnitude. During July, all area animal facilities see a significant spike in the number of animals.
Fact 4: The plan presented only relied on 10 kennels that were to be provided by the Alvin Animal Control facility to house any strays that might be picked up during the project time frame. It was not clear whether these kennels would be made available by euthanizing animals already occupying kennels. Based on intake history, these 10 kennels would not have been sufficient.
Fact 5: The Friendswood Animal Advocates continually asked the animal control supervisor to share what plans were being made to repair the floors in order to partner with Friendswood Animal Control to ensure safety of the animals. The supervisor was repeatedly asked if the city could ensure no euthanizing if it partnered with advocates. His response was, “that is unrealistic.”
It is ironic that the Friendswood Animal Advocates works with the Friendswood Animal Control to prevent the needless euthanasia of animals on a daily basis, which is demonstrated by the successful adoption rate driven by this partnership. This begs the question, why didn’t the plan presented by the Friendswood Police Department seek to include working with the Friendswood Animal Advocates in its plan to repair the floor?
Fact 6: The Friendswood Animal Shelter Advisory Committee voted to postpone the project because of the poor timing and because the plan lacked sufficient information to answer many of the committee’s basic questions.
Fact 7: The committee requested the Friendswood Police Department return with a more detailed plan that would ensure the safety of the animals.
With these facts in hand, you can probably understand why there was a public outcry.
There are responsibilities of citizenship and in this case, the facts allowed the citizens of Friendswood and animal advocates from all areas to learn through social media that an inadequate plan was being put forward that would have put the animal’s lives at risk.
As a result of the passion demonstrated by the public, a more detailed plan is being put together which accounts for contingencies and takes place during a more ideal time in the year. This ultimately results in a plan that minimizes the needless euthanizing of animals to the greatest extent possible.
Melanie Reyes is president of the Friendswood Animal Advocates.