The City of Baytown is a step closer to ensuring that one day, no healthy adoptable dogs or cats in its municipal shelter will ever be killed again.
A resolution that would commit Baytown to becoming a no-kill city by 2025 was discussed at the Aug. 24 City Council meeting. The proposed measure will be voted on at council’s Sept. 14 meeting.
A Life to Live has been leading the push for a no-kill Baytown. Councilman Robert Hoskins, who we worked with on the resolution, showed his full support by introducing the proposed measure at the Aug. 24 meeting.
The goal as outlined in the resolution is that by 2025, 90 percent or more of all healthy adoptable animals entering the city’s animal control facility will be saved. Further, the resolution states that the city supports implementing programs and policies to become a no-kill facility by increasing live outcomes and decreasing euthanasia.
A coalition of animal rescue organizations is setting the national no-kill standard. Best Friends Animal Society and its network partners, including A Life to Live, are leading the effort.
“It’s time for change. It’s time for a directive that’s guided by kind hearts, compassionate arms and sound minds. It’s time for our city leaders to pronounce their opposition to euthanizing healthy and treatable pets and commit our city to a life-saving directive, one which our city and community can and will be proud of,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live.
Garrett was followed to the podium by three others we invited to share additional information on why achieving a no-kill Baytown is so important. The speakers were:
· Salise Shuttlesworth, executive director of Friends for Life
· Dr. Mary Kate Lawler, executive director of SNAP (Spay-Neuter Assistance Program)
· Whitney Bliton, local program cities specialist for Best Friends Animal Society.
The presentations received positive responses from Mayor Stephen DonCarlos and several City Council members.
“If council approves this resolution, it lets you know that this group of elected officials is committed to move us forward to a no-kill standard. We think it’s an admirable goal,” DonCarlos said.
As part of the proposed directive, the city would support working with the community, rescue and animal welfare groups, and the veterinary community to implement a comprehensive plan to reach the no-kill goal by 2025. That plan would be presented to City Council no later than Dec. 31, 2018.
The resolution also states that the city would develop a Facilities and Operational Master Plan, with funding provided in the 2017-2018 annual budget to further the stated goals.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, approximately 2 million homeless dogs and cats are killed annually in America’s shelters. That means nearly 5,500 animals are killed every day.
Of the approximately 330 no-kill cities in the United States, eight Texas cities have achieved no-kill status. This is according to the national database project, Shelter Animals Count, and public websites.
On hand at the City Council meeting to show their support for the no-kill resolution was a huge contingent of A Life to Live volunteers and others from the community. We appreciate the great show of support for this vital effort to save the lives of homeless animals in Baytown.
We hope to once again fill council chambers on Sept. 14 when the resolution will be voted on. In the meantime, you can watch the Aug. 24 presentations and discussion at http://baytowntx.swagit.com/play/08242017-1127/33/.
Words and photos by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator.