Harris County officials share ways to reduce homeless animal population during pet breeding season

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioner Adrian Garcia joined the Harris County Public Health in an announcement Wednesday about the start of the pet breeding season and ways residents can support the Harris County Pets Resources Center.

According to the HCPH, spring is when weather conditions are ideal for many animals to breed, including cats and dogs. As a result, shelters across the country receive a sudden uptick of newborn homeless pets and become overwhelmed to care for them.

Harris County Pets, an open-admission municipal shelter for unincorporated Harris County, faces the daily challenge of a high animal population due to a large number of impounded strays and owner surrenders.

“There is an urgent need in dog adoptions, particularly medium and large breeds,” Hidalgo said. “An overcrowded shelter stretches resources thin, it puts an extra burden not just on the staff but also on our furry friends.”

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She said by fostering and adopting pets, it ensures they will have a serving home. Hidalgo said volunteering or donating also helps if you’re not able to adopt.

Garcia said the investment in these resources will help with public health by keeping strays off the street and preventing the spread of diseases.

Those who own pets and need financial assistance can receive help, such as vaccinations, at Harris County Pets.

“Adopting a stray is one of the best things we can do for our community’s health,” Garcia said.

Local animal rescue groups believe the homeless pet population in Harris County seems to be far worse than anywhere else because they’re in the trenches, seeing and dealing with it every day.

“The problem has gone unchecked for so long. The resources have not been utilized in order to get the population under control,” said Tena Lundquist Faust, Co-President of Houston Pet Set.

Houston Pet Set partners with Harris County by moving rescued animals from Houston Minnesota.

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While they recognize the county’s efforts, Houston Pet Set said the public plea for adoptions is like putting a band-aid on a wound.

What’s really needed? Massive spay and neuter, education, legislation and more resources from the city and county.

“The non-profits that we work with spend $67 million a year. The city and county spend $19 million combined. This isn’t a slam on BARC and this isn’t a slam on the people who work there. This is a call for help. This is a call for more resources,” Faust said.

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