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Victoria residents plead for end to shelter's gassing of animals

By DAVID TEWES
April 19, 2010 at 4:04 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2010 at 11:19 p.m.


CHANGE OF SHELTER HOURS?

Residents Michael Welton and Jerry McCaskill also asked the commissioners court to change the days of operation for the city-county animal shelter.

Welton suggested closing it for half a day during the week and leaving it open half a day on Saturdays. "It's difficult for people to get to the pound during the week and Saturday hours will really facilitate more adoptions."

McCaskill asked the court to consider closing the shelter on Sundays and Mondays and leaving it open Tuesdays through Saturdays for the same reason.

Residents pleaded Monday for a more compassionate way to euthanize pets and other animals at Victoria's city-county animal shelter.

"My purpose today is not to seek any radical or unreasonable change," Victoria resident Michael Welton told the county commissioners court. "My purpose is to inform and educate and to increase our level of compassion for those that cannot speak for themselves."

Welton, who said he was speaking for himself, asked that the animal shelter quit using carbon monoxide to gas the animals and instead use legal injection when the animals are not dangerous.

Jerry McCaskill, a 16-year member of Pets Are Worth Saving, made similar comments.

"It makes me want to cry every time I think about an animal out there that's going to be put into a cage, pushed down a hall and gassed," she said. "There's got to be a more humane way."

County Judge Don Pozzi said he and other members of the commissioners court had already had calls on the subject and recognize it is an emotional issue. He said officials will continue to investigate how best to handle things at the city-county animal shelter.

"This is one of those things all of you know there is really no simple answer to," Pozzi said. "What may be an answer in one community may not be the answer in another community."

He assured those in the audience in support of the change their comments are being taken seriously and he hopes to have an answer for them in two or three weeks.

"We're not going to delay it for months," he said.

While Dr. Bain Cate, the director of the health department, was in the audience, Pozzi said he would not put him on the spot. Pozzi noted the public comments were made under the agenda heading of "citizens' communication," which does not legally allow the court to make decisions. He also said it was not the place to conduct a public debate on the issue.

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