Outside City Hall, about a dozen men and women are quietly walking in the plaza, carrying signs. They read “No More Killing” and “Bring About Real Change.”
Lydia Caldwell is the sort of de facto leader of the group.
“We need SNAP on steroids in this city. We need them like Starbucks.”
SNAP stands for Spay and Neuter Assistance Program.
“It’s not about forcing people with mandatory spay/neuter laws to spay/neuter their animals, it’s not about that at all. It’s about affordability and accessibility.”
This is an area where animal advocates and animal control officials agree. One of the quickest simplest ways to reduce animal kill rates is by spaying and neutering cats and dogs.
“We would not have this problem if we had good animal birth control in our community.”
Kathy Barton is the spokeswoman for the City of Houston Health Department, which oversees the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, or BARC. She says they don’t see animal problems throughout the city. They see it in generally low-income neighborhoods that have no or poor fencing.
“More opportunities for spay and neuter services in certain neighborhoods would do us a world of good. And the ability to put more officers and more educational outreach officers in certain neighborhoods would do us a world of good.”
Right now BARC doesn’t have an executive director to guide those kinds of initiatives. And that’s why advocates are rallying at city hall. They want the city to appoint a candidate who has experience running no-kill shelters.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.