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Harris County, City Of Houston Will Try To Improve Coordination Of Animal Control

Judge Ed Emmett is organizing a meeting because of recent incidents that have shown jurisdiction conflicts for animal shelters.


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Dog waiting for new home at Houston's BARC
Mauricio Zepeda/BARC
Dog at Houston’s BARC

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner are leading a meeting this week to discuss animal control in the region with a focus to improve the way the county and city shelters coordinate their work.

Emmett is organizing the meeting due to recent news reports about the fact that county shelter didn't pick up dead dogs because they had been found in the city's jurisdiction.

The county shelter is located about 10 miles north of downtown Houston, but it is supposed to only take care of animals from unincorporated areas.

Emmett says the county and the city need to work together more efficiently.

"We’ve got to figure out a way, not only for the city and the county to work closer together, but all the groups, the SPCA, the Humane Society, all the rescue groups, and so that we can be as efficient as we can in dealing with this population of strays," Emmett noted at the end of the Harris County Commissioners Court bi-weekly meeting.

In addition to county and city officials, about 20 local groups specialized in animal care will be present at the meeting.

Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of the county's Public Health Department, emphasized that improving coordination is necessary in such a big geographical area because some stray animals can pose a real threat.

"Dangerous animals can bite and dangerous animals can have rabies," explained Shah while adding that "there are all sorts of conditions that are really a challenge with dogs and obviously other kinds of animals, but dogs primarily."

Shah added the county and the city can also collaborate in programs to promote animal adoption and vaccinations, as well as public campaigns on spay and neutering of pets.