Stray animals are a problem in several parts of Houston and Pasadena deals with the same predicament.
On average, the Pasadena Animal Shelter has been taking in more than 7,000 animals a year, mostly strays, since 2014, according to data provided by the shelter.
That doesn’t surprise Antonio Luviano, who works at a metal workshop in the north section of the city.
Luviano says he has seen a bit of everything, from small puppies to big dogs “and it’s bad for the kids, you know, they could attack somebody.”
Some of them do attack.
Shelter officials say in 2015 there were 210 incidents of animal bites.
One of the main risks caused by bites from stray animals is that they can spread diseases such as rabies.
Patricia Ortiz lives close to Luviano’s workplace and is also familiar with the issue.
She says the stray animal population in Pasadena includes mostly man’s best friend.
“Dogs… And they mostly come together at night because I have a small dog and he barks a lot at night because they come to our fence,” she tells Houston Public Media.
One way to decrease the stray population is to get residents to adopt more animals at the shelter because, hopefully, that way they won’t end up on the streets again.
With that goal, the City of Pasadena is building a new Pet Adoption Center that will use an innovative approach.
“We are gonna have rooms where they can get to know them, different petting rooms for cats and dogs, and just a better experience when you walk in to really understand what the animals like outside of the main shelter environment,” explains Carey O’Connor, marketing manager for the shelter.
“The animals’ demeanor changes quickly often when you get them out of their kennels,” O’Connor adds “and once you have that chance to interact with them you can see how their personalities really come out and see how they are going to fit in your family.”
Part of the strategy will also be to ensure long term care for the pets that get adopted, so the center will provide classes on how to provide that care, including the importance of spaying and neutering.
The new Pet Adoption Center is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2017.