Harris County

Harris County Public Health Animal Shelter waiving adoption fees due to overcrowding

All adoptable animals at the center are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and have a one-year Harris County pet license.


Harris County Pets is temporarily waiving adoption fees and suspending some animal intake services amidst over-crowding and a staffing shortage at its shelter.

The Harris County Pets Resource Center is overcrowded with over 750 animals currently under their care.

Adoption fees at the center will be waived for all dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies at least until the end of June to decrease that number.

Corey Steele is the Associate Director at Harris County's Veterinary Public Health. He said the shelter is nearly 300 animals over capacity.

"We have 768 animals here currently. Our shelter's only meant to hold 243 dogs and 225 cats so we're definitely over capacity," he said.

Public health officials say all adoptable animals at the center are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and have a one-year Harris County pet license.

According to the center, 40% of animals brought to the shelter are surrendered by their owners for various reasons. Steele said overcrowded animal shelters are a community issue.

"You know, we have a lot of puppies here currently in the shelter and some of them were born in the shelter," he said. "We got them while they were pregnant. So it's incredibly important that people are spay and neutering."

Public health officials say warmer weather brings breeding season, and Houston has nearly year-round warm weather. However, loose spay/neuter laws also potentially contribute to frequent overcrowding in city shelters.

Sara Saber is a co-owner of the Three Dog Bakery, a local dog bakery with two locations in Houston. She said Houston has a trifecta for the high population of homeless dogs.

"A year-round breeding season, very loose backyard breeder laws, and very loose to no spay and neuter laws," she said.

However, some organizations feel spay and neuter laws are ineffective for Houston's Animal issues.

"Mandatory spay/neuter laws do not do as much to promote responsible pet ownership as we would hope, but they can and do punish pet owners who want to fix their pets and are financially unable to," the organization, Fort Bend Pets Alive, wrote.

In regards to backyard breeders, Steele agreed unregulated breeding can lead to more unwanted animals that are abandoned or surrendered to shelters.

"Harris County Pets may also experience this situation at its facility, however, it is difficult to track animals that actually come from these breeding activities," he said in a statement.

Patricia Ortiz

Patricia Ortiz


Patricia Ortiz is a daily reporter for News 88.7. Her work includes a variety of topics including transportation, technology, energy, immigration and education. Patricia graduated from the University of Houston in Fall 2022 with a Bachelor's in Journalism. She spent most of her college career at the university's literary magazine,...

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