Here are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:
Are you a No Kill shelter? No. . . but we work very hard every day toward that goal. Although many organizations apply different definitions to No Kill, we believe that to be considered No Kill, a shelter must achieve a “live release rate” of at least 90% of the animals who come into the shelter’s care, reserving euthanasia for only the terminally ill or injured and animals too aggressive for rehabilitation. On January 1, 2013, we began working toward implementing each program of the No Kill Equation. Since then, we have made significant strides toward becoming No Kill, but we are not there yet. As an open-admission municipal animal shelter, we are required to take in all of the stray animals from within the city limits of the three cities we serve: Freeport, Clute, and Lake Jackson. In addition, we receive animals as strays and owner surrenders from all over Brazoria County and beyond. We currently intake over 3,000 homeless animals each year. Our shelter operates at or beyond capacity every day. Saving 90% or more of those animals is a huge undertaking, but we believe that it can be done, but only with significant support and involvement from our community. If you would like to help, we welcome your ideas and suggestions.
I just discovered my lost pet is at your shelter. How do I get him back?
The SPCA of Brazoria County operates the Southern Brazoria County Animal Shelter, located at 141 Canna Lane in Lake Jackson. The first thing you need to do is come to the shelter to identify your pet. The shelter offers extended hours for owners to search for lost pets. You may come any time our employees are present in the building, which is every day from 8 am until approximately 6 pm. If the front door is locked, please come around to the back and an employee will assist you. Once you are sure your pet is in our shelter, one of our team members will discuss our redemption policies with you. When an animal is brought in to the animal shelter as a stray, there is a $55 fee to reclaim it. There is an additional $10/day boarding fee if it is not reclaimed the same day. In addition, all animals who live within the city limits of Freeport, Clute, and Lake Jackson are required to be licensed with the city. If your pet is not licensed, before you can reclaim it, you must pay the license fee as well. This is $20 for pets that are not sterilized and $10 for sterilized pets. You also must provide proof of current rabies vaccination.
If your animal was found at large, animal control officers can issue a citation at their discretion, because it is a violation of city ordinance for your pet to be at large. Returning the animal to the owner rather than bringing it to the shelter is also at the animal control officer’s discretion. Animal control officers do not work for the SPCA of Brazoria County. They are employees of their city’s Police Department. Any questions or concerns regarding animal control officers should be addressed to the chief of police of the city where the animal control officer works.
Why do you charge fees for owners to reclaim their pets when the shelter is already full and you need to get animals out? What happens if my lost pet is there for a long time before I know it’s there?
The fees are set by city ordinance and the shelter board, not the SPCA. The fees help offset the expenses of running the shelter. The rest of the expenses are paid by the taxpayers within the cities of Freeport, Clute, and Lake Jackson. After an animal has been at the shelter for ten days, the SPCA begins to contribute funds for its support so that it has additional time to find a home. Up until the tenth day, all expenses are paid by the shelter through city taxes and reclaim fees.
All of us, including all of the animal control officers from our partner cities, WANT EVERY ANIMAL TO GO HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We work tirelessly day in and day out to get these animals off the streets and into a safe place and then back to the owners when possible. BUT WE HAVE TO ENFORCE THE LAWS OF OUR CITIES. None of us can act outside the scope of the law. If we are not able to return the animals to the owners, we get them adopted into new families as soon as possible. We don’t want any animal to have to stay in the shelter one minute longer than necessary. Under city ordinance, animals are only held for reclaims for 72 hours or 120 hours in the event that they are wearing a current rabies tag or city license tag. We cannot hold them any longer than this because we do not have sufficient space. As soon as the hold period is up, we try as hard as we can to get them adopted as quickly as we can.
My pet is missing, but he’s microchipped. Will you call me if he comes to your shelter?
When animal control picks up an animal, they scan it for a microchip. Sometimes, if they can reach you right away, they will return your pet to you without ever taking it to the shelter. If your pet does arrive at the shelter, SPCA staff scans it again within 24 hours to insure every pet is scanned. Each pet is scanned again before final disposition (adoption or euthanasia), to be sure that there was not a mistake. If your pet is microchipped, please be sure that you keep your contact information updated with your microchip company. Also, please make sure that your phone numbers are set up to receive voicemail.
What do you do to keep the animals in the shelter healthy?
When a pet is admitted to the shelter it is vaccinated. Dogs are vaccinated for parvo/distemper/bordetella. Cats are vaccinated with the FVRCP vaccine. This is to protect all of the animals in the shelter from the spread of disease while they are housed in very close quarters. When they are admitted, if they are sick or injured we treat for pain and if necessary, transport them to a local veterinarian for care, if we have funds available for such care. Funds for urgent veterinary care are available only through the help of our generous donors. All of our animal housing areas are disinfected daily with a bleach solution to kill germs and prevent the spread of disease.
Is there a veterinarian on staff at the shelter? No, we do not have a veterinarian on staff at the animal shelter. We contract with local veterinarians to provide spay/neuter services at our Low-Cost Spay Neuter Clinic in Freeport. We have several full-time veterinary technicians who provide simple medical services to our shelter pets, including vaccinations, a brief health assessment, internal parasite screens, and heartworm tests for dogs. All of our shelter team members monitor our shelter pets daily for any signs of illness or injury. If an animal at the shelter is ill or injured, our shelter team will assess the injury and/or symptoms and provide pain relief and antibiotics as necessary. If any animal is severely injured or very ill, and if we have funds available, we may arrange for care at a local veterinary hospital. We rely strictly upon donations set aside for this purpose. When you adopt an animal from our shelter, your new pet will qualify for a free wellness exam from one of our partner veterinarians. We strongly urge you to set up this appointment within three to five days of adopting your new pet. In the event that your veterinarian discovers a health issue that you are unable or unwilling to treat, you may return the pet to the shelter within ten business days. You will not receive a refund, but you will have up to a year to choose a different pet to adopt.
I found an orphaned/injured baby raccoon (bird, possum, or any other wild life). What should I do? Our community is fortunate to have a very skilled group of volunteers specifically trained to provide rehabilitation to wildlife. Please contact Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue immediately with any questions or concerns about wildlife.
What is parvo and how do I treat it? Canine Parvovirus is a gastrointestinal disease primarily impacting puppies, but adult dogs can get it too. The most vulnerable ages are six weeks to five months. Parvo is highly contagious and can live in the environment for years. Beginning symptoms are depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. Puppies often have severe stomach pain, which causes them to have a “tucked-up” stomach, which is sometimes the first thing you will notice. This is the classic look of a puppy with parvo.
Notice how the tummy is pulled in tight and the back is curved with the head held low. Any puppy that has an abrupt onset of vomiting and/or diarrhea should see a veterinarian immediately for diagnosis. Dehydration can set in very quickly, so symptoms indicating parvo should always be considered an emergency. Parvo can be treated with IV fluids and medication to control the symptoms. Antibiotics are also usually prescribed to prevent bacterial complications. If your puppy gets parvo, you must sanitize everything the puppy touched before you add another dog or puppy to your household. Sanitize all areas with a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 32 parts water and leave the bleach on the surface for 20 minutes before rinsing. The best way to protect your dog or puppy from contracting parvo is to follow your veterinarian’s vaccination guidelines. We follow a very aggressive vaccination schedule with the puppies in our shelter by vaccinating orphaned puppies at 6 weeks and every two weeks thereafter. Puppies that are with their mother are vaccinated at eight weeks and every two weeks thereafter. If you adopt a puppy from our shelter, we will give you his vaccination records. You should schedule your puppy’s free wellness exam with one of our partner veterinarians as soon as possible and continue your puppy’s vaccinations according to your veterinarian’s recommendations. To prevent the spread of parvo within the shelter, we vaccinate all dogs at the time they enter the shelter with a canine parvovirus vaccine and sanitize all animal areas with a bleach solution daily.