Steve Bates trying to replace the Parker Paws volunteers?

On February 1st, a meeting is being held by Steve Bates, the director of the animal shelter, to recruit new volunteers to replace the Parker Paws volunteers. He and the shelter management have some measure of CONTROL over volunteers, and I think that’s why he’s try to corral all of us who want to see changes at the shelter into that category.

Here are a few things I’ve heard about how things are done at the shelter.

Steve Bates had a meeting with several Parker Paws volunteers last week. During that meeting, someone mentioned that the Plano shelter could take some of the Weatherford shelter’s dogs. One of the former Parker Paws volunteers said she would drive the dogs to Plano. Steve Bates told her they didn’t need her, that the shelter employees would take the dogs — but he said he wanted to see if this volunteer was a “talker” or a “doer.”

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(Interestingly, he used the same terminology in a phone conversation I had with him last week.)

Several hours later, ANOTHER former volunteer got a call from Steve Bates asking her to drive the dogs to Plano. I can only surmise that Bates was unable to get the shelter employees to take the dogs. The shelter has a big trailer that was donated by a citizen, I think, but volunteers are not allowed to use it to transport dogs.

The dogs got to Plano and a chance at adoption, thanks to a group of former volunteers. No thanks was forthcoming from Bates or the shelter employees. These volunteers have been donating their time and money — the shelter doesn’t even reimburse the volunteers for gas money — in order to help the animals that the shelter employees won’t and don’t.

Bates is a bureaucrat with no experience with animal shelters who was given charge of the shelter last March. Since then, he has been promising change, which has not materialized. That’s what happens when you shuffle bureaucrats around who don’t have the knowledge or experience to do their jobs.

People like Bates and Dianne Daniels, the shelter manager, are old school animal control people. The animal “shelter” is really a dog pound. They shuffle animals in and out according to some archaic policy and no one goes out of their way to find homes for all the healthy, adoptable animals who were once someone’s pets.

These old school people will all tell you how much they love animals, and maybe they do, all evidence to the contrary, but they haven’t evolved with the times. It takes someone with energy and vision to bring Weatherford into the present — and the future. All across Texas and across the nation, shelters are going No Kill. It’s a new age and we need people in charge of our shelter with energy and vision, who are up to date on new methods of caring for homeless animals. I understand that the shelter’s vet, Dr. Kaiser, was one of those people but the ignoramuses at the shelter wouldn’t let her do the job she had been hired to do.

Everything I’ve heard and read suggests that it’s time to put these dinosaurs out to pasture, if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor. But they won’t go without a fight. City employees have an established system of cronyism between the Sheriff’s office, the City Manager’s office, and the City Council that makes it difficult to change anything. For the sake of the animals, we must persevere. As Margaret Mead noted, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Think about this: if there is a hoarding case, for example, the animals that are seized are held at the shelter pending a legal outcome. That means that healthy, adoptable animals already at the shelter are killed to make room for the hoarder’s animals, which are kept at the shelter until legal proceedings conclude. Now, if those healthy adoptable animals are networked with rescue groups and internet resources, they can move on instead of being warehoused at the shelter until they’re killed. Finding homes and rescues for these animals–that’s the work that the volunteers have been doing — and work that the shelter employees SHOULD be doing.

If the shelter sends animals to the PetSmart adoptions, they can say that these animals are “live release,” which makes the shelter’s statistics look better. However — those animals are sent to the Ft. Worth shelter for vetting & neutering first. The Ft Worth shelter is an unhealthy environment due to overcrowding and unhealthy conditions, and some of the Weatherford dogs get sick there before they make it to PetSmart. Once they’re on the sick list at PetSmart, they can’t be brought back for a period of months for adoption. So they linger in the Ft Worth shelter, which euthanizes all sick pets. And this doesn’t affect Weatherford’s “live release” statistic.

We are gathering a group of people to attend the February 14th meeting of the City Council who think a change in policy and management at the shelter is overdue. We will keep interested members of the public informed on that.

_______________________________________________

Those who want to help make the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter a more humane “shelter” for abandoned and neglected pets, please join us tonight at 7:00 pm at:

Harberger Hill Community Center

701 Narrow Street, Weatherford, TX 76086

(817) 598-4333 

Remember – you cannot make a difference by remaining silent.

7 responses

  1. A very beautiful dog indeed. Has anyone thought about talking to the City of Weatherford and getting them to raise the number of pets you can have at your home without a permit.

    The City of Weatherford Pet Ordinance reads as follows and I have included the website link off the City Website: http://www.ci.weatherford.tx.us/index.aspx?NID=786

    Maximum Number of Pets, Pet or companion animal. Any animal kept for pleasure rather than utility; an animal of a species that has been bred and raised to live in or about the habitation of humans and is dependent on people for food and shelter. The term specifically includes, but is not limited to, domesticated dogs, domesticated cats, canaries, parakeets, parrots, cockatiels and other birds commonly maintained in households in cages, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits and nutria. For purposes of this ordinance, neither “livestock” nor “fowl” as defined herein shall be considered pets or companion animals.

    Section 2.103 Maximum number of pets; multiple pet permits.

    Section 2.103.1 Except as specifically authorized herein, a person commits an offense if he owns or harbors, on the premises of a single residence within the City, more than five (5) pets or companion animals, as defined herein, in any combination. A person commits an offense if he owns or harbors, on the premises of a single residence within the City, in addition to the permissible number of pets or companion animals, more than one (1) litter of pets or companion animals at any given time.

    Section 2.103.2 It is an exception to prosecution under this section if the owner has been issued and possesses a valid permit, issued by the Animal Control Authority, authorizing the owner to keep or harbor pets or companion animals in numbers greater than provided in Section 2.103.1 and the owner has not exceeded the permitted number of animals thereunder.

    Section 2.103.3 A person desiring to keep more than five (5) pets or companion animals in any combination on the premises of a single residence shall apply to the Animal Control Authority for a multiple pet permit.

    Section 2.103.4 The issuance of a multiple pet permit shall be within the discretion of the Animal Control Authority and, under no circumstances, shall a permit be issued for the keeping, on the premises of a single residence within the City, of more than ten (10) pets or companion animals in any combination. Under no circumstances shall a permit be issued for the keeping, on the premises of a single residence within the City, of more than three (3) litters of pets or companion animals at any given time.

    Section 2.103.5 The Animal Control Authority shall be authorized to require the following in connection with the application for a multiple pet permit; however, nothing herein shall be construed to require the Animal Control Authority to issue a multiple pet permit and the discretion for issuance of such permit shall rest solely with the Animal Control Authority.

    a) the applicant must provide the complete address of the residence for which the multiple pet permit is made;
    b) the applicant must provide the Animal Control Authority with full information concerning the breed, gender and number of animals requested to be kept on the premises of the single residence;
    c) the applicant, or any member of the applicant’s household, must not have been charged with any animal control violation in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the date of the application;
    d) the applicant must permit the Animal Control Authority, upon reasonable notice, full access to the residence and premises for the purpose of physical inspection of the premises;
    e) the Animal Control Authority shall have the right to interview occupants of all immediately adjacent properties in connection with the request for issuance of a multi-pet permit;
    f) the premises must meet, both upon initial inspection and upon any subsequent inspection, the following minimum criteria:

    1) Facilities shall be of sufficient size as to allow each animal to move about freely. Size of the facility shall be in proportion to the size of each individual animal’s height and weight.
    2) Adequate food and water must be provided so that all animals kept shall be maintained in good health and free of malnutrition and or dehydration.
    3) The premises shall be kept in a sanitary condition and reasonably free of animal waste, parasites, insects, and flies that could be harmful to the animal’s health and or to the health of the general public.
    4) The animals and the facility must be kept free of odor or stench so as to avoid offense to a person of ordinary sensibilities.
    5) The animals must be maintained in a manner that does not pose a danger to the health of the animals themselves or adjacent animals.
    6) The animals must not cause noise that is offensive or disturbing to a person of ordinary sensibilities on adjoining or adjacent premises.
    7) All animals must be duly vaccinated and exhibiting vaccination tags.

    Section 2.103.6 Multiple pet permits shall be valid for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of issuance and shall be maintained and displayed to the Animal Control Authority or other officer upon request. Each application for renewal of a multiple pet permit shall be made in accord with the provisions of Section 2.103.5 above.

    Section 2.103.7 Multiple pet permits are issued to specific owners of animals and for the specific premises identified therein. An application for a new multiple pet permit will be required if:

    a) the original permitee moves to a new residence within the City and proposes to move to that new residence more than five (5) adult dogs, cats or combination thereof or more than one (1) litter of puppies or kittens; or
    b) ownership of the permitted premises changes and the new property owners propose to keep or maintain on the property more than five (5) adult dogs, cats or combination thereof or more than one (1) litter of puppies or kittens at the new residence.

    Section 2.103.8 A multiple pet permit is subject to revocation by the Animal Control Authority for cause including, but not limited, violation by the permit holder of provisions of this ordinance or failure of the premises, upon inspection, to meet the minimum criteria established herein for animal and public health and safety. Appeals from the denial or revocation of a permit shall be in accord with the provisions of Section 1.107 of this ordinance.

    It might help alleviate the overcrowding at the animal shelter by lifting the restrictions on the number of pets a person can own. In my opinion if the City could allow folks to own 7 or 8 animals this would allow adoptions to occur for families that could afford to take care of 7 or 8 animals and reduce the number of animals euthanized while at the same time reducing overcrowding at the animal shelter. I don’t know if this would be the best long term answer but, it would certainly be a temporary fix to the current situation. I would certainly be one who could take on three more pets. Right now I am at the max limit of 5.

    Sincerely,

    Eric Matthews
    Former Weatherford City Councilman

  2. As a caveat, I should note that all the information I’ve been gathering about the animal “shelter” is second-hand, though much of it has been confirmed by several people. Because the city is stonewalling those of us in the community who want answers, we are left to try to piece together information on our own. I welcome comments and corrections from City and shelter employees.

  3. FYI to everyone on another entity within the City of Weatherford who operates in an advisory capacity to the City Council regarding matters concerning the City of Weatherford’s Animal Shelter. Information on the City of Weatherford Animal Shelter Advisory Committee is as follows:

    Animal Shelter Advisory Committee
    Board Members

    Barbara Pursley, Chair (person from animal welfare organization)
    Steve Bates, Vice Chair (Animal Shelter representative and Municipal Official)
    Dr. Kent Glenn (licensed veterinarian)
    Karen Kessler (County Shelter Official)
    Judy Webster (citizen)

    Meeting Details

    When – 1st Thursday in March, June, September and December
    Time – 1:00 pm
    Location – South Conference Room, City Hall, 303 Palo Pinto Street
    Contact – Steve Bates, Director of Municipal and Community Services
    Ph: 817-598-4145
    Agenda – Available 72 hours prior to set meeting time – Check Calendar

    Powers & Duties

    The purpose of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee shall be to assist the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter in complying with the requirements of Chapter 823 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Additionally, if requested by the City Council, the Committee may provide recommendations to the City regarding compliance with the Texas Rabies Control Act and/or recommendations to improve the efficiency and quality of the City’s animal control and protection program.
    The city council shall appoint members of the animal shelter advisory committee. The committee shall be in accord with state law. The committee shall consist of at least one licensed veterinarian, one county or municipal official, one person whose duties include the daily operation of the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter, one representative from an animal welfare organization, and one citizen member who resides within the city limits. It shall not be necessary that any members appointed to this committee be residents of the City of Weatherford except the citizen member, so long as all appointments are made in accord with state law.
    The website link is as follows: http://tx-weatherford3.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=833

    1. I have resigned from the Shelter Advisory Board, so that position (representative of animal welfare organization) is now open, as far as I know.
      Barbara Pursley
      President, Parker Paws

    2. Barb has recently resigned her position on this animal advisory board. My understanding is that meetings were held to satisfy requirements and basically it was a waste of time. Meetings in the past have lasted approximately 15 minutes. Nothing can be discussed changed or worked on in 15 minutes 3 or 4 times per year. Considering all the issues that have recently surfaced, this board should be meeting for an hour or more several times per year to work on change and updates needed regarding this shelter.

      Lee Ann Adams

  4. Animal lovers and concerned citizens of Parker County:

    There is a VERY high amount of adoptable healthy animals being KILLED every month at OUR shelter. I want to compile a list of supporters we can call upon when we have a petition or city council or other meeting where we could use your support. This will not take much of your time, unless you wish to be more involved, but we need names and email addresses to keep you informed of our progress!

    Please pm or email me for more information! We want to see MORE animals be adopted and LESS of them killed! PLEASE share this information with your friends and neighbors in Parker County!

    Paint.gal@hotmail.com

  5. The new board has been appointed and was sworn in on March 8. There first work session is today at 2.

    I am very disappointed that I was not even interviewed for to be considered for this board. It is very clear that this city only wants to find blame and they are reaching far now, blaming volunteers. It is clear the new board was hand selected, as will be the volunteers who are allowed back.

    I am tired of hearing that the “shelter reform group people” are not offering positive change. I want shelter reform, and have been saying so for months now. I will say right here, I have sent outlines, materials, offered my personally paid ticket to a no kill workshop, suggestions and ideas where improvement is needed and my help has been refused. They do not want help. They want control.

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