To the Citizens of Port Isabel and residents of the Laguna Madre area:
The City of Port Isabel was granted the property where the Isabel Y. Garcia Animal Shelter is located by the Garcia Family in 1987. The City owns and operates the facility. For a number of years the City has allowed a non-profit corporation, the Laguna Madre Humane Society, to assist in operating the Animal Shelter under a lease and operating agreement with the City. The City has provided the facility, utilities costs and support throughout that time. That lease and agreement ended by its terms in 2008.
Over the past year the City has become increasingly concerned with operations and the condition of the Animal Shelter for a number of reasons including citizen complaints from past and present members, volunteers and staff of the Laguna Madre Humane Society, lack of regular feeding of animals, extreme overcrowding, animals being euthanized despite public claims that this is a \’No-Kill\’ facility, animals being refused if citizens did not \’pay\’ fees, inhumane animal treatment and conditions in areas that were not hown\’ to the public and failure to comply with sound and good practices.
Faced with this situation and the fact that this Shelter is also the facility used by Port Isabel Animal Control Officers in their enforcement of City Ordinances, the City has no choice but to take back control of the Animal Shelter. The City hoped that the Director of the LMHS would follow the directive of the LMHS Board of Directors, would recognize the legal right of the City to take control of its property, and would work with the City so the LMHS could continue to be involved in the operations and important work of the shelter as Volunteer Workers. When the Director refused and declared that the City would have to force her out of the Animal Shelter the City had no choice but to exercise its legal rights.
There have been several false rumors…
To set the record straight:
1. it is not true that \’the City intends to euthanize the animals\’;
2. it is not true that \’the LMHS had only three days notice of these issues and the City plan to take control of operations at the Animal Shelter\’;
3. it is not true that \’the City has no plan for operation of the Animal Shelter\’; and
4. it is not true that \’the City is throwing out all the volunteers who care about the animals\’.
The truth is that the City has a plan and staff to operate the shelter properly and humanely; the City will operate the shelter in an open and transparent manner, the City will evaluate the practices and costs of allowing other City to use Port Isabel for the place to take their stray animals, and the City will not allow overcrowding or sick animals to suffer. The City hopes to continue to work with the LMHS, or the volunteers who have made up the LMHS, and all citizens who are interested in assisting with operations at the Animal Shelter. At the same time the City insists that the Animal Shelter be operated properly, competently, humanely and in accordance with appropriate laws, ordinances and standards.
The City looks forward to working with interested citizens to solve the problems at the Animal Shelter and see that it is operated in a humane and proper manner and to encourage efforts for animal adoption, fostering, sanctuary placement and public education about spay/neuter programs.
Edward P. Meza
Port Isabel City Manager