Letter to the Editor (Animal Shelter)

7/1/11 Letter to the Editor As some of you may have heard, the Isabel Y. Garcia Animal Shelter recently received an inspection by the Texas State Veterinarian, Dr. Robinson. While the shelter welcomes such inspections because it helps keep us "on our toes" so to speak, the results of this inspection surprised us all. I have always represented the City of Port Isabel as operating as "transparent" as it can be in its governing and so want the public to be aware of the following: Since April, three short months ago when the City of Port Isabel took over the operations of this shelter, the City along with the two volunteer groups, the Friends of the Isabel Y. Garcia Animal Shelter and the Laguna Madre Humane Society, have made great improvements at the shelter including the placement of well over 180 animals to foster care and rescue groups. Even with this reduction in animal population at the shelter we are still grossly over populated due to the previous management and irresponsible pet owners. Dr. Robinson's report addresses this overpopulation as well. With such high numbers of animals at the shelter everything else is exponentially complicated. Staff and volunteers have removed unnecessary equipment, structures and items and have repaired, cleaned, and painted the offices and grounds. The Animal Shelter Operations policies have been created by Department Head, Rodrigo Garcia with the help and guidance of other regional animal shelters, staff and volunteers. The inspection report also addressed the shelter structures with regard to rotted wood and building materials that don't create a reasonable barrier from water and bacteria associated with a shelter environment. We were surprised to have this placed on the inspection at this time since this situation was present under previous management and did not occur simply because the City took over. These areas of concern don't seem to have been put on previous reports by the State or if they were, did not get addressed by previous management. Still, we were grateful to have this report so that priority can be given to those areas that the State of Texas requires and we are committed to improve. We asked for patience and understanding when the City of Port Isabel took over the responsibility of the shelter and we did so knowing that many improvements had to be made. Those improvements take time and good training is paramount to those improvements. We have asked the state veterinarian to guide us in the "best practices" policies for our shelter and we shall continue to make progress towards those guidelines. The City of Port Isabel stands behind it's staff and the volunteer groups that have worked tirelessly to improve the shelter, to reduce it's animal population and to bring to bare that irresponsible pet ownership will be met with strict animal control enforcement. Let us all remember that this shelter as well as the thousands of shelter across the country are the direct result of irresponsible pet ownership. Edward Meza, City Manager Port Isabel, Tx.
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