Washington Irving – Photo by wallyg (Flickr)
Ok folks, its time to grab a cup of coffee and settle down to some good news for a change. I’ve finally found a topic that we can all feel good about. Lets celebrate with the pets. At 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2010, heaven opened to the strays and unwanted in Irving, Texas. It comes in the form of Irving Animal Care Campus.
I’m including several references at the end of this article where you can read more about the much anticipated Irving Animal Care Campus. It is believed to be the first in Texas to house both municipal animal services and a non profit animal group. While it may not be a totally no-kill shelter because rabid, stray, sick and injured animals must be accepted here to be euthanized, it is a breakthru in the treatment of animals. The area of the campus operated by the DF/W Humane Society includes a no kill shelter.
Here are some of the features that make this a grade A 5 ***** facility.
1)Dogs are housed in areas will a roll up door to be opened when the weather is good so they can see the outside world.
2)Cats live in condos with plenty of entertainment, including toys and places to climb.
3)The 26,000 foot lobby has an animal mall where animals for adoption can be seen.
4)There is an on site veterinarian who operates a clinic. There are separate rooms for surgery preparation and the actual surgery.
5)Rooms to play with your pet before adoption are scattered throughout the facility.
6)Volunteers must pass a 4 hour certification class.
7)There is a separate entrance to the facility for people who need to turn in a pet, visit a quarantined pet or check to see if their pet has been turned into the shelter.
8)The floors are painted with epoxy paint, which is easily cleaned and prevents the spread of disease.
9)Sound reduction materials were used in construction of the living areas.
10)A three acre dog park is set to open later in 2010 next to the facility.
To understand why the people of Irving, Texas are so proud of the new facility we have to examine their past. Back in 1972 their 5500 square foot animal shelter was built. It wasn’t a good place for a pet to be. The conditions, staff, and size all received bad criticism.
In 2003 City Councilman Herbert Gears helped pass a city ordinance that all animals be euthanized by injection rather than in a gas chamber. He is now the mayor and one of my heroes in this article.
But there was more bad before changes came to the way animals were treated in Irving, Texas. Close to 70% of all shelter animals were put down in 2005. The shelter again came under fire in 2006 for how they mishandled a few cases of animal treatment.
2006 is also the year voters approved spending $6 million in bonds to build the campus.
My other hero in this story is Fred Sanderson, who was hired as Animal Services Manager. With the opening of the Irving Animal Care Campus he has helped turn the worst of shelters into the best. Also thanks to his love of animals there is now a law in Irving, Texas about chaining outside dogs.
I urge people to read this meeting agenda as he has hit the nail on the head in controlling the pet population. Spay and neuter for population control and micro-chipping for identification. ANIMAL SERVICES ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING. Although many of his suggestions haven’t been turned into law, I appreciate his insight.
To all of those I’ve failed to mention I apologize. I commend everyone involved because you’ve created heaven for the pets in your facility. They will be treated with love and dignity instead of being thrown into a cage waiting to die. Families will build memories as they go together to give a cat or dog a forever home.
I hope everyone reading this will step up to the plate to make this happen for their shelters. The Irving Animal Care Campus IS the future in shelter/Humane Society care. Please shine as an example so those who follow in your footsteps can learn from you.
It is my personal opinion this campus is operating both as a business and a service. That’s the only way to survive in today’s world. The staff and the community are using good business know-how to raise money for the shelter. Local personalities are donating time to get everyone involved. Raffles and bake sales and anything else that benefits the campus are being done. This is a community project we can all learn from.
To my readers I ask that you each pass this on. To your shelters, societies and local government. Use their ideas and add some of your own. My hope is that one day all facilities will be as nice as this new campus.
- Link to original photo on Flickr