As animal welfare advocates in Houston deal with overcrowding at local shelters, members of Houston City Council approved two contracts at a Nov. 29 meeting to help local groups bolster spay and neuter services.

The details

The two contracts allocated a total of $974,558 in American Rescue Plan Act funding, including:
  • $181,300 to Houston PetSet to fund surgeries for 1,400 cats and dogs
  • $793,258 to the Spay Neuter Assistance Program to fund surgeries for 4,880 cats and dogs
Both contracts are effective for the next three years, according to a Nov. 29 city news release.

Zooming in

Officials with BARC, Houston's city-run animal shelter said their enforcement team received 7,000 more calls for service from the public over the past year, which resulted in a 48% increase in the amount of animals brought to the shelter by the team.

Data from BARC's most recent monthly report in October showed a total animal count of 2,293 as of Oct. 31, compared to an animal count of 1,194 to end the 2022 calendar year and 1,667 to end the 2021 calendar year. The shelter took in 1,570 animals in October while facilitating 448 adoptions. A total of 251 animals were euthanized in October, including 47 by owner request, according to city data. The shelter's save rate fell from 91.7% in 2021 to 83.7% in 2022.

What they're saying

In a statement, BARC Shelter Director Jarrad Mears spoke on the importance of the spay and neuter contracts with the two partner organizations.

“Proactive partnerships with groups like Houston PetSet and SNAP are crucial to targeting the source of the stray animal problem by providing the public with more access to spay and neuter services,” he said.

What else

Under the contracts, the two organizations will be required to provide the surgical tools and medications to perform the surgeries safely and effectively, including a veterinarian who is licensed and in good standing with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

In addition to the new contracts, Houston's shelter spends roughly $520,000 annually from its own budget to support spaying and neutering 3,500 animals per year by providing services for free to residents, according to the release.