Across the U.S., nearly half of the animals taken in by animal shelters on any given year are euthanized because homes cannot be found for them, according to the American Humane Association. The Montgomery County Animal Shelter works with limited resources to reverse that trend by finding good homes for stray animals and promoting healthy care for them.
"We all love the animals that no one else cares for," said Minda Harris, director of MCAS. "You see how much help they need and no one else wants to help, so it makes us work harder to find them good homes."
MCAS opened in 2001 to investigate complaints about animal cruelty and address problems with nuisance animals in the community. Since then, the facility has expanded to 26,000 square feet to house about 800 cats and dogs.
The shelter takes in stray animals, unwanted pets and others picked up by Animal Control on a daily basis. Once they are de-wormed and given immunizations, they are placed in one of 14 holding rooms for cats and dogs and can be placed for adoption.
Special trainers help other animals overcome aggression and behavioral problems, treating euthanasia as a last resort for extreme cases.
The shelter works with the Montgomery County Animal Society to raise money for spay and neuter surgeries and other medical expenses.
Social media has also played an important role in successful adoptions, Harris said. About 85 percent of adoptions are done through social media because potential owners can view pictures and information about animals up for adoption, which helps build bonds between people and animals, she said.
On average, Harris said, the shelter takes in 60 animals every day, but this number ranges from 100 to 150 on busier days. Harris said one of the challenges the shelter faces involves changing people's mindsets on pets and getting them to recognize the consequences of abandoning them.
"So many people think pets are disposable," she said. "It's very sad to see animals that come in every day from people who simply don't want them anymore. They don't realize that we have limited space and care for all the animals with a limited staff."
Despite these challenges, Harris said seeing an animal go to a good home or being reunited with its family makes her work worthwhile.
"A war veteran lost his dog in The Woodlands and did everything he could to find it by posting fliers and making a Facebook page," Harris said. "[The dog] was brought to us and the animal society paid for his medical expenses. The man was reunited with his dog, and he was so happy he was crying. Moments like that make me happy to be here."
The MCAS is always looking for volunteers, Harris said. Volunteer orientations are held Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.
8535 Hwy. 242