Missouri City to provide updated policies on animal shelter by the end of February

Missouri City staff shared that an updated policy and procedures manual for the city’s animal shelter will be finalized by the end of February.

The city faced backlash in December from volunteers over several issues regarding its Animal Services Department, concerning prescription drugs and controlled substances, untimely treatment administration for animals and lack of proper staffing.

City Manager Anthony Snipes said although the shelter’s quality of service may have been lacking in the past, officials are working to remedy the situation.

“In the vein of transparency, my team has admitted fault in a number of incidents, and we’re working to make sure that they do not occur again in our future because I feel that’s no place in what we’re trying to do, particularly since we care for these animals,” Snipes said.

As Missouri City reviews policies for the shelter and its municipal volunteer program, staff has consulted three outside agencies, including the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, Public Works Director Shashi Kumar said.

TBVME Director of Enforcement Matthew West penned a letter, stating that allowing volunteers to medicate and treat the animals may be a legal violation.

“There is potential concern that volunteers may be seeking prescription medications from their personal veterinarians to treat shelter animals without the veterinarian establishing a valid [veterinarian-client-patient relationship],” he wrote.

Valerie Tolman, animal shelter volunteer and treasurer of local nonprofit Friends of Missouri City Animal Shelter, addressed City Council in an email Feb. 1, explaining the organization will no longer be paying for surgeries, veterinary bills or vaccinations as it had previously done.

“The Friends board of directors feels that it is foolish to continue financially supporting the organization that has been publically besmirching the reputation of the very citizens who have been working to help the animals these past 4 years,” she said.

Tolman said the organization will reconsider its position once City Council establishes a vision for the animal shelter to reflect the values of residents.

As part of the city’s efforts to reevaluate policies, staff has visited other shelters from neighboring cities for benchmark purposes, Kumar said.

“We’re looking at best management practices—what does the staff do, what are the normal accepted protocols in administering medications, what are the roles of the volunteers in these shelters,” he said.

Based on information collected from other cities and shelter intake levels, the projected cost to run the animal shelter without volunteer assistance is an estimated $575,000, which will pay for two new employees, basic vaccination, contracted veterinary services, heart worm testing and prevention measures, surgeries and procedures and shelter software, Kumar said.

The city has begun implementing changes such as transferring temporary staff to the shelter, providing additional training to employees and installing security cameras and facility management software, Kumar said. Moving forward, staff plans to provide training to volunteers, evaluate adoption fees to cover expenses, establish a contract with a licensed veterinarian and review costs and budgetary implications.

City Council and staff will discuss more long-term plans regarding the shelter in future workshops and meetings, Kumar said.

“Positive changes are forthcoming in the coming months towards [providing quality care],” he said. “Our intent is to work in collaboration with the volunteers moving forward so we can enhance adoptions and keep our euthanasia rate low.”
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


MOST RECENT

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro, a new restaurant in Sugar Land, serves a variety of sushi options. (Courtesy Pexels)
Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro opens in Sugar Land

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro is now open in the former location of Azuma on the Lake.

Lumin Lash, a eyebrow extension and beauty services business, opened in Missouri City on July 15. (Courtesy Lumin Lash)
Eyelash extension business Lumin Lash opens in Missouri City

Lumin Lash offers a variety of services including eyelash extensions, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, microblading and permanent makeup.

The community features a 12-acre farm with an orchard, a greenhouse, homes for goats and chickens, seasonal produce sold on-site each Saturday and a vineyard managed by Messina Hof. (Courtesy Harvest Green)
Texas Association of Builders dubs Harvest Green as Best Overall Community

In addition to being named Best Overall Community More than 600 Acres, Harvest Green was a finalist in the Best Community Amenity, Best Community Clubhouse and Best Website categories.

Missouri City City Council approved a zoning change that will allow for a new residential and commercial development at Hwy. 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road. (Courtesy city of Missouri City/The Dinerstein Companies)
Missouri City City Council approves zoning change to allow for new single-family rental neighborhood

The residential area will be managed and leased like an apartment complex but consist of single-family homes. Find out more about the development coming to Missouri City.

Memorial Hermann has locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann)
Memorial Hermann visiting policies change as COVID-19 cases rise

As of July 21, Memorial Hermann has changed its visitor policy in light of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Greater Houston area.

Houston unemployment is above state and national levels, while home sales in the region continue to be strong, according to a July 21 economic update from the Greater Houston Partnership. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unemployment, strong housing sales mark 2021 Houston economy, Greater Houston Partnership says

While Houston job recovery lags due to the pandemic, area home sales are strong, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

Melvin Barahona opened Chunk's Burger on April 1. (Courtesy Chunk's Burger)
Family-owned Chunk's Burger now open on Dulles Avenue in Stafford

Melvin Barahona opened Chunk's Burger on April 1.

FBISD officials shared updated health and safety protocols during the July 19 board of trustees meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend ISD presents health, wellness plans for the 2021-22 school year

What are your thoughts on the district's updated COVID-19 protocols? Don't forget: The 2021-22 school year begins Aug. 11.

The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will host a back-to-school vaccine clinic for eligible children ages 0-18. (Courtesy Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center)
Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center to host free immunization event for children July 29

The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will host a back-to-school vaccine clinic for eligible children ages 0-18. Parents or guardians must accompany the child and bring immunization records to the appointment.

The restaurant serves a variety of Indian appetizers, entrees and sweets. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
A1 Choice Indian Cuisine opens in Cy-Fair; Torchy's Richmond taco shop coming this week and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area, including a Ross Dress For Less store opening in Cy-Fair.