Unless you drive around the area with your eyes closed, you’ve noticed the abundance of loose or homeless cats and dogs on our streets. Worse still, you may have driven past the inevitable companion animal carcass on the median of Ella or Heights Boulevard, TC Jester, or fill-in-the-blank street.
Houston City Council member Karla Cisneros has certainly noticed, and she is preparing to do something about it. The councilwoman was elected by District H encompassing a large portion of The Leader’s readership, and is purposing a humane, all-in effort involving the entire city to address Houston’s thousands upon thousands of homeless pets. Cisneros is calling this heroic proposal “The Big Fix.”
“Our city has a huge, huge problem with homeless cats and dogs,” Cisneros explained. “It is not a matter of rounding them all up and sending them to Colorado, or placing them in shelters for adoption. There are just too many of them. We must stop it where it starts. We must spay and neuter our pets.”
While still in the planning stage, Cisneros intends to dedicate the month of February each year to working in concert with many of the public and private shelters and veterinary clinics in the city. All are invited to celebrate and encourage pet adoptions, advance spay and neuter education, step up surgeries and more. She is calling it “Spay and Neuter Awareness Month.”
“Right now, the city of Houston’s Bureau of Animal Regulations and Care, or BARC, can spay and neuter about 80 pets a day. We are hoping to bring that up to 100 or more with voluntary vets throughout February,” Cisneros explained.
However, the main event of the month will be “The Big Fix.” On the second Saturday of February, Cisneros purposes to enlist as many veterinarians, clinics, and animal agencies as possible to offer free or reduced-price spay and neuter surgery to prevent the birth of more unwanted. For the kind folks in Houston who are working tirelessly to find homes for our many homeless animals, the idea is music to their ears.
“Councilwoman Cisneros is awesome,” stated Melinda Gleghorn, one of the founders the Animal Justice League, a local nonprofit group of volunteers dedicated to rescuing, spay or neutering, and re-homing unwanted animals from near north Houston.
“The pet overpopulation problem is out of control here. It’s enormous and it has to stop,” Gleghorn continued. “Backyard breeders and irresponsible pet owners are costing the city and tax payers millions of dollars. And the suffering this causes is immeasurable and unspeakable. We can no longer pretend it isn’t happening.”
Gleghorn has been doing rescue work long enough to understand where the challenges of The Big Fix lie. She says it is a wonderful proposal, but it will be pointless unless the public knows about it and learns. She stresses the need for education on the issue of pet overpopulation, and the solution of spaying and neutering.
“Transportation is another challenge. Many people who want to do the right thing, may not have transportation to a veterinarian,” she explained. Gleghorn and her army of volunteers intend to step up in any way they can to help make The Big Fix a success. “It will not solve the problem immediately, but it’s a really good start,” she concluded with a smile.
For more information, or to help the Animal Justice League during The Big Fix, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.