HOUSTON - "The only way you're going to fix it, is admit you've got a problem," said State Senator John Whitmire. "If you keep saying, 'oh, we're working on it,' it will never get fixed."
In just the last week, a 71-year-old man was killed by a pack of dogs in nearby Fort Bend County, a 16-year-old was struck and killed by a car while trying to run away from a stray dog, and two people, including a Houston Police Officer, were bitten during a vicious dog call on the east side of Houston.
"I can't imagine anything worse than being mauled by a pack of dogs, and it's unacceptable in a civilized society, and that's what we are dealing with," said Tena Lundquist Faust, Co-President of Houston PetSet.
"I believe you have to apply more resources, but first, you've got to make it a top priority," Whitmire said.
The State Senator says BARC needs more animal control officers and better leadership.
"I really think you could get a lot of private money. In fact, I know you could go to corporations or foundations they would donate money, and we could have a first class animal shelter with a no-kill program," said Whitmire.
"There's also a misnomer that the gauge of animal welfare in this community is the live-release rate of a shelter, and that's not it at all," Lundquist-Faust said. "The gauge of animal welfare is the number of animals left on the streets to suffer and to also hurt its citizens."
"We have PetSet, we have The Humane Society, SPCA, I can name numerous programs that I've worked with in Austin towards better statutes on animal welfare," said Whitmire. "They need to come together, pull their resources, pull their political clout."
"We have to get on par with other major cities, like Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio," said Lundquist-Faust.
"It's not a high dollar issue. It's not a rocket science issue. It's making it a priority, and that's what we should all do," Whitmire said. "The city's stray animal population would decline drastically if just one percent of Houstonians fostered a stray animal from a shelter or rescue group,"