Confusion arises in wake of euthanasia post calling for Harris County Animal Shelter fosters

By Megan Kennedy - Content Editor

HOUSTON - The Harris County Animal Shelter said Thursday a social media post about euthanasia reviews for its overcrowded dog population is not true. 

The shelter said they are overcrowded, but disputed a Facebook post by an unofficial page stating that all dogs that were not on a hold would be put up for euthanasia review by Friday evening. 

The account, Houston & Harris County Animal Volunteers, shares posts about animals currently up for adoption from the Harris County Animal Shelter, BARC and other organizations,  but is not directly affiliated with any one shelter.

HHCAV said on Thursday that every single dog at the Harris County Animal Shelter that is not currently on a hold will be considered for euthanasia at 6 p.m. Friday. However, that statement is untrue, the Harris County Animal Shelter tells KPRC2.

The shelter said while there is a distemper outbreak there, it is limited to an isolated few dogs and there is no need for drastic measures such as euthanasia or euthanasia review. 

There are currently active volunteers that help run the Facebook page, but also people who are not directly volunteers with the county-run facility, said Kerry McKeel, communications director with the shelter. She believes the poster on Facebook took the phrase, "EMPTY THE SHELTER" to mean euthanize the dogs, instead of its intended meaning of adopting the animals out. 

The volunteer group posted later Thursday, saying, "To clarify, folks, at no point did we state that the shelter was going to euthanize every dog still at the shelter tomorrow. If you look back, we stated “Every single dog at the shelter that does not have a hold is up for euthanasia at 6pm tomorrow.” Sadly, this is a true statement, not just today but every day.

"Although dogs being in danger of euthanasia is a heartbreaking daily reality, our post was spurred entirely based on the email you will see below sent by the shelter. “In an effort to contain distemper, we need your help. We need to EMPTY THE SHELTER in order to start fresh but we only have until Friday at close of business.

"If we misinterpreted this message, we apologize." 

The Harris County Animal Shelter's original statement about the outbreak is below: 

"Higher intake means higher risk of disease. In an effort to contain the distemper in the shelter, we are asking for YOUR HELP.

We need to EMPTY THE SHELTER in order to start fresh but we only have until FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8th at CLOSE OF BUSINESS.

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a SHORT TERM foster in order to help up save as many animals as possible until we can find transport, adopters, alternative fosters, or rescue, please reply to this email and let us know what size, age, or breed of dog you can take and we'll set up an appointment."

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