No Crockett Animal Shelter Yet

City and CPAC Make a Deal

By Teresa Holloway

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – For several months, the City of Crockett has been searching for the money and method to open an animal shelter. The shelter would ostensibly remedy the large number of stray dogs and cats in the city.  Despite detailed plans and cost estimates by Sgt. Jerrod Vickers and the Crockett Police Department, the efforts have remained fruitless so far.

To assist in maintaining control of the homeless animal population, the city has undertaken a partnership with the Coalition for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (CPAC) organized and managed by Lori Bowlin.

“CPAC is a foster program,” Bowlin explained. “Not a shelter. We simply cannot take every stray. The dogs we foster out must meet certain criteria. If they are sick, mangy or unhealthy, we cannot take them,” she said.

Dogs that are accepted into the program are sent to local foster homes. Foster ‘pet parents’ must meet certain criteria themselves, she explained. “Applicants will be interviewed, undergo orientation, understand the state regulations and we make sure their homes fit the profile for fostering dogs and the animals can be safely kept.

“It’s not a quick process,” she continued. “If we can get more people involved, we will be able to take in more animals.”

“I don’t want people to think we are a home for strays, though. The dogs and the foster homes must qualify. We aren’t a shelter. That’s the one misconception I run into. The foster homes are not shelters,” she said.

Too often, Bowlin explained, people try to enter sick or maimed dogs into the foster program, but state regulations for fostering don’t allow those animals.

“The dog has to be heartworm negative and under five years old. We are working with the clinic to get that quickly diagnosed. What happens to the heartworm positive dogs? I can’t answer that question,” she said.

Sick, heartworm positive or maimed animals are still without shelter in the city, but some progress is being made in the effort to take many off the streets.

Part of the problem, Bowlin explained, is the well-intentioned people who pick up perfectly healthy looking dogs off the streets and roads.

“Dogs here are allowed to free-roam. I don’t always agree with it, but it happens. So if you see a healthy dog somewhere, please don’t just stop and pick it up. It may be on its way back home, or just wandering around close to home. If you pick up an animal, and we don’t have space for it, what happens to the dog after that is on your hands,” she said.

“We have a number of healthy, well cared for animals now. They probably belong to someone who just doesn’t know we are here as an organization. So please, don’t bring in healthy dogs you see wandering around,” she appealed.

Law enforcement contact is the best way to handle a concern about a wandering dog or other animal issue, Bowlin advised.

Sean Hutchison, City Administrator for Crockett helped orchestrate the partnership, “We are partnering with CPAC to help identify foster homes for stray animals.

“That’s the biggest need, families interested in being foster parents for stray animals. We are trying to take care of the strays without hurting the city’s budget,” he said.

“If we can develop a list of foster families, it would help a lot,” he added.  “CPAC has very specific guidelines for fostering these animals.”

The city’s current budget simply has no space to allow the development of a shelter at this time, and several city council meetings and budgetary hearings bear that out, but, the Mayor is adamant about providing some means of assistance to the homeless animals in the city.

Residents who are interested in helping with the CPAC project can get an application online at crocketttx.org.

Donations are sorely needed, according to Bowlin. The CPAC is more than $5,000 in debt to veterinarians who’ve kindly lent their services for the foster program – but food, medicines and other essentials must still be purchased.

CPAC has a Facebook page with a special link through PayPal for donations, or a check can be mailed to PO Box 689, Crockett, TX 75835

Volunteers to become foster parents are also encouraged to apply through the documents available on the city website.

terholloway@hotmail.com