On Facebook last week, Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS) President Debbie England said she has decided to adopt best practices from the New Braunfels Humane Society (HSNBA) in order to “untangle this horrific mess” at the facility.
“This merry-go-round needs to stop,” she posted in bold text.
England was voted onto CLASS’s board on March 21 by outgoing CLASS President Darrell Mayfield, who along with wife Kelly Mayfield is credibly accused of animal cruelty, neglect, and financial impropriety during their 1 1/2-year reign of terror at the shelter.
Once a staunch supporter of the couple, England attempted to outline the problems she’s faced since they finally turned over the keys.
“In taking over the shelter, it (sic) has found the following issues: a huge lack of record/bookkeeping in all areas. A foster program that is in straight-up shambles. An adoption program that is a fragmented mess. No medical details on shelter animals as basic as their weight or history. And don’t get me started on shot records. Someone may ‘know’ something, but it does no good if it was not entered into the database for all to know.”
She said dozens of animals adopted out were not spayed or neutered, immunized or chipped. CLASS does not have the funds to pay the bills for these animals but is working on a “bail-out” program involving a future low-cost spay/neuter clinic.
“We are compiling lists of those who are owed services and making arrangements to get this and all the vaccines, including rabies, taken care of. And to do the same for the dogs currently at the shelter, many who are lacking both shots and spay/neuter,” England said.
CLASS is closed this week for cleaning and remains closed to intakes until all dogs are placed into either “forever” or foster homes.
The dirt around the shelter is still riddled with highly contagious viruses that cause diseases like parvovirus, coccidia, and giardia, according to CLASS’s Facebook page. It will take a lot of remediation before any new animals are allowed in.
Neither England nor anyone at CLASS will respond to any questions from MyCanyonLake.com and have blocked the publication from seeing some posts, but guesstimates by those who closely monitor England’s and CLASS’s Facebook pages place the number at around 30 animals.
Many of those dogs have been at CLASS since they were puppies.
Nobody has any idea how many dogs are still in foster homes.
England’s announcement that she plans to model CLASS after HSNBA created another stir on Facebook, this time from followers worried that CLASS, a no-kill shelter, will start euthanizing like HSNBA does.
A CLASS Facebook administrator said the shelter has no plans to euthanize animals due to overcrowding.
Because England cross-posts, it isn’t clear whether it was she or another administrator who later walked back these comments, stating the shelter might consider euthanizing an aggressive dog suffering from a medical issue like mental illness.
HSNBA receives money from the county and, by law, cannot turn animals away, forcing them to euthanize when the shelter is at capacity and there aren’t enough fosters.
CLASS’s nonvoting board member, Sarah Hammond, also serves as executive director of HSNBA.
She wasn’t amused by Facebook references to her euthanasia policies and attempted to reframe the issue as a “people” problem.
She urged Canyon Lake residents to roll up their sleeves if they don’t want to see animals killed.
“Where does everyone who wants all these shelters to be ‘no kill’ think all of these unwanted, abandoned animals are supposed to go?” she replied to commenters on CLASS/England’s post. “HSNBA has been begging/pleading for fosters and adopters for over six months, reducing and eliminating adoption fees in a desperate attempt to get all of these animals into homes. When shelters get overcrowded and overwhelmed, horrible diseases run rampant through the shelters as we’ve seen firsthand not only at CLASS but even at HSNBA.
“There is not a magical place ‘up north’ where all of these unwanted dogs can go, and if there was, they all need foster homes out of the shelter for at least two weeks before transport. No fosters? No transport. And transports cost on average $200-$500 per dog. No money, no transport. This is not a shelter problem, it’s a people problem, people getting pets they can’t afford to take care of only to try to rehome is (sic) three weeks later, litter after litter of puppies and kittens being born into homelessness every day and dogs and puppies being allowed to roam free, end up in a shelter, only to languish and never get reclaimed.
“This intake we’ve all experienced is unprecedented in the 20 years I’ve been in animal welfare,” she said. “If you are so very worried about adoptable animals being euthanized for space, roll up your sleeves and visit either shelter and talk to the staff and volunteers about what they really need. It’s not gossip and innuendo on Facebook, that’s for sure.”
Hammond said CLASS cannot afford to pay staff and volunteers, no matter how well-meaning, can’t pick up the slack.