CLASS Update: ‘This Merry Go Round Needs to Stop’

class dogs
These two dogs are available for adoption at Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS).
These two dogs are available for adoption at Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS).

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 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.

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  1. Sarah says it all. What’s left out is there really is no change going on at class. As long as certain billing, screaming, hateful person is allowed to co tinge her behavior that class it will never have enough volunteers. Also I’m asking the fire marshal to do a full inspection of the shelter. This volunteer states she is the handy man around there. That freaked me out. What I saw was electrical wires hanging from light fixtures and water running g down the wires to the floor. switches not working and much much more. It is only obvious that no one should be allowed to be inside the shelter unless they are on the payroll. Even then it is a very dangerous and unsafe place. Maybe Debbie or Sarah can put a stop to bags of donated food, toys, and meds from walking out the door without permission. In other words stop the stealing.

  2. I want to stand up for the horse that someone from CLASS chose to paint in blue paint on both sides of the house the letters CLASS. What happened to the animals rights. I found it appallingly and pathetic. The poor horse looked sad and discussed. I hope that these so called adults think twice before they Infringe on another animals rights.

  3. Honestly, the only thing I’ve heard about the maintenance person is that she screams and yells at the volunteers. No wonder they can’t keep volunteers. Fingers crossed that more changes are coming. I do believe Debbie and Sarah (HSNBA) are working in the best interests of the animals and our local shelter. Much truth came out about the Mayfields in a recent post from Debbie. I have to believe she just did not believe what she was told last year. But when faced with the consequences of the Mayfields actions and inaction, it all came to light. And Debbie apologized. Much respect for that. Many people would not have owned up.

    There’s so much to clean up yet. It’s not going to happen overnight. Not only the physical work at the shelter, adoption records, vaccination records, Financials. It’s all a mess.

    I’m happy to see Sunni gone. She knew what the Mayfields were doing, she has first hand knowledge, and stayed silent while animals died.

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