Type to search

Parvo Pups and Disappearing Dogs: What’s Happening at Canyon Lake’s Animal Shelter?

Your Online News Source for Canyon Lake, Texas

Local News

Parvo Pups and Disappearing Dogs: What’s Happening at Canyon Lake’s Animal Shelter?

Area animal rescuers and the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area say Canyon Lake's animal shelter is bringing in multiple litters of puppies that die of parvo or just disappear. They want to hold Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS) accountable. CLASS Facebook image.

According to its website, Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS) is a nonprofit, 501c3 no-kill animal shelter that treats animals with dignity, professionalism, compassion and humility.

Animal advocates in Canyon Lake and New Braunfels say that’s not true.

These critics claim dogs sit in feces-filled kennels. Animals are adopted out without adequate vetting. Disease runs rampant. Record-keeping is nonexistent. Dogs and cats are not always microchipped. They may or may not be spayed or neutered.

Dogs are shipped in from other shelters in Texas and sold at exorbitant prices while the Humane Society of New Braunfels Area (HSNBA) is forced to euthanize animals due to overcrowding.

A former CLASS employee’s dog was adopted out twice without permission because someone at the shelter didn’t like his living arrangements.

Puppies and kittens, who require a series of shots before they are fully immunized, do not receive adequate vaccinations and parasite protection.

At least one animal advocate believes dogs are being euthanized or simply left to die in a shed behind the shelter even though CLASS is not licensed to put animals down or that by law shelters must take sick animals to a vet for euthanasia.

One former volunteer, New Braunfels resident Deanna Kaplen, said she unwittingly adopted a dog that was heartworm positive. His heartworm status was not disclosed to her before she adopted the animal

CLASS charges between $250 to $350 in adoption fees for dogs, sometimes justifying the fee by bringing in more-adoptable breeds like bulldogs.

There also are rumors that donations aren’t spent wisely and there is little reason for transparency when the board is comprised of a husband who serves as shelter president, a wife who is vice president, and their friends.

Many local animal advocates also were dismayed last month when the couple took an out-of-state vacation and returned with an old poodle they adopted from a shelter there.

CLASS board

CLASS President Darrell Mayfield, left, with Vice President and wife Kelly Mayfield, right.

CLASS Vice President Kelly Mayfield, a former stay-at-home mom who arrived at CLASS in 2021 with three years of experience as a foster-and adoption coordinator with the Animal Rescue Foundation in Seguin, said she’s had enough of this talk.

She met with an attorney on Tuesday and cease-and-desist letters are going out in the mail to detractors who have publicly criticized her on Facebook, where a war has waged for several months about practices at CLASS.

Donations to the shelter are down due to the online furor, which pitted Mayfield and her supporters against rescuers concerned about best practices for shelter animals at the facility.

The shelter director said she relies on private funding to pay staff, buy pet food and vet animals.

“Since the negative publicity, we’ve seen a drastic reduction in adoptions and donations,” Mayfield said. “I went to an attorney and filed cease-and-desist letters. (Comal County) Animal Control did a two-week investigation (that was) sent to the state, and the state said nothing was found. It’s all false.”

Mayfield said there are currently around 30 dogs and 67 cats (half of them kittens) at the shelter. Forty cats have been adopted from the shelter this year. Dogs adopt out at a rate of five or six per month. Many animals are in foster care.

She said an April investigation by animal control officers (ACOs) – who work for Comal County Sheriff Mark Reynolds – concluded there are no issues at the shelter worth reporting

However, reports obtained by MyCanyonLake.com in May through an open-records request to the Sheriff’s Office tell a different, although conflicting and confusing story.

The reports were written between January and April of this year.

ACO Reports on CLASS

Jan. 21

On Jan. 21, a complainant reached out to ACO to report that a puppy she’d just adopted began vomiting hours after arriving at its new home.

The complainant called CLASS to report the illness, but calls went unanswered. When her mother called using a different number, someone picked up the phone immediately.

As the puppy’s condition continued to deteriorate, its owner took it to the vet, where it was treated with fluids and medicated after testing positive for parvo. The parvo virus is highly contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhea. It spreads quickly from dog to dog or by indirect contact with feces.

Frustrated, the owner returned the dog to the shelter but called Animal Control, worried that other dogs might be at risk. The officer explained parvo is not uncommon and the dog may not have been fully vaccinated because it was too young.

But the ACO investigated anyway. Mayfield told them the puppy had died. It was not brought to a vet because of the earlier parvo test.

“I did walk around and look at all of the other dogs under two years of age just to make sure that none were exhibiting symptoms of parvoviruses,” the investigating officer wrote in their report.

“All dogs appeared to be healthy at this time. While I was there Kelly called their vet to get obtain all the records from the other previous welfare checks where people had stated that they did not believe that they were receiving proper veterinary care.

“I heard on the phone when the tech said that there had been some animals that they had not seen, mainly Buffy the puppy that had ringworm or mange and was returned to the shelter.

“The owner stated that the puppy had also passed, unsure of the reasoning puppy was never seen by a veterinarian. When I asked for records of the parvo puppy either that was provided by the adopter, or where they had obtained a parvo test, the tech on the phone from the vet’s office got a little nasty, asking why they needed a parvo test when they had already been tested for parvo.

“I explained that if there was no documentation provided to them or they could not prove that there had been documentation, I would need some sort of proof that the vet had seen the dog and in fact it did have parvo.”

Feb. 17

On Feb. 17 a CLASS volunteer called an ACO to report a parvo outbreak.

The officer who wrote the report said the complainant noted that one day puppies would be at CLASS and the next day, when she reported to work, they were gone — with no explanation.

“She said there’s at least three that are not doing good right now,” the officer wrote. “Heard (along with two other people) that Mrs. Mayfield stated something about let them die, and something about I’ll take care of body.”

The volunteer also warned CLASS would clean kennels thoroughly if Mayfield thought ACO was on their way.

When ACO showed up, Mayfield said the parvo puppies had died and there were no parvo puppies left. ACO noted the shelter’s front room contained several cats, a pig and a rabbit. Cages were clean and neat and the animals appeared healthy.

Puppies in a back room also appeared normal. Outside dogs looked healthy. The area was relatively clean with no strong odor of urine or feces.

March 3

On March 3, an anonymous caller reported CLASS’ kennels were not cleaned daily, animals were sick and not vetted, the isolation area was not ‘humane’ and dogs were crated in kennels too small to even stand in.

“Complainant is upset/concerned, believes the shelter is euthanizing dogs or just letting them die, instead of treating them when sick, mainly with parvo, one with a swollen stomach,” the ACO wrote.

“She has not seen a dog deceased in a kennel/run but states others have. I explained to her that just letting animals die would be a concern, but if they choose to euthanize vs. treat, they can legally do that. Caller also stated the dogs have a lot of feces in their kennels, multiple days’ worth in her opinion. She also states do not go out today as they just did a deep clean so it will not be dirty now.”

The ACO visited CLASS two days later and found the facility to be clean and all animals fed and watered. They were healthy and active. The isolation room for sick animals was clean.

However, ACO said a complainant noted employees did not properly care for dogs in outdoor kennels.

Mayfield said, “she doesn’t know because she doesn’t go out there much.”

“She stated she knew of one worker who was an issue, but that won’t be a problem, they will no longer be working there in a few days. I did bring up the question of them euthanizing vs. treating animals was posed to me and I explained to her, as I did the complainant, they can certainly do that if they choose, they just can’t leave it there and do nothing.”

April 19

On April 19 another anonymous caller reported kennels were not cleaned daily, animals were being euthanized when they shouldn’t be, and the shelter was short-staffed.

From there, things got interesting.

ACO said nobody answered when they knocked at the door. They “hollered and knocked” on the door to the back kennels before someone answered.

Some animals appeared healthy, including chicks in a tub. Kennels in the back area were recently cleaned.

As the ACO walked around, they reported the play area was clean. In the back area, all large-dog kennels and the kennels of dogs that were not in isolation appeared to have been cleaned that day.

The dogs seemed fine.

However, in the quarantine area, they noticed a female dog with puppies running loose while her kennel was being cleaned. The mama dog coughed and ACO was told it was kennel cough, a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted easily through the air.

In the center area were two play areas filled with healthy puppies except for one that had mange and was being treated with Bravecto.

Other healthy puppies had minor skin issues. In a corner sat a single dog ‘brushed’ by a car that was recovering from its ordeal.

A pop-up kennel placed on top of other kennels contained a brown-and-white dachshund mix that was just ‘cleared’ for parvo. The ACO noted the dog was still vomiting, “but other than that he appeared to be happy and on the downside of the parvo virus.”

The ACO also noticed one kennel with a towel hanging over its door.

“As I started to pull the towel aside and the volunteer’s son started to open the kennel, I could see that there was lots of diarrhea on the potty pads. I asked what was wrong with the puppies and I was told that they probably had parvo.

“As I opened the kennel and looked in one puppy did not appear to be in good condition. We had to look close to see if it was even breathing.

“The kennel helper reached in and touched the puppy and he straightened his legs a little bit showing signs that he was still alive,” the ACO reported.

“The other puppy was very lethargic but was obviously breathing and moving a little better. I stated that those puppies could not remain in that kennel and needed to go to the vet even if it was just to be euthanized.

“…the girl that was cleaning still started crying and when I asked what was upsetting her or why she was crying she stated that she just loves animals and she can’t stand to see them die.”

After Mayfield arrived with husband Darrell, president of CLASS, the ACO requested vet records for several animals.

He also noted another puppy with a “third-eyelid issue” indicating a possible respiratory infection or allergy issue.

Mayfield asked workers to take the puppies suspected of having parvo immediately to the vet. No vets were open at that time, the ACO noted. The puppies would have to be vetted at specialty vet clinics Allure or Blue Pearl because they could not be left to die overnight.

Mayfield refused, saying she did not have $1,000 to humanely euthanize the dogs.

“She then left the room and I told her husband that it didn’t matter what they did but those puppies had to have veterinary care somehow someway even if it was just euthanizing tonight.

“He said he understood and would get that care,” the ACO wrote in their report.

“As we enter the front lobby again, I heard her speaking to her volunteer, and she had agreed to allow the puppies to go to Allure because that was all that was open.

“She said that the filing system for the dogs that I had request vet records on she was unaware of how they did it. She said one of the other ladies kept the records and she didn’t know how she did the system,” according to the report.

“I asked her if they ran Shelter Manager and she said yes. She was able to pull vet records for the puppy that has mange and she did provide those to me. I asked about their euthanasia procedures in their shelter. She stated nobody is euthanasia-certified and that they don’t do their own euthanasias.

“She also told me that she had started a puppy that had appeared to have respiratory issues on antibiotics that morning. I questioned whether she had taken him to the vet or whether she had just started him on antibiotics. She stated that they have medication on hand and that the vet diagnoses over the phone and tells her what kind of antibiotics to give. I asked what she was giving the puppy and she said cephalexin.

Rescuers told MyCanyonLake.com that under Texas law, a Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) must exist before prescription medications can be administered to a pet

VCPR is established only after a veterinarian examines an animal in person, and is maintained by regular veterinary visits, as needed, to monitor an animal’s health.

Giving donated medications to an animal on the verbal advice of a veterinarian that has never seen the animal is illegal.

“I’m a little concerned about the fact that she has several healthy puppies in with parvo puppies and the fact that parvo spread so easy all those young puppies might end up with parvo. I intend to do a walk through their isolation daily for the next week to see what transpires and possibly longer if other dogs get sick,” the ACO also wrote in their report.

Mayfield and the ACO also discussed “all of the social media banter and comments that are made and how things get misconstrued on social media and blown out or proportion.”

“The worker did state that isolation is not open to the general public and nobody can just walk back there. In talking to Mrs. Mayfield, she did state that her and her husband should not even be there that they are just board members and they don’t get paid for being at the shelter.

“I am unsure of who is in charge or who is running the shelter and dictating when dogs go to the veterinarian or what exactly their procedure for deciding who goes and who is diagnosed by their employees is chosen…Mrs. Mayfield did say that she knew we were coming today. She did say she had been giving the parvo puppies fluids all day long and it didn’t seem to work.”

The ACO said he followed up with a vet who treated the heeler with the third eye. The vet said he had prescribed “an eyedrop” but not the antibiotic Mayfield claimed to have administered.

On a follow-up visit, the ACO said most animals appeared healthy except for a puppy with pink bloody diarrhea. Other puppies lived in the same enclosure, and one fell nose-first into it “so I’m not sure what’s going on there.”

Two days later, the ACO noted only four of nine puppies remained. Two new puppies tested positive for parvo and were euthanized. A heeler puppy got caught underneath a fence overnight and died.

On April 29, ACO said it was ending its investigation and closed the case “…until or unless something else comes in, did let them know that we may drop in from time to time just to kind of check on the situation. They said that was fine, and they welcomed it.”

April 21

A good thing, as it turned out. On April 21 a caller stated they had pictures/video from CLASS to share with ACO.

“If nothing will be done/can’t be done will go to the attorney general,” the complainant told the ACO.

The person who called was concerned about a heeler puppy whose head was bobbing back and forth — the same puppy ACO noted earlier.

“This is a nine-week-old puppy and puppies cry,” the ACO informed the complainant, adding they had already handled the situation but gave no further information.

However, the complainant, a volunteer at the shelter, said she was done after seeing puppies in a back shed deliberately hidden from the public and ACO.

CLASS didn’t want the public or the ACO to see these dogs, the volunteer said.

“…It is the same shed where employees smoke pot and vapes all day long instead of working,” the former volunteer told the inspector.

According to the former volunteer, Mayfield also used large-bore needles on small puppies when giving vaccines. The volunteer said the practice made puppies cry. ACO said there are no laws against this practice.

“I explained that their bodies are trying to build up immunities and on top of them being puppies and being sore are all causes for them to cry,” the ACO said. “I explained to her that also as with human babies, animals also go through a period of not feeling great and soreness from the vaccine, especially in the younger animals.”

The complainant told the officer she planned to get CLASS shut down by authorities because “people were terrified and afraid to step forward.” She mentioned altercations between volunteers and employees and spoke about bullying. (A former volunteer told MyCanyonLake.com that Mayfield refers to her employees as ‘crackheads.’)

“She stated there’s a shed in the back that has animals dying that they’re put there when they don’t wanna get in trouble and allowed to just lay and die.”

Later, the complainant called back and listened as the ACO explained the admissibility of ‘hearsay’ in a court of law.

“I also explained to her that with cases like this it’s a one-and-done we’ve got to get a solid case before we could even move forward.”

When stories appear on social media it’s possible CLASS gets tipped off about visits from ACO, the investigator said.

“We discussed the fact that people cover their tracks when they know that people are watching,” the ACO reported.

Their report did not mention whether the ACO ever investigated the shed after their phone call with the volunteer.

April 26

On April 26, another caller asked ACO to check on puppies in the isolation area to make sure they weren’t exhibiting signs of parvo vomiting or diarrhea.

The complainant said all the puppies in isolation had been exposed to parvo and worried they would be left in cages and just given fluids instead of being treated by a veterinarian.

“Arrived and spoke to Cassie who has been caring for the puppies she said one is completely healed from parvo and the others are still showing signs of parvo,” ACO wrote in their report.

“Kelly was not at the shelter yet today and she has the vet records for the puppies’ treatment but will have her send them once she gets in today.

“(Class President) Darrell (Mayfield) called trying to find out what records we need. I did some research on the ones we do have. I do not believe we need any others today. There was the diarrhea-type excrement with no blood, and all puppies were active per ACO 935 MP, also, it was stated at least a puppy or two was actually recovering.

“Called Darryl back (to) let him know since the original officer is off-duty today, I don’t think we need any new records today but I will let him know if I find out different, explained since no blood and puppies are acting normal.”

City of Cibolo confirmed Darrell Mayfield spent eight months as an ACO before leaving his position voluntarily in 2020. Kelly Mayfield said Darrell worked with “bomb” dogs trained to detect explosives for the Houston Police Department (HPD), where he worked from 1990 and 2011. A spokesperson for HPD said Darryl Mayfield worked patrol and juvenile and also at the airport—where dogs are used to sniff for explosives and contraband — throughout his career there. He could not confirm whether Mayfield actually handled those dogs.

HSNBA Weighs In

Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area (HSNBA) Director Sarah Hammond, who arrived in 2015, says that while the reports are indeed disturbing, her main concern is whether animals are spayed, neutered and chipped.

In response to the parvo outbreak, she said parvo is a serious problem in the area, and any unvaccinated dog is at risk of catching it.

”It is a horrible way for a dog to die,” she said. At HSNBA, when a puppy shows signs of parvo, it is immediately tested. If it is positive, the animal is taken immediately to a full-service vet clinic for treatment or humanely euthanized.

Hammond said robust spay-and-neuter programs are the only way out for Comal County — and especially Canyon Lake — where thousands of dogs and cats roam communities without the benefit of spay-and-neuter or shots.

“Homeless animals are a big problem for everyone,” she said. “Every shelter in Texas right now is being inundated with homeless pets.”

Hammond’s goal is to spay-and-neuter her way out of a job. Unfortunately, she said she has job security for life.

She wasn’t pleased to find cat and a dog at her shelter that were adopted out from CLASS without being neutered or chipped.

“People don’t understand the value of adopting an animal that’s already vetted. The reason we’re in this mess is because citizens are not spaying and neutering their pets. To add insult to injury, it appears CLASS isn’t doing it consistently either.”

HSNBA has spayed and neutered over 10,000 animals through its adoption program and has trapped, neutered and released (TNR) over 5,000 cats since its partnership with the Comal County Veterinary Medical Association was cemented in 2016. .

Even though New Braunfels’ population has exploded, intake at HSNBA has remained fairly consistent.

Hammond attributes that to the shelter’s aggressive spay-and-neuter program. “Nothing leaves through adoption with its parts,” she said.

On average, HSNBA cares for about 4,500 animals a year and has achieved ‘No-Kill’ status by consistently saving at least 90% of the animals entering the shelter.

“If CLASS cannot fully vet each and every animal they take in – that’s vaccines for puppies and kittens every two to three weeks, parasite protection, microchip and spay neuter, they need to take in less animals. Period,” Hammond said over the course of two interviews.

“My biggest concern is that animals leaving their care are adopted without spays or neuters and microchips. Those dogs and cats go on to make more puppies and kittens and those puppies and kittens make more puppies and kittens. I already have a shelter full of accidents, I don’t need anymore.”

She also worries about transparency at CLASS. HSNBA’s board grills her monthly about expenses, a good sign that a nonprofit is operating responsibly.

“There’s no way for checks and balances the way they’re set up,” Hammond said. “There’s no accountability. It’s her, her husband (CLASS President Darrell Mayfield) and two friends on the board. And she’s running the shelter. That’s not the way you run a legitimate nonprofit.”

Hammond said another problem is the potential lack of training for ACO officers, who may not understand the finer points of shelter management.

She said you can’t compare HSNBA to CLASS. The New Braunfels shelter is open-intake because it’s funded through contracts with the City of New Braunfels and Comal County.

“We take everything,” Hammond said.

HSNBA immunizes every animal with ‘core vaccines’ before they can be moved into regular kennels. Quarantine means seven days in an isolation unit because vaccines take seven days to kick in.

“If they picked up something while out like parvo or distemper that gives us a chance to look for symptoms of something dangerous or contagious,” she said. “Any sign of a contagious disease and the animal is isolated immediately.”

Young animals derive some immunity from their mothers but that wanes over time, Hammond said. Kittens and puppies are boosted every two to three weeks to make sure they’re protected.

She took a closer look at a Facebook image of German Shepherd puppies at CLASS. They had highly contagious sarcoptic mange but were sitting in the middle of CLASS.

“That’s when I started having some serious concerns,” she said.

“I follow CLASS and Kelly on Facebook and I see litter after litter after litter that she’s taking in and I don’t know where they’re going or how they’re getting vetted, it’s concerning to say the least.

Hammond said death is a fact of life in animal shelters, but she’s concerned about the reports that Mayfield is letting animals suffer and die without the benefit of euthanasia. CLASS is pulling multiple litters from multiple shelters without isolating or quarantining the animals first.

Volunteers Speak Out

Kaplen said she started volunteering at CLASS in February because she has a lot of free time and loves animals. A big backyard made fostering a dog attractive to her. Enthusiastic about the prospect of helping animals, she volunteered two to four times a week, sometimes working from before the shelter opened until it closed for the day.

It wasn’t long before she started noticing things didn’t seem right.

The first red flag was raised when Kaplen returned some of the foster puppies she was caring for only to see them die, one by one. After hours, no one was available to care for the animals.

“It was pretty disgusting,” she said. “A lot of poop, sometimes no water again, like the sick puppies. I don’t even know if they were medicating them. That was really one of the first things I saw…the next day I’d show up and the dogs were either dead or an employee would say she didn’t know where they went. I think they were putting them down.”

Water buckets were filthy or empty. In February, Kaplen mentioned that one of the adult dogs was sick.

The dog’s stomach was swollen and it wouldn’t come out of the doghouse. The next day, it was dead.

“Nobody did anything about it,” Kaplen said.

Still, she persisted. CLASS was understaffed, and she thought she could help.

Instead, Kaplen came to feel like she herself was staff because of poor management. There was not a lot of protocol or rules to follow.

As sick dogs continued to just disappear, she became suspicious of a storage shed with dog beds in the corner, along with a few pillows.

“I bet you that’s where they’re putting those animals down,” Kaplen said.

Previous employees warned her that while at ARF Mayfield sometimes took dogs she wanted to euthanize to other shelters, then swapped them out for other dogs.

Thursdays at CLASS were strange as well, Kaplen said. Volunteers noted that “some really shady people” who looked like they were using drugs showed up. Mayfield would give them a dog and a bag of dog food.

The former volunteer said she never saw a dog euthanized at CLASS but can’t account for dogs that just disappeared.

“Where are they going? They’re not always being adopted out.”

Kaplen said several months ago one of her friends, excited to support the shelter, spent $600 on dog blankets and also bought some bones for the dogs. It was cold outside when Kaplen dropped the blankets off.

She never saw the blankets again, except for one in the back of Mayfield’s van.

“I’m not saying maybe she didn’t give them out but that was a lot of blankets.”

Kaplen said she was also surprised that Mayfield never took the time to check outside kennels.

“In my opinion, if you’re going to be running a shelter you should be walking out there seeing how clean it is, do they have water and what’s their demeanor,” she said. “It’s just very neglectful. They don’t even have time to give the dogs baths…there’s not enough staff to make sure they’re fed and watered much less give them meds. It’s just my opinion and what I saw when I was there.”

A friend who stopped by the shelter messaged Kaplan to let her know she overheard employees, referred to as ‘crackheads’ by Mayfield, cursing at the dogs.

Staffing was another issue at CLASS during her brief time as a volunteer. Some employees were part-time or weren’t reliable, disappearing for several weeks at a time.

“There would be three to five days where dogs were walking around in their poop,” she said. “I went home crying and sick to my stomach.”

She and other volunteers began showing up to scrub kennels and make sure animals had food and water and weren’t laying in their own excrement. They wanted to walk dogs and exercise them. Instead, they performed jobs regular employees were tasked with completing.

Another volunteer shared her own concerns with fellow rescuers on a private Facebook page dedicated to uncovering problems at the shelter.

“I fostered for CLASS back in Sept 2021,” she posted. “They had some tiny kittens they were syringe feeding and probably weren’t going to make it unless they were fostered. When I went to get them, the condition of the momma cats and kittens in the back was horrendous. Metal floors in the cages, no bedding, newspaper, nothing. Nowhere to get out of their pee. Dishes turned over. Only two of the three survived the night before I picked them up in the morning. They were matted and stunk. There was no sign of formula around their mouths. I syringe fed, moved to wet food and a bit of dry, potty trained after about four weeks.

“CLASS posted they were doing an adoption event at Canyon Springs, and to bring your fosters. So I brought them in to get their shots and drop them off. I was going out of town so couldn’t attend the event. Fast forward a few months and my phone rings. Someone at CLASS asking me about the kittens. They had no record I ever brought them back. I sent them pics and the names we gave them. What happened to these kittens, I don’t know to this day. They even received updates from me while we fostered these babies.”

“Following CLASS’ Facebook page, when they started cutting hours truly concerned me,” she said. “I’ve never had to make an appointment to see animals when I was looking to adopt. Ever. And I’ve been to quite a few over the years.”

The former volunteer said claims the shelter has been inspected and cleared “rings as lies.”

“If you are trying to share good news, wouldn’t you share all these good inspection reports? It’s like getting a certificate for something, you want to share that. If they were really inspected, I promise, there’s a report.”

“And last, for now, I’m now seeing more and more people looking for homes for their cats, kittens, dogs, puppies on the Everything Canyon Lake, Texas Facebook page. Why the uptick? I always comment they should take them to CLASS instead of adding to our local population problem. Many times they’ve been turned down with claims of ‘we’re full.’

“So I then refer them to HSNBA. When you tell people to take them to CLASS, and they already tried that, it outs the fact that CLASS refused on a very public forum. At some point people are going to start asking their own questions, like I did.”

Mayfield Defends CLASS

Asked to respond to these allegations, Mayfield insists she spays, neuters and vets all dogs before adopting them out. She thinks $250 is a reasonable price for a dog. Puppies cost $300. Animals get four shots, are evaluated by a veterinarian, neutered and dewormed.

“That doesn’t even cover the upkeep.”

Like HSNBA, CLASS has a foster program.

Mayfield defends her high-dollar dog-and-cat adoptions, explaining that CLASS operates on a donations-only basis. Husband Darrell said monthly expenses vary from $4,000 to $15,000 although it generally costs $6,000 a month to operate CLASS.

Expenses include dog food, utilities and vet bills.

Mayfield said 90% of the dogs and cats she cares for are owner-surrenders from the Canyon Lake area. She said the shelter does pull 10% of its dogs from other areas including Garden Ridge, which has a tiny animal shelter. The city requires all of its dogs to be fully vetted, neutered and microchipped.

Garden Ridge officials did not immediately return a request for confirmation.

Mayfield said she also takes medical cases that nobody else wants.

“If we don’t help out with those dogs or cats, they’re going to be euthanized,” she said. “Mange dogs are my specialty.”

Anyone who wants to check out the shelter’s finances is welcome to stop by and see them.

“We don’t have dogs in the freezer,” Mayfield said, adding sometimes that’s unavoidable if a dog passes after-hours and cannot be properly disposed of immediately.

There are no animals in the shed either, she said

Mayfield blames the recent “smear campaign” on Kaplen and Leanne Nelson, founder of the Lost and Found Dogs of Comal County Facebook page.

Kaplen thought she saw some things and assumed a dog bed in the shed meant Mayfield was killing them, the shelter director explained.

CLASS does not euthanize animals either, Mayfield said, adding that when she assumed responsibility for operations there were enough drugs in the medical cabinet to “mess up half of Canyon Lake.”

When an animal needs to be put down — like the kitten dumped at the shelter Wednesday morning — it’s transported to a vet who makes the call.

Another rumor Mayfield wants to dispel focuses on recent accounts that she took a luxury vacation recently on CLASS’ dime.

“That’s not true,” she said. “I adopted my own dog and brought it back for myself, a little poodle mix, sitting at the shelter with a heart murmur. That’s my right. I can do that.”

On another Facebook page, Mayfield said she actually adopted the dog for a friend.

Editor’s Note: If you have recently adopted, fostered, or volunteered with CLASS in the last six months, please email info@MyCanyonLake.com.

Please review our commenting rules before submitting a post.


  1. Lyndi Moon June 13, 2022

    This is Roscoe. We adopted this sweet little boy from CLASS in February. He was very well cared for and super affectionate!! He was found abandoned near Pink Elephant and covered in fire ants. When he was old enough, our $75 adoption fee included his neuter surgery and all shots. We are very excited to have him in our family!!

    I have no idea why there is so much negativity against CLASS. I have gone there on 3-4 other occasions to drop off litter/food/towel donations and also a monetary donation separate from the adoption fee. I see they are doing the best they can with what they have. It seems like the negative posts from Facebook are ultimately hurting the animals as well as the organization!! I don’t see how that is beneficial at all.

    I hope you are getting some positive input in regards to the shelter!!

  2. Anonymous June 8, 2022

    Memorial Day I went in with my kids, first off it smelled really bad, I wanted to walk back out, but kids were excited and found a little guy super cute, he was in a playpen with four other dogs at the time. Upon filling out form I was told it was $50 for the adoption fee/ application and once they went back for vaccines and neutered it was another $200. I asked up front if they were healthy with no illness and they said yes. I left with no paperwork, nothing showing that he had his first vaccines, no receipt, no dog food. Brought him home, he was just sleeping, no energy, he felt warm, thought maybe he’s a baby and they sleep a lot. Overnight diarrhea.. Called the shelter took my number didn’t call me back. I waited a couple of days thinking he was just nervous new home and surroundings. Thursday wake up to a bunch of diarrhea, he was vomiting and then my little Yorkie started acting funky, he was not eating and drinking no energy didn’t throw up or diarrhea he is fully fascinated so thank god he did fight whatever it was and he’s better. That same day took him back to the shelter, they told me he would be tested and someone would call me, this was Thursday never heard back, walked in on Tuesday and asked they told me he did test positive for parvo, they did not want to give me my $50 back. So now I don’t have the dog, a puppy that got sick in the midst of this, a yard and home that I have to treat for parvo and hope that I can get rid of it. I tried to do something good and rescue this pup but didn’t work out, very bad experience, I would definitely do research on this place before adopting or fostering.

  3. Yolanda June 6, 2022

    I am angry and sickened. I contribute on a regular basis and want these animals saved. This is the second time in five years this has happened, this shelter needs to be closed.

  4. Anonymous June 6, 2022

    As a former employee with the current board of the shelter it broke my animal loving heart to see how many animals are constantly coming into the shelter. I’m writing this not to be vindictive but to help bring light to the situation. I was not fired but left the shelter of my own free will.

    For a shelter that does not have to accept any intakes it seemed that almost every day a new animal or more came in. Where did they come from? Other shelters. Non-local shelters. Hardly any owner surrenders were accepted because, from what I overheard, owner surrenders have a place to be (with the owner) and weren’t at a shelter. Our community of Canyon Lake is helping to fund our shelter but our shelter isn’t holding our animals.

    The animal kennels were being cleaned as often as they could be given we had a tiny staff. Kelly continued to bring animals in knowing we could not handle the volume. I never saw her once in my time there cleaning any kennels. Kelly would bring in more animals and put them wherever she could find a spot. Sometimes it was different dogs from different shelters in the same change with no quarantine time.

    I’ve seen some animals come in and out on the same day. Were they adopted or just sent to a foster home? Who knows. They came straight from one shelter and would go right back out. I left around the time I overheard Kelly asking opinions on euthanizing (at the vet) long stay dogs at the shelter. I don’t know if this practice ever happened but it was mentioned. Kelly purposely overcrowded the shelter then wanted to have long stays put down to make room. Completely uncalled for. Someone needs to take a stand for the animals.

  5. Anonymous June 5, 2022

    CLASS was looking for someone to pick up a dog at the Lockhart Animal Shelter and transport it to CLASS, last fall. I offered to do so and did exactly that. Upon arriving at CLASS with the dog as scheduled, Kelly said she was going to take the dog home with her rather than put it in a kennel at the shelter and said she would have it looked at by a vet because there was definitely something wrong with one of his eyes (excessive goopy drainage). The dog was NEVER featured on their FB page as having been rescued & available for fostering or adoption. There was NEVER any acknowledgement that the dog was safe after being picked up from Lockhart and transferred as shelters often do. I found this to be suspicious – the dog was a purebred, I know it made it safely to CLASS but all of a sudden, he was a mystery…

    In addition, instead of taking money for gas (approx. $58.00) I asked for a receipt showing I donated the money back to CLASS. It took Kelly 3 weeks to get the receipt emailed to me after numerous requests when she could have easily handed me a slip of paper/receipt when I delivered the dog (shelter was closed that day so she was not “too busy” and she knew this in advance of my arrival). Had I not pursued asking for a receipt, it seems strange how the money would have been recorded – if at all. Suspicious bookkeeping. CLASS needs a thorough inspection/audit from A to Z, let no stone be left unturned.

  6. Mark and Tara Thorn June 4, 2022

    We read the article just today on Canyon Lake Animal Shelter and we wanted to reach out to you to tell you our story.
    We adopted a shepherd/ husky mix about a month ago, he was nicknamed “Tony the Tiger” from Canyon Lake animal shelter.
    We noticed a little blood was on his tummy when we adopted him, we asked about it and they stated it was because he had just been fixed, (spayed) so the blood was from the stitches. So, we didn’t think anything of it. He was the nicest, sweetest, and easiest dog.
    The shelter said that they did not currently have his vet records and that they would email them to us. Which this took almost two weeks to get from them. Over the next couple weeks, we started noticing little spots blood every once in a while.
    He had been fully vetted and was up to date on all of his shots when we adopted him including being fixed and microchipped.
    So, we contacted our vet and made an appointment to make sure he was ok. After lots of testing, we found out that Tony had CTVT, which is a contagious virus that turns into cancer. He has numerous tumors and it is going to cost $1,000’s of dollars to get him well.
    We also have another dog at our home is has now been exposed to this virus. So, we contacted the shelter and explained everything to them and they stated that they would have the director contact us. Which this never happened.
    We have spent over $1,000 dollars on Tony including his adoption fee of $250. And now we have a dog that is going to die. We also found out from our vet that the shelter lied to us because our vet informed us that Tony was fixed (spayed) a long time ago, like 8-9 months ago. So, when we adopted him, the shelter knew that something was wrong with him and they lied to us. (Regarding the blood on him)
    Today we went up to the shelter with Tony and returned him to the shelter because we did not know what to do. We do not have the funds to get Tony well and we were definitely not prepared for this. So, we don’t have our dog and we are out all of this money and we are just overwhelmed and blown away that this happened.
    I am writing this to you because I want to make sure that Tony doesn’t just disappear. The lady at the shelter today- Kelly informed us that she was going to contact her vet immediately and get some help for Tony. She assured us that Tony would be isolated from the other dogs because of what he has is highly contagious. So, we don’t know what to do or who to contact but we are so sad about this entire situation.
    Thanks for listening to our story!

  7. Susan Sommer June 3, 2022

    I volunteered walking dogs at CLASS before the new board (2019) and was underwhelmed. I am a retired dog boarding kennel owner of 35 years and a zealous dog person. I also owned a dog grooming salon in another location (both in WI.). I currently compete with my Labradors in many venues and hold positions on several non profit dog club boards. I did offer to help other than dog walking and no one took me up on it.

    The shelter currently has no expertise regarding kennel procedures. They don’t appear to have a veterinarian overseeing anything. I imagine no vet would touch that liability! They post on social media that they have rats (!). They also appear to have a hoarding tendency of their own bcs they have pig there, guinea fowl, some other rodents; all not for adoption. Who would donate to keep up their personal petting zoo! Also the director adopting a dog from another shelter is just . . .so obtuse. The bringing dogs from other counties in also defies explanation. If they get funding for that they should mention it. But they seem overwhelmed regardless.

    There are so many protocols for kennels! Isolation, quarantine, record keeping. The practicing veterinary medicine without a license is alone a reason to avoid this place. For the record, I’ve donated quite a bit of stuff to them with zero acknowledgement. The last time I dropped off a couple of new bags of puppy food, the place smelled worse than ever. That’s when I realized the new guard was no better than, and possibly worse than the old one. I am sad that our town has a such a bad animal shelter.

  8. Lezlee Duncan June 3, 2022

    My parents recently adopted 2 boxers from the CLASS shelter. We picked them up from the shelter on May 19th to take them to my parents house in Orange Grove, Texas.

    When we entered the shelter the smell was overwhelming. It took your breathe away. Kennels where nasty and the 2 dogs smelt as if the had been laying in there own pee and poop.

    The male boxer was so scared that he was in the corner of the kennel shaking. He had to be carried out to the truck. However once he realize that we were going to be nice to him he was so loveable.

    We had to make an appointment to pick them up even thou it was on a Thursday in the afternoon. During business hours.

    We were sent off with no paperwork after paying $300 for 2 dogs. Once we received paperwork on just the female dog it was not from a vet it was the kennel card that was hanging from the cage door. To this day we have no vaccination information on the male and no reputable information for the female.

    The male boxer is not fixed!!! He is fully intact and was adopted out to us.

  9. Anonymous June 3, 2022

    I was a former volunteer at canyon lake animal shelter. I only stayed there for a while because I could not continue watching innocent animals die of diseases and neglect. Kelly would not take a lot of them to the vet, because it was “too expensive.” It was heart breaking watching those babies sit in filth and suffer. I am not sure if the same staff is still there, but a lot of them were rude to each other and cared more about drama than the animals. One staff member was also extremely rude to a lot of adopters and clients for no reason. During my time working there, I always had a suspicious feeling about Kelly. Something just seemed very off like there was something going on behind the scenes. I remember one time there was a sick kitten that had gotten infected by her other siblings. Instead of taking it to the vet, Kelly suggested putting it IN THE FREEZER to let it fall asleep and die. That was the last straw for me and I resigned from my position. I’m glad this animal shelter is finally getting exposed for the wrong doings and neglect is causes it’s animals.

  10. Peggye McDonald June 3, 2022

    On Friday, May 13 around 1:30 we visited the shelter in regards to a possible Blue Heeler young dog being available. When we arrived the main room was cluttered, smelled of urine and nearly took out breath away while signing in. There was a child playing on a cell phone , a younger man on the computer and another woman in the room as well. We had called and spoken with Kelly to see the dog. She took us to the back where the smell was even stronger. Kennels were dirty with dog feces. There was feces in the walkway path that we had to use to see the dogs. It appeared it had been hosed recently but our shoes were soiled after the visit. We did not adopt the dog in question. We left very sad that the facility was in such bad shape. This visit would definitely NOT pass an inspection.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *