Residents continue with suggestions, offers regarding Port Arthur animal shelter

Published 12:30 am Friday, March 31, 2023

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Residents from in and around Port Arthur returned to City Council Thursday for the second consecutive meeting to discuss the city’s animal shelter following the February release of a social media video portraying two kittens in poor health.

Jacqueline Hebert, who now lives in Nederland but resided in Port Arthur from 2005 to 2020, said she volunteered at the Port Arthur Animal Shelter for more than a year.

“When I volunteered I had a lot of concerns, but I didn’t know who or where to go with the concerns,” she said.

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“There was constantly an overflow…so we did as much as we could do going in once a week. The adoption rate and the amount of dogs sent to the rescues and adopted out could not keep up with the amount coming in.”

Hebert stressed the desire for the city to adopt a no-kill policy and promote spay and neuter programs.

“This gives us volunteers…a lot of hope, and mainly to help these animals that can’t help themselves,” she said. “And in turn it helps the City of Port Arthur.”

Angela Dodson, a Nederland resident with Laws 4 Paws, was among the four speakers and discussed making the animals more attractive to homes that would foster and/or adopt.

“I know for a fact that volunteers will assist the shelter, caring for the animals, fosters and adopters, fundraising for medical cases, and bringing in tangible donations as needed, thus saving the city money,” she said.

The speakers come on the heels of a March 14 meeting in which a veterinarian from Winnie offered to work with the city to obtain a no-kill status, meaning at least 90 percent of animals in the municipal shelter leave alive.

Kelly Kays said she had helped the City of Beaumont obtain that goal after becoming their veterinarian in 2016.

The February video taken from inside the Port Arthur facility showed one kitten that appeared to be dead but died at a later time. It was sharing a kennel with another kitten.

City leaders said an internal investigation was launched following release of the video, noting an inspection Nov. 8 by the Department of State Health Services reported no negative findings.

The shelter on 4th Street, which was built in 1978 to house 30 animals, has approximately four employees, Burton said.

According to Port Arthur’s Code of Ordinances, impounded animals can be kept for five days. If the owner does not claim it within those five days, the animal becomes property of the city.

The Mid County Small Animal Shelter in Groves is used to house animals from Groves and Port Neches.

According to the City of Groves’ Code of Ordinances, “all impounded pets shall be redeemed within three days. Any such pet not redeemed within such time may be adopted or euthanized.”

Monthly statistics posted by Beaumont Animal Care show the city’s municipal shelter save rate for February was 87.47 percent.

City leaders have long been in the works to build a new animal shelter. In May 2022, councilmembers entered into an agreement with PGAL, Inc. to develop a plan for a new site on Gates Boulevard where St. Mary Hospital once stood.

Also on Tuesday, the council voted to renew the members of the Port Arthur Animal Advisory Board, established in 2012 in accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Veterinarian David Webb, Municipal Officer Darlene Thomas-Pierre, Animal Control Supervisor Anthony Mitchell and Animal Welfare Representative Deborah Verrett were recommended for the positions.