Animal shelter at capacity after hoarder dumps more then 70 dogs

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Harris County Animal Shelter is said to always be at capacity, which is why a single person surrendering more than 70 dogs in a short period of time poses such a problem.

Since June, a man described as a hoarder, has delivered 78 "Chi-Weenies" to the facility in northeast Houston. The dogs are a mixture of Dachshund and Chihuahua. The man who turned them over to the shelter is not being identified by the county.

By law, the shelter cannot refuse to take in any animal surrendered by residents of unincorporated Harris County.

According to shelter director Dr. Michael White, the hoarder was recently evicted from his home, and had to get rid of the animals. "How can you live with 70 animals in your house," White asks.

The dogs were not spayed or neutered. "It may have started off with a couple of dogs, and they breed, and a couple can turn into 60." White says there's nothing to suggest the man was breeder, but a hoarder.

More than two dozen were dropped off this past Saturday, including a mother and nine tiny puppies, all of which appear friendly and healthy.

A few dozen more are housed in three large kennels at the shelter. None seem to have health problems. For some, human attention seems new to them.

The problem is that so many animals from one source creates problems for other shelter dogs, which have been housed longer. When space disappears entirely, euthanasia can be part of the discussion. It is something Dr. White, who comes from a background of having a private veterinary practice, prefers not to do.

"There are plenty of adoptable animals here, and this affects the ones already here. If you're going to be a responsible pet owner, you need to spay and neuter your dogs. That's the conversation we need to be having."

Mary Tipton, of K9 Angel Rescue, is a fixture at the shelter, taking animals, some of which are scheduled to be euthanized on the day she pulls them from the list. "I met him, the hoarder, on the day he dumped 19 animals here on a Saturday afternoon," she says. "I offered to help him have his dogs neutered and spayed. He seemed offended that I thought he didn't love them."

A rescuer who recently moved from Wyoming to Bellaire took five of the dogs. Her daughter took another five. Dale Jones has taken the pups in for their shots, spaying and neutering. She also has a Facebook page: "Save the Chiweenies!"

The county shelter on Canino Road will have a half-price adoption event this Saturday, featuring cats, dogs and the Chiweenies.
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