Residents in New Braunfels are raising concerns about their local animal shelter.
Some animal lovers say the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area, which is not affiliated with the U.S. Humane Society, isn't being very transparent and Monday night they took their concerns to City Council.
Linda Scullary was one of a handful of residents to raise concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting, She recently started a group called No-Kill New Braunfels. The group's goal is to have at least 90 percent of all the animals in the shelter make it out alive.
Scullary complains the nonprofit shelter, which has contracts to pick up strays for the city and Comal County, hasn't been very transparent.
"I have asked for their vaccination records, cleaning protocols, prevention of disease spread and they have not released any of those documents." Scullary said. "Taxpayers have a right to know how the shelter operates and how they're caring for our pets."
Scullary is demanding the city alter its contract with the shelter to require more transparency including monthly reports on adoptions and euthanasia rates. She also wants the shelter to list all of the animals currently in its care and full access to all those animals.
"There's no reason why the public can't have access to at least viewing every animal in the shelter except those in rabies quarantine," Scullary said.
Denise Cox, acting director of the shelter, said they are trying to achieve no-kill status. "Our euthanasia rate has gone down since we moved to the new shelter and were working on trying to keep it going down," Cox said. "We're trying to get to the 90 percentile, our biggest problem is our feral cats that come in through the city and Comal County."
In addition to working with more rescue and foster groups, the shelter is also trying to establish a trap, neuter and release program to deal with the feral cat population.
"There's always things that can be changed a little and those are things we are doing and have been doing for over a year now," Cox said.
According to numbers provided by the shelter they are beginning to move in the right direction to achieve no-kill status.
In 2012 the shelter took in 5,169 stray cats and dogs. Of those animals, 3,467 or 67 percent were euthanized and 1,612 or 31 percent found homes or were returned to their owners.
In 2013, the shelter took in 4,864 animals, 2,537 or 52 percent were euthanized while 2,030 or 42 percent found homes.
"From 2012 to 2013 overall adoptions rose more than 10 percent and euthanasia fell over 15 percent so those numbers are moving in the right direction," said Amanda Craig, vice president of the Board of Directors.
Craig admits that the shelter hasn't done a very good job of being transparent in the past but they are trying to improve the way they communicate with the public.
"We're looking at starting to put out a newsletter every quarter to let the public know what we're doing and where we need their help, we want everyone to be involved," Craig said.
While she's been disappointed by some of the tactics being used by the local animal groups, Craig says much of what's been said about the shelter isn't true.
"Their hearts are in the right place, they have a huge passion for the same thing we do and I deeply appreciate that. The thing is, the way they are behaving currently is causing a division in the community that's doing more harm than good," Craig said. "We all need to be on the same page and we need to be working toward the same goal."