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SPCA of East Texas pleads for county funding as they hit record-high overpopulation

The fate of strays in East Texas resides in the animal control office or to stay on the streets.

TYLER, Texas — **EDITOR'S NOTE -- the video attached was produced in Feb. 2022

The SPCA of East Texas is pleading to the Commissioners Court of Smith County to expand their budget to help curb the overcrowding of strays in the community. 

The SPCA has hit an all-time high population of animals in their facility, topping out at around 160 cats and dogs. After sending almost 50 animals on a transport truck to New England, they are still overflowing in animals with no way to help the other animals that are in desperate need of help all around the county and community. 

"The community is drowning in strays - our clinic and admin offices have become a quasi-shelter," said Dobbs. "We've never had this many animals in our care...and we cannot take on anymore animals until we take another transport."

Although the SPCA is 100% community-based and supported, in addition to grants, the large influx of animals in need has caused them to begin urging the commissioners court and the county to expand their budget to help support the county's animal control office. 

Their shelter is not the only one struggling with overcrowding, as the surrounding shelters in the community are at an impasse of population size: they cannot take in any more strays, leading the only options these animals have to be the animal control office or to stay on the streets.

"While we understand the county has a lot of other priorities, unchecked population of strays in happening right now in Smith County and in my opinion, its the highest it has ever been in the last 15 years," explained Dobbs.

The current issue for the Smith County Animal Control office is that although they have room for 82 kennels, once the animal population exceeds 47, they must euthanize the animals. Additionally, the office is understaffed - they currently have one full-time position to take care of the animals they pick up around the county. 

Furthermore, any stray found cannot be surrendered to the county office; their office doesn't allow for the public to give strays to them like the SPCA or other human societies around the city do. 

These issues have hit a fever-pitch as the county and SPCA are investigating a current case in Smith County where upwards of 20 animals were abandoned and neglected. The SPCA doesn't have the space to rescue all the animals associated with this case, which led them to begin their path to commissioners court to help ease the lack of funding for the county's office in conjunction with the overpopulation all the shelters are experiencing.

Dobbs explained: "We're urging the commissioners to revisit their budget this year and make some allowances, urgent allowances, for them to complete their facility and offer an intake and surrender policy."

As they await the decision of the commissioners court, Dobbs detailed the best way to ensure Smith County, and all of East Texas, curbs their overcrowding problem of strays.

"Spay and neuter is the solution to everyone's problem," said Dobbs. "If you really boil this whole thing down and say 'why are we in this position that we are in' as a county, its because we need to spay and neuter our pets."

For those who would like to adopt a new furry friend, they can visit the SPCA of East Texas' website, where donations can also be given to the facility.

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