Animal advocates say Marshall in dire need of new shelter

Local

A local animal advocacy group says Marshall needs a brand-new shelter because conditions at the current aging facility are unhealthy for the stray animals that come through.

Mandy Smith is a co-founder of Friends of Marshall Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the city-run animal shelter. They say their mission is “to raise awareness of the need for a cleaner, safer, and more spacious animal shelter that will serve the community at large by lowering euthanasia rates and providing low-cost spay/neuter programs and other services that the existing facilities cannot.”

Smith says the shelter is too small and the euthanasia rate is too high.

“Coming in here and seeing the conditions breaks my heart.” 

Smith says she adopted Sombra from the Marshall Animal Shelter two months ago. Sombra came into the shelter a stray, starving, with mange covering her body.

“I took her home to foster her to get her back into shape, but she came down with parvo because she had been here a week.” 

Smith says Sombra contracted parvo within a week of being in the shelter. The highly contagious virus can be deadly if left untreated.

“This shelter, parvo’s baked in. That’s why you can’t get rid of it unless you tear this place down.” 

And that’s exactly what Friends of Marshall Animals wants to do. They say it’s not big enough to hold the constant intake from the county and it’s not prepared to handle sick animals with contagious diseases. 

The shelter is more than 50 years old, much older than other shelters in the state.

“Most of the shelters in the state of Texas is 16 years old. That’s the average age,” said Smith.

Last year, 43 percent of the animals that came through the shelter were placed and city officials say the euthanasia rate is down compared to previous years.

City of Marshall Public Information Officer Kelly Colvin says while the facility is lacking in some aspects, they’re doing the best with what they have.

“The animals that do come through are well taken care of they’re well fed, they’re watered, they’re in climate-controlled kennels.” 

Today, Sombra is healthy and happy. Smith says all pets deserve a second chance and a new shelter will be a step in the right direction.

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