Animal shelter needs foster volunteers

HARLINGEN — For every animal that comes into the Harlingen Humane Society shelter, one has to come out.

Some animals are adopted, fostered or transported to shelters in different cities that have a low number of animals.

These are the lucky ones.

Unfortunately, the shelter receives many animals every day so the ones who don’t leave the shelter eventually end up on the euthanasia list. Last year, a combined total of 4,817 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies were euthanized.

For most people, that number might create feelings of surprise, concern and sadness. The Humane Society said it’s possible to lower those numbers, but they greatly need the public’s help by making donations, volunteering at the shelter and especially fostering animals.

“People come in and adopt, but you don’t get that many people for the number of animals that are coming in on a daily basis,” Humane Society shelter manager Misael Lerma said. “So, we have to euthanize a majority of the animals.”

When one animal comes in, one has to go.

The difficult part is choosing which one. Sick, injured and aggressive animals are the first ones to be placed on the euthanasia list. Healthy animals are chosen as a last resort.

However, Lerma said, even “healthy adoptable animals are euthanized all of the time.”

The reason is the lack of space in the animal shelter. As of date, the shelter has a total of 36 cat cages and 35 dog cages that can have about two to three animals inside. Additionally, they have five puppy bins.

These can hold litters of five or more. So, the shelter’s intake capacity is around 200 to 300 animals. When an animal goes to foster care, this opens space for another animal to come in and not have to be euthanized. Lerma said “mentally, the shelter is not an environment that an animal should be in.”

“There’s a lot of barking and different smells.

They’re in jail practically.

It’s different here than when they are in a home setting,” he said. “Animals are always going to be better in a home setting where somebody can care for them, show them attention, love them and help rehabilitate them so they can be ready for adoption,” he added.

This is why fostering would open space and give them more time. The shelter believes all of the animals are worth saving, they just don’t have the resources to save all of them.

Lerma said mostly “all shelters are always short on cash.” “There are only a select few who have an abundance of money that can make a difference like that,” he said.

“We unfortunately don’t, but it all comes down to when the community starts helping by donating, volunteering and fostering animals to make things better and get these animals out,” he added.

More Information

HARLINGEN HUMANE SOCIETY BUSINESS HOURS — Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.

WHERE — Humane Society, 1106 Markowsky

PHONE — 956-425-7297

FOSTER ORIENTATION WHEN — Every third Saturday of the month, 2 p.m.

WHERE — Humane Society, 1106 Markowsky


– $125 Includes:

• Heartworm check (six months or older)

• DHPP vaccination (first booster)

• Spay/neuter • Rabies vaccination

• Microchip tag

• De-worming

• Veterinary wellness visit ADOPTION FEES FOR CATS AND KITTENS

– $100 Includes:

• RCP Vaccination

• Spay/neuter

• Rabies vaccination

• FIV/Leukemia test • Microchip tag

• De-worming

• Veterinary wellness visit PAWS FOR A CAUSE RABIES CLINIC WHEN — Saturday, Sept. 1, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE — Humane Society, 1106 Markowsky

PRE-REGISTRATION: WHEN — Thursday, Aug. 30 and Friday, Aug. 31

WHERE — Humane Society, 1106 Markowsky


• Puppy shots – $15

• Bordetella – $15

• Feline Leukemia/FIV test – $15

• Intestinal de-worming $5 to $20 • Flea/tick prevention $15 to $20

• Heartworm test – $15

• Nail trimming – $5

• Microchip – $20

• Metal ID Tags – $5