HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – A good intention may not always be the best action. Animal shelters find animals outside of their facilities, often exposed to deadly heat or attacked by other animals.
Well-meaning residents sometimes leave vulnerable animals outside shelters, hoping that volunteers or employees will be able to help them when they are found.
However, sometimes the animals do not make it past those gates alive.
Director of Yaqui Animal Rescue, Esmer Garcia remembers a box of kittens they were not able to help in time.
“Those kittens died a horrible death,” she said. “Because they didn’t reach out and say, ‘can you take these kittens’.”
In January, a box with kittens was left at the gates of the Yaqui Animal Rescue ranch in Sullivan City.
Stray dogs got to the kittens before Yaqui personnel could; their Facebook post said the kittens were still warm when they got there.
Other animals are not the only danger; heat can affect vulnerable kittens, puppies, and elderly animals and can even lead to death.
Since the start of the pandemic, Garcia said she has seen an increase in animal dumping in her area.
“I think everyone is just having a hard time right now. People are losing their jobs, people are losing their homes, and you know, we understand that, but just talk to us about it,” said Garcia.
Garcia said that she feels a hardship does not have to lead to the dumping of an animal, in fact, she feels they can offer several solutions.
“Sometimes it take a day, sometimes it takes a few days, it’s just a matter of time,” said Garcia as she explained that they can help residents care for animals while they look for another home or foster.
The Humane Society of Harlingen has encountered the same problem but Executive Director Luis Quintanilla is grateful that it does not happen as often.
“Luckily the vast majority of people just wait for us to be open, and they talk to us, and we figure out ways of helping them keep that animal, or networking that animal on their own,” said Quintanilla.
He said people are often surprised at how much they can do for the animal once they speak to the shelter.
From providing supplies to care for a litter of kittens to helping feed a pet residents were struggling to care for, the Humane Society said they can help in any situation.
By helping people find solutions, the shelter is alleviated from the pressure of having to take in more animals.
“The only guarantee is that more animals will arrive at our shelter is that more animals will come in and we have to find a way to get them out, and our kennel space is incredibly limited,” said Quintanilla.
The Humane Society is proactive about letting people know they have a pet food pantry so that pets who cannot be fed are less likely to be surrendered.
“Don’t leave them at the gate because you don’t know, what if they run off? What if another stray dog comes and attacks them? There’s just so much that can go wrong,” said Garcia.
The Human Society is currently asking for plastic crates, metal kennels, or donations. For more information on how you can help, you can call (956) 425-7297.
The Yaqui Animal Rescue has an Amazon wish list that can be accessed here.