RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Both the Humane Society of Harlingen and Palm Valley Animal Society have been dedicated to their mission of saving as many animals as possible. They’ve reported being able to save more than 85% of their intake.

The Humane Society of Harlingen (HSH) has been open to the public since 1989 and has maintained the only ‘no kill’ status in the Rio Grande Valley since 2020.

Luis Quintanilla, HSH Executive Director, said being ‘no kill’ means saving all animals that can be possibly saved. This status is given to shelters that save 90% or more of their animals.

Quintanilla added they’re reserving euthanasia for those animals who “absolutely need it.”

HSH’s journey of a ‘no kill’ status began at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Quintanilla said it was hard enough with the staffing and resources shortage; the pandemic only made it that much more difficult.

Quintanilla credits the shelter’s surrounding community though.

“Really what matters is those people who are on their couches right now thinking, ‘I wanna make a difference. I wanna make a change.’ And it all happens one animal at a time, so all those people who have fostered and adopted with us or volunteered or donated, those are the people who are responsible for this amazing achievement,” said Quintanilla.

Although Palm Valley Animal Society (PVAS) is no longer considered a ‘no kill’ shelter as of August of 2021, they have reported saving 88% of their animals since the end of 2017.

Donna Casamento, PVAS Executive Director, told ValleyCentral, although she does not support the ‘no kill’ language. She is pushing for the phrase ‘safe and humane’ as she feels it is more about the animals than it is the numbers.

Last year alone, PVAS housed roughly 18,000 animals.

Casamento added the pandemic not only brought hardship on other shelters such as HSH but also PVAS.

“We went to where we had a 40% increase of animals that we’re holding almost overnight,” commented Casamento. “Within a few short weeks we were up to 1,800 animals in care and we can humanely care for roughly 1,000 animals.”

Because every shelter across the nation was dealing with the same crisis, PVAS’s rescue team had to flee up north to assist shelters that needed their help the most.

Casamento said although it was one of their hardest times, the community saved the day by adopting and fostering.

Both shelters are hoping to maintain low numbers of euthanasia but said they need the continued support of the community.

Neither PVAS nor HSH has an on-site veterinarian and actively looking to hire at least one.

The shelters are also calling on the public to foster, adopt, donate essentials, or even come in to play with the animals.

If you’re interested in supporting the HSH, visit their website.

PVAS also has a live website you can find more information on.