Houston shelter addresses rumors about killing dogs

Houston shelter lashes out at ‘vicious’ rumors about killing rescued dogs

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Over the past two days, a Houston, Texas, animal shelter has been the subject of harsh rumors about their intentions regarding the dogs rescued from Hurricane Harvey. The allegations have been running rampant on social media and on Sunday, the Houston SPCA released a response about their intent to kill dogs (specifically pit bulls) who were rescued from the massive flooding which hit the area.

The animal shelter stated:

The Houston SPCA has been the subject of a vicious and false rumor that claims that we are euthanizing the very animals we are currently rescuing. This is unequivocally false. Our teams on are on the ground working tirelessly to rescue, care for and reunite pets with owners displaced by this catastrophe.


We all have come together as a community to save countless lives as Harvey’s aftermath continues to plague parts of our city and surrounding areas. We are on the ground, and in boats, searching and rescuing for all animals who are in need, caring for them by our team of vets and working towards reuniting them.

Veterinarians throughout Texas will be working with us to foster the thousands of storm victims we anticipate rescuing and bringing to the Houston SPCA.

On Sunday, the animal welfare agency announced a partnership with FindingRover.com and Petco Foundation that will help connect Harvey storm victims with their pets through facial recognition technology.

Despite the words of reassurance, the Houston SPCA is still facing social media backlash from individuals who believe that rescued pit bulls will be euthanized by the agency. Comments on the shelter’s release allege a lack of transparency and a bias towards “bully breeds.”

The Best Friends Animal Society has created a petition requesting that the Houston SPCA be held accountable to a list of “life-saving guarantees.” Read the petition in full at this link.

More news and updates at the National Animal News Facebook page.

Dog was going to drown in raging flood water until these good Samaritans saved the day – dramatic video!



21 replies
  1. maxiemom says:

    I don’t believe them. The director is SHAMELESS about killing pit bulls, and I have no doubt whatsoever than any and every pit bull that arrives at that place will leave in a plastic bag.

    That bitch should have been fired long ago.

    • Sherry D Hadley says:

      OMG that is horrible! I don’t know why I’m shocked, I just can’t believe how senseless. I have heard of that facial recognition tool and I hope it does reunite owners with their pets. I am concerned too, about the animals that were just strays or their owners don’t give a damn, are those dogs safe or its a crap shoot…because this is so distressing. I hate liars and worse, people with no regard for a dog’s life. They all matter, bitches!

  2. Linda Henry says:

    All one needs to do is view their show on Animal Planet. President Patty Mercer in her own words on many occasions has put forth her opinions on rehoming bully breeds and that HSPCA had a policy of not doing so….perhaps this has led to the current suspicions….

  3. susispot says:

    This is what we needed to hear. I thought it was crazy that they would be killing dogs. Some times we have to dig and fish for the truth. God bless ALL the rescuers.

    • VM says:

      Check the replies to this story – the director does not believe in saving bully breeds and refuses help from Best Friends Org. as well as interviews with reporters.

  4. susispot says:

    This is what we needed to hear. I thought it was weird they would be killing dogs from harms way. Sometimes you have to dig and fish to find the truth.

  5. Barkley's Mom says:

    I do hope these are just rumors, but Texas doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to animal welfare! Hopefully, people will be watching closely to see what is going on!

  6. Gigi Fratus says:

    HSPCA my response: You can’t do a hostel take over, throw people out that have been working their butts off risking their lives to save animals.Thrown out like trash – Left in the dark while being treated like dirt. You created an atmosphere of Fear & Frustration. You have no one to blame, but the authorities for the rumors if they are rumors. Nothing short of picture/video evidence of all animals at intake and after when they are Safely in other Locations. You created this Conterversiousy You need to fix it!!!

    • Sherry D Hadley says:

      OMG this chaps my ass! I will never donate another cent to those lying bastards. I’m a dog fan and a pit bull fan!

  7. Carol says:

    Their President, Patti Mercer has on numerous occasions stated on their television program, Animal Cops Houston, all pit bulls are euthanized because they are just too dangerous to adopt out. The dogs aren’t dangerous, Patti Mercer is.

  8. Donna Earley says:

    In regards to the rumors regarding the “euthanizing” of animals (specifically pit bulls) by the HSPCA at the Ford Center in Beaumont Texas. First of all I would like to thank each and every one who has risked their lives to save others, animals and humans alike.
    Hurricane Harvey is a Natural Disaster that has affected our whole country. There are those who lost everything….and others who are giving everything to help the lost.
    Just know that with many people….their animals are family. They love them and as in my situation….they are the only family I have.
    Many people were separated from their animals as I personally witnessed the total chaos in the news and social media. Even though the images we seen in the media of the real life people were fighting for…were hard to see…no one can imagine living the moment.
    I saw animal rescuers come from across the country and put their lives at risk to save the smallest of animals. I think one young man lost his life saving a cat. So all those who were there….who waded the waters…who wondered what their next step forward would be or what they would find…I commend you on your bravery.
    I am aware of a rumor involving the HSPCA which is going around on social media. I am the founder of a national organization that fights for animal rights. We have tens of thousands of members, in which some of them put “boots on the ground” in these flood waters to save animals. Being traumatized of what was occurring….their bravery and compassion has saved many lives. Not just the HSPCA or the HSUS…but “Joe Blow”, my neighbor…my co-worker….my friend.
    When the SPCA took over the Ford Center (the holding area for animals rescued) and declared a mandatory evacuation of all rescuers and volunteers not only was that a slap in the face, but it caused doubt, worry and fear of those rescuers. They were being pushed out after risking their lives to save lives. That coupled with the fact that Patti Mercer, Director of the HSPCA is running on a reputation that is not favorable to not only those in rescue, but the many animals that have been euthanized for unlogical reasons. They say a reputation will follow you around….well…they do and Ms Mercer’s continues. So what were the rescuers and volunteers to think? Why were they thrown out when they were trying to help those animals who needed help…those they saved?
    Everyone is tired….tension and anxiety is plaguing even the calmest of people. But everyone is living in chaos after Hurricane Harvey! Mistakes will be made….lives will be taken….but with the reputation of the HSPCA…people wonder? Do you blame them? Especially those who saved the animals….to think their efforts went wrong if the HSPCA was just going to kill the animals they had saved anyway?
    Knowing rescuers like I do…if they had any idea this would happen….there would have been no animals at the Ford Center.
    So…with all the chaos…..the passion of all the rescuers…..the reputation of the HSPCA….what the hell is a person to think? That is why there are rumors (God I hope these are only rumors)…because no one is willing to step out publicly to declare their intentions.
    I have set up call 2 action campaigns to Fox News and Governor Abbott’s Office to ask for someone to come forward and either put these rumors to rest…or to tell the truth. If mistakes are being made another method must be put in to place immediately. There are rescuers, volunteers and donations pouring in, so there is no room for mistakes or ill intent But….HSPCA has not taken the platform to answer to the alleged rumor publicly? Then you wonder about the discontent and doubt amongst rescuers?
    As the animal rescue community….we would like to know the actual process of intake, the days following intake….and to know that all animals, including pit bulls will be given at least a 30 day hold to find the owners. Donations should take care of the cost of the holding of these pets and their owners should not have to pay any fees because the rescuers and donators have already done so.
    Since how it is known that the HSPCA does not adopt out pit bulls when their owner holds are over….apparently they are euth’d. We would like for the HSPCA to cease euthanizing any animal from the hurricane and to allow rescues from across the country to come in following an expired 30 day owner hold and be allowed to pull those animals left behind to ensure they can be conditioned, vetted and adopted out. We also do not accept any tempermental testing at this time to be done to any animal to determine an aggressive nature, due to the fact these animals are traumatized from what Hurricane Harvey destroyed. Much like the people affected by the hurricane….the animals have lost their homes….their families….their belongings….and unlike us humans…they do not understand what is happening and why. So each little animal is a victim as much as anyone else and also deserve the time to decompress.
    What we are asking is not anything less than what we all deserve. So if you want the rumors to stop….and the truth be known….then go public with your intentions and show us that these rumors are indeed false. Until you do this….then you are only causing more and more doubt. For in the end….the truth will come out…and when it does….you will either be commended for your efforts….or destroyed by your means.

    • Vavette Owens says:

      I personally was on the ground with HSPCA from start to finish. I will tell you the facts and nothing but the facts regarding what happened at Ford Center as I have no affiliation with any organization that was there.
      DAY 1: Most of the social media rumors can be traced back to one person, who in fact gave false information or information that was half of a story, and sensationalized things in such a manner that it could be construed as negative. ( revert back to the old adage “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”) Saturday night people were told to take a break, get some rest and were asked to leave politely. Tempers were rising, people were stressed, animals were stressed and chaos abounded. Rest is what everyone needed. There was an incident in the parking lot where a person was hit by a car while they were sleeping, this incident was the main cause for locking down the facility. Too much traffic in and out of dark areas only makes it that much more dangerous for those there helping. So in lieu of taking this advice and letting things cool down some folks took to social media and put the HSPCA on blast. Wrong thing to do in a moment of anger.

      DAY 2: At 8am as instructed by HSPCA we (the volunteers) showed up at the gates and went to work, not necessarily well rested but at least rested enough to tackle the task at hand and provide care for every animal there. The young man and woman from HSPCA who were in charge were bombarded by media, Animal Cruelty investigators, military officials, you name it and they had to deal with it; volunteers were questioned and photographed about the care of the animals. The very same person who started the social media hype walked through the facility and never once volunteered to help any animal, nor did he volunteer his 70 animal capacity trailer to transport animals to safer places. He did a live video as he walked through inspecting and intentionally avoided the area were Pitt Bulls were housed. I was there and he walked right by me and shook my hand as if he were the President. Best Friends animal group sent a group of young men over to investigate the allegations made on social media. They too questioned volunteers and of course the two young people in charge of the temporary rescue. They were not involved in providing any care for any of the animals. One of their team members collapsed outside of the facility with heat stroke causing all work with the animals to come to a cease. Myself and several other medics on site provided care to him until EMS could come and take him to a hospital. This interference caused the facility to be closed for two hours. Two long hours in the heat doing absolutely nothing with animals needing our care. But due to one, who obviously was not trained for extreme weather conditions by his rescue group, we all had to suffer and that included the animals. Not only that due to their interference much needed Fire/EMS was pulled from helping those in need to provide for this young mans care. We worked tirelessly to save every pup after reentering the facility, I was soaked through and through as I held animals who were suffering from heat and pouring water over them to help them cool down. These animals were then transferred to the critical care area where they were monitored by a team of vets and then were transferred to the Houston facility as critical. They were not euthanized. Every Pitt Bull was treated well, so well that some of them were chewing out of their crates to get “puppy loving”. We actually got more licks, cuddles and hugs from the Pitties than the little guys we worked with. None were euthanized and the vets and techs gave them the very best of care. I personally sat with two who were escape artists who we had to pet non stop just to keep them in their kennels. I’m not sure they came in spoiled rotten or the vets who cared for them did it, but they were shamelessly spoiled with loving and couldn’t get enough of it. Each time the young lady and gentleman who were in charge (HSPCA) tried to help us with the animals, someone else would show up at the gates demanding attention. They both personally were there “hands on” getting dirty and doing what they could when time permitted, and when they did their walk throughs with media, they loaded up with water bottles and gatorade and passed them to us as they walked by. It became our routine. We had many happy reunions but due to social media rumors many folks showed up under the guise of volunteering and stole dogs from the shelter, I was helping in the small dog area and had to search for missing animals, taking down ID numbers and looking for these dogs with walkers, only to find out that they were gone and not checked out correctly. What a slap in the face… we weren’t sure they were there for good or bad. I am praying it was for good and that they will have a great home. But I have a feeling it was a set up in an attempt to cast a negative light on the HSPCA by saying “where are these dogs, you killed them!”. When this activity was noted, all volunteers were asked to leave the facility for the evening, minus those who were trustworthy, I am so glad to be part of that group. ( sidenote: Catering Cajun provided us volunteers with an awesome hot meal for dinner, which was much needed after a draining day of work. Thank you Catering Cajun.) My granddaughter who accompanied me on this mission earned her right to work with the dogs that evening… she iced down water, ushered families in to find lost animals, handed out poo baggies to walkers and wrote up cards for people to help locate their furbabies. She did this without question with only the request that she be allowed to give the little guys some puppy loving. I think she earned more respect for her hard work than some of the adults who claimed to be there for the dogs well being. And then we rested in our truck overnight.
      Day 3: We entered the facility again and began our work with the small dog group, our designated area. No volunteers were allowed in due to the prior days events. We cleaned, set up a designated small dog play area that my granddaughter manned while we prepared them for travel and immediately began transporting animals out. A van would pull up, we’d load it to capacity and start again. This was overseen by the Sheriff’s Department and a group of Animal Cruelty Investigators, all animals were transported to Houston where staff were waiting to provide them care on that end. And after it was all completed we left; as I was leaving the same person who started the media hype pulled out behind me and left as well. On Day 3 of my stay he never left his trailer nor did he come into the facility, nor did he transport any animals.

      So there, that’s a true accounting from a volunteer’s perspective of what occurred during HSPCA’s stay at Ford Center. I personally only know of 3 euthanasia’s and those were horses and not carried out by HSPCA. The vet’s in charge of that area were like me, volunteer’s not associated with any organization and they only had the best interest of the horses in mind. I will remind you all that some animals that came in were beyond being saved, no amount of medical intervention would have saved their lives and they were given a humane death. I can honestly say from driving in flood waters to get in and seeing first hand the devastation in Beaumont, that not every life will be saved, not every outcome will be good. We, those who were there and cared, did the very best we could but sometimes that isn’t enough. All we can do is pray for those we can’t save and do the best for those that can. By giving into negativity and believing half truths, we don’t do justice to those who are there tirelessly serving those who need it the most.

      I personally want to thank the HSPCA, ASPCA, Missouri SPCA, San Diego SPCA, Jefferson County Sheriffs Department, the Texas National Guard (and many others) for allowing an old lady and a girl to help out in Beaumont’s time of need. It was an honor to serve the animals and people who needed a comforting touch, a prayer and a hug, as well as work side by side with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Together we made a difference and in the end all the negative hype didn’t deter us from our goals. Keep you heads up HSPCA you did great work!!!

      For all of you who are here on social media who didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to go help out. Verify your facts before passing along biased or less than factual information. Just know that now the world has their eye on HSPCA and I assure you that will not do anything to risk more negativity from those who were too quick to give it.

      Vavette and Jordan Owens
      Two Cajun Gals who have big Texas hearts!!!

  9. chanda says:

    They are people’s pets, regardless of the situation. Get their program off the air on Animal Planet. Even if dogs have mange WHICH IS EASILY TREATED, THEY MURDER THEM. I don’t see that when I watch Animal cops, Philly or Arizona…You wouldn’t have enough $ if you murdered mine because they got misplaced in a hurricane, especially if mine are chipped and i have vet proof.


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