Chico, a beloved dog by both staff and volunteers, was euthanized at Collin County Animal Services (shelter) this week. And, animal advocates are asking—Why?

This Friday, Oct 6th, Kira Hammond posted her concerns on social media and on our Facebook page. She writes—

Why did Chico die?

This is Chico. Chico was left tied up outside Collin County Animal Services. Chico was vetted and made available for adoption. I’ve been watching and waiting in anticipation because I fell in love with this sweet boy. But less than 24 hours after being made available, Chico mysteriously disappeared from the website. Turns out Chico was silently killed for an unknown reason. What does this even mean? He was nothing but sweet and gentle. He wagged his tail at everyone who walked by. He was loved by staff and volunteers. So why did he deserve to die within less than 24 hours of being made available for adoption? It was as if someone wanted to kill him quickly before anyone could notice to save on the trouble.

To make matters worse, visitors who came to Collin County Animals Services recently overheard a staff member claiming to want to kill over 30 dogs in crates. How could an individual who works to care for these animals daily utter such horrendous words so easily? How many dogs have met the same fate as Chico without us knowing? How many has this shelter killed off just for the sake of space but justifying it as ‘behavior’ or ‘other’ reasons? Why did they talk about wanting to kill over 30 dogs so openly yet we’ve never heard any of this before? Have they been operating like this this whole time?

Chico deserved justice and I demand answers from management here. If they could look at this innocent boy and decide to kill him just like that, then I’m sure there has been many death that went right under our nose at this animal facility. Dogs are disappearing, what’s happening to them? And why? We need answers! We need transparency!”

Frisco’s Pet Project added to the comment for anyone willing to read. And, here we go again.

Residents have been politely raising the flag on the Shelter’s EU numbers to Frisco officials for some time. We guess we were too polite, otherwise maybe Chico would still be alive. Some have met with and written the Mayor of McKinney. We have written the Mayors of Prosper and Celina over the years. Residents have written the Commissioners Court, and met with a few. To add and support Kira’s story, we would like to share this background information.

This past Wed, FPP was contacted through Instant Message from another source, not Kira, about a dog that seemed to disappear at the shelter. On Sun, we were told, it was vetted and posted for adoption, but Mon morning, we heard that the Supervisor relabeled the dog as “behavior” and was euthanized for no reason. We now realize this was Chico.

If you recall, this is similar to Bobo kitty, an adoptable cat that was suddenly euthanized for space in May. To add, Bobo was on hold for a rescue to look at and pick up. Did the Supervisor read the card and see this before putting him down?

We didn’t have a name yet, and we were waiting to get a photo and number of this dog for us to verify before sharing with officials and posting. The tricky part is, we can’t seem to get a public information request or PIR, sometimes called an open records request, for specific information, try as we may. We have to wait until the end of the month, usually around the 8th, for the regular monthly reports to be generated for the past month. We’ve been told on numerous occasions over the years, Collin County doesn’t have to generate a special open records request, and we would have to wait to piece it together from the reports they will generate. So, when we have asked for, say, the number of EUs from Oct 1st through the 6th, or may we have the number of intake from Frisco for the month of Aug, they won’t give it to us, because that is a special request. Another example, we can’t get monthly detailed reports, showing the animals’ number, intake date, reason for intake, what city, number of days at shelter…, except for two times a year—at the end of the year and mid-way. Other times when we asked, we were told that is a special report and they don’t have the staff to pull that together. Again, we are just those “whiny and relentless animal advocates.”

For YEARS, we have told the City of Frisco that the County is euthanizing for space and those Code Reds are real. We tried explaining how they would spin it as “We haven’t euthanized ADOPTABLE animals for space in years.” We then tried to explain that doesn’t mean they are not euthanizing the “UNADOPTABLE” animals, which, oh look, that clears up space. Frisco ignored us and an Deputy City Manager said, “When they euthanize for space that will be a different story.” Who decides if they are “adoptable” or “unadoptable”. How do they evaluate the animals? Now, the new word is “behavior.

FPP then started making charts, tracing the EU numbers for each month for the last five years. All from official open records or PIRs from the County. For example in—

Aug 2018, the EU for Behavior, DIC (Died in Cages/Care), Illness/Injury, Age was only 46 total with a monthly intake of 479 cats and dogs. This Aug 2023, it was 109, with a lower monthly intake of 454. Of those, there were 10 DIC, 71 Behavior, Illness/Injury 23, and 5 for Space. Remember, this is only one month. See the Aug chart below.

We have shared this with some County Commissioners and both McKinney and Frisco leaders. We recently wrote Frisco’s City Manager and Staff, sharing this data but also asking for the City to take a more proactive role in protecting Frisco’s animals and pets locally. We also mentioned they recently euthanized 5 dogs in Sep and 13 cats back in May. And, the animals of Collin County can’t wait three years, the estimated design and construction time, for the shelter expansion that is on the County’s bond election ballot. We need to help now. Police Chief David Shilson replied for the City—

Currently there are no plans for the City of Frisco to build or open a free spay & neuter clinic. We will continue to work with CCAS as they build their expansion through a variety of events that include microchipping, adoption events, and promoting other services for animals. Working directly with CCAS and collaboratively with our neighboring city allows us to coordinate efforts and provide more events that are beneficial to the region. This provides the quickest response for services because as you noted, standing up a new facility would require several steps that would require years to fund, build, and staff.

WAIT? It is not about “events”, it is about LIVES!!! The City of Frisco can’t save as many lives with “events” in a year, than a shelter does in a week. How many animals were saved in Frisco with the popup microchip (only scanning) event at the dog park? How many dogs were adopted at Shawny Trail days? How many were spayed and neutered at the PetSmart event in June? How many pets are rescued because of the City’s new social media tips? Could you please provide us with that data?

A couple of us met the shelter Director, Animal Supervisor, and a Commissioner last year, and asked why the higher EU numbers? They blamed it on COVID and irresponsible owners. The Supervisor made light of it saying, this happens every year and then it subsides. Our tracking shows that this is not the case. It is growing monthly and yearly.

Remember, this is not the first story like Kira’s. This year, Frisco resident Jennifer Beaullieu went before the Frisco PD and Animal Advisory Board and told a very similar story about a sweet cat she found over the holidays. She asked the Staff at CCAS, if the owners don’t come forward, will you please take my number and I will come and adopt her? She even made a donation to the shelter for a spay and neuter before leaving. A few days later, the cat was labeled “behavior” and euthanized. A cat that showed no sign of aggression while under the care of the finder, nor at the shelter, when she was first taken out of her carrier. The Animal Officer even commented she was adorable and would be adopted quickly. Today, she regrets taking the kitty to the shelter, but she had heard the shelter would protect her.

So, NOW, we hear that the Shelter has done away with the evaluation process. And, from stories like these, that does seem to be the case. Who decided this?

Some might ask, why are we just hearing about this? Brave souls have been speaking up, but no one was listening. Yes, euthanasia is a part of any shelter, sadly. BUT, it is not right to mislead the public. CCAS needs to call this what it is. They are euthanizing for space and have been for years. The Shelter has to stop covering the truth so the citizens and officials can try to come together to find a solution, and stop this game of he said, she said.

And, the first step, stop labeling every person that raises a concern over animals as “troublemakers” or “those passionate pet people”. Listen to the residents, those in rescue, the volunteers, and yes, the employees wiling to speak even if it means losing their job. Look into their stories. Look at all of the data and don’t make light of it just because some official says otherwise.

No animal should be euthanized for space. This is Texas—we have plenty of space. Truth be told, it is not the space, it is all about money.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need a shelter, but until we find the perfect solution, our animals need space/shelter and all of the services that come with it. We have got to do better. Lives depend on it.

We encourage readers to please write your County and City leaders and don’t yell at them, but instead ask them to please help the County shelter, sooner than later. Ask that they please help the staff, volunteers, and the animals. Give them ideas. Offer to help. Maybe you can donate. Become a foster, and better yet, a “foster fail.” Yes, the expansion on the County Bond is going to help so please VOTE FOR come Nov. 7th. But, the expansion will not be complete until 2027. We have to do something more, and now. Again, lives depend on it

RIP Chico. We will continue to fight for you and for all your friends.

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