Animal Writes
15 December 1999 Issue

El Paso, Texas -
An Animal Friendly Town?
by [email protected]

Right now El Paso is nationally known as the city where we beat our zoo animals. It is a city of over six hundred thousand people and yet, not one vegetarian restaurant. It is a city of Mexican rodeos, illegal cock fights and dog fights. A city that in many ways has not entered the twentieth century.

But today, I happily sat at a city council meeting where the mayor and the representatives voted to make El Paso Animal Control a no kill shelter. When I moved here sixteen years ago, the city pound killed dogs and cats in a gas chamber, a room filled with fumes from a Volkswagen engine. I joined a group which protested and finally were successful in urging the city council to spend the money to hire a veterinarian to euthanize the animals by injection.

Today I went to the meeting prepared to speak in favor of this change to a no-kill policy. Others had come to urge the city to pass this resolution: the president of the Citizens Advisory Board to the shelter, members of the Animal Rescue League of El Paso, members of El Paso's Voice For All Animals. We didn't have to say anything but "thank you." When this item of the agenda came up and we approached the speakers' area with our posters and puppies (Champagne, Millennium and Y2K-nine) El Paso Mayor Carlos Ramirez said "I just want you to know, before you start speaking, that all of us strongly support this resolution."

The city's goal is to phase in this program over the next five years. The goal of the above named animal protection groups is to make this happen sooner. It will take a lot of work: fundraising, grant writing, organizing a volunteer force and education. We must make a strong effort to educate the public about the necessity of spaying and neutering. We must enlist the help of the media in getting this message delivered. But by gosh, it is happening. And if it can happen in El Paso, it can happen anywhere.

By the way, thanks to the efforts of Voice For All Animals, improvements are being made for the animals at our zoo. And there is even a vegan restaurant planning to open soon. El Paso may actually enter the twentieth century sometime in the next few years.

[Editor's Note: There are some critters who could use some love and attention this holiday season. Why not take some blankets, old newspapers and pet food to your local animal shelter this week.]

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