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Katy Area Animal Shelters Exceed Capacity; Harris County Pets Sets Kill Deadline for Later Today


September 22, 2023

By Natalie Cook Clark

Katy Area animal shelters all report that they are well over capacity, a problem that continues to persist since the COVID pandemic. Not all local shelters are “kill shelters” but Harris County Pets is and they currently have 7 dogs and cats that will be in danger if not adopted or fostered by today.

Pets featured above are from CAP, Almost Home Pet Rescue, and Fort Bend County Pets.

Katy and its three counties (Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller) are home to numerous animal shelters and pet rescue centers. Harris County Public Health operates Harris County Pets, which like many, states that they are at critical space capacity. They currently have 7 dogs and cats listed on the “Code Orange Urgent List,” meaning that if they aren’t adopted or fostered by 5:00 p.m. tonight they will be euthanized due to space.

Learn more about the pets at risk today here. The county states that all adoption or foster paperwork must be completed by 5:00 p.m. tonight to save the pet. Call 281-999-3919 or email at

Katy Shelters Report Capacity Struggles

“We’re functioning at 200% over capacity,” says Renee Vasquez with Fort Bend County Pets. “We have crates in the hallway and offices.”

Fort Bend County Pets is not a kill shelter, but says they can’t keep things up as they are without help.

“The numbers are not in our favor,” explains Vasquez. “If we pick up 10 pets a day, we may get 3 out.”

According to Vasquez, before COVID, on many days they would accept around 10 pets but were getting an average of 18 out daily so the numbers worked.

“We understand that people are struggling financially, and that dog food and supplies are up, but we will do everything to help willing adopters and fosters,” says Vasquez. Their shelter works with families on helping them get food and supplies to help offset those initial expenses.

When shelters exceed capacity it can impact the services that they provide to local homeless pets.

Over Capacity Limits Services

“Currently we are at a capacity that stops us from helping more homeless pets,” says Becky French, Executive Director of Special Pals Rescue Resource Center, “Adoptions are slow and the large adult dogs are not being adopted. Currently we have large adult dogs in our care for months.”

According to French, smaller dogs have a better chance of being adopted, but event then they have a small dog that has been in their care for 4 months.

They are still having kittens coming in and all available cages are full of cats.

“We have numerous requests for animals to return that were adopted as a puppy, one was left in another shelter outside of Houston that is to return so he is not euthanized, and many requests for cats and dogs daily that we cannot help,” says French.

Huge Demand for Adoptions, Fosters, Volunteers

Like all area shelters, Almost Home Pet Rescue has a big need for foster families and people to consider adoption.

Their longest residents are Haribo and Honor that both have special feeding needs that result in them not getting interest in being adopted.

Photo credit: Almost Home Pet Rescue

Other Ways Katy Families can Help

If people can’t commit to adopting or fostering, there are always ways to help the shelters.

“We always have a need for liquid laundry detergent,” says Vasquez. “We’re always washing towels and blankets and detergent is often a donation item that most people don’t think of.”

Other Donations Items Local Shelters Need:

  • Blankets and Towels

  • Pet food, especially canned kitten and dog food

  • Crates

  • Monetary donations

  • Volunteers

Always check the shelter you plan to donate to for their specific needs and requirements. For example, Special Pals will accept opened bags of food as long as it hasn’t expired.

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) announced this week an urgent need for dry cat food for seniors and wet cat food for kittens.

“Toys are also important to donate,” says French. “We have a lot that are here for a longtime, so the enrichment of toys is vital for them all.”

As capacity issues continue to impact area shelters, Katy families can make a difference by considering to take on a new furry family member or to donate.

“Even sharing Facebook posts is helpful,” says Vasquez. “With social media you never know how far a message can spread and that helps us to get the word out to potential adopters and fosters.”

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