Animal advocate demands accountability to help with stray animal problem in Smith County

Animal advocate demands accountability to help with stray animal problem in Smith County
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:58 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Speaking before the Smith County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, the leader of Angel Paws Advocates described the county’s stray animal problem as “out of control.”

“It seems to be getting worse and I don’t know how that’s possible,” said Gwen Coyle with Angel Paws Advocates. “Most of the accountability is being put on the shelters and the rescues. And we can’t keep up. It’s too much.”

Instead, she wants county leaders to hold citizens accountable and is hoping to partner with the court to find solutions.

“We have an overabundance of animals,” said Coyle. “It keeps getting worse. And if we all don’t work together, we’re never going to get a result.”

The fullness of shelters often begins with calls to animal control.

“We get roughly 60 calls per day for service and we cannot fulfill those,” said Amber Greene, Smith County Animal Control and Shelter Supervisor.

Another contributing factor to a higher call volume for animal control is a relatively new law making it illegal to keep dogs on a chain.

Among the things Greene would like to see: a new, larger animal shelter and more employees. But she knows without solutions to the actual problem, things will only get worse.

“As of right now we have not had to euthanize for space, but we have come extremely close,” Greene said.

Smith County Judge Neal Franklin said he and the court are committed to solving the county’s animal problems but pointed out roadblocks when it comes to enforcement.

“I know there has been talk about us mandating some kind of spay and neuter law and I would not think that’s a great idea. I like the idea that citizens taking their own control and doing that themselves,” Franklin said.

Animal advocates like Coyle, who also sits on the shelter advisory committee, think differently.

“We really need to work on our animal laws,” Coyle said. “Right now we don’t have support for spay and neuter laws in Texas, which is the only way I know to control more population. So, we have to work together as a community to make things much better.”