Erath County Humane Society’s shelter is filled to capacity

700 percent increase is taking its toll

The sign says it all as the Erath County Humane Society is filled to capacity and busting at the seams.

The Flash Today

The Erath County Humane Society’s annual report to the Stephenville City Council was more a plea for help with the announcement the local shelter is full to capacity and multiple dogs are forced to kennel together.

The society’s president, Matt Harpole, and executive director, Diane McCoy, both reported that the number of animal intakes has increased at a staggering rate – by as much as 700 percent.


The Erath County Humane Society was recently at the center of an upheaval with local animal rescue groups asking for records or intakes, adoptions and kills at the shelter and getting no answers. Now with new leadership on board and a new sense of confidence in the community, the society has suddenly found itself receiving more drop-offs of unwanted animals.

As of Tuesday the shelter was kenneling 143 animals including its 100 dogs.

“We have 2-3 dogs in kennels,” Harpole said. “There’s no more room!”


Harpole asked that the council begin considering moving up any timeline it has for a shelter facility.

A simple hand-written sign stating “We are full” is now greeting any new arrivals at the shelter.

McCoy reported there are a number of reasons the shelter has gone from kenneling 19 animals to 143; however – one overwhelming factor seems to coincide with college school year ending and a large increase in strays at the same time.

With Stephenville moving away from being a “kill” facility (13 percent as compared to the national average of 80 percent) to one where adoptions are a priority, the society is now using social media and area rescue and foster groups to help in the adoption process.


Recent rains showed the current complex is prone to flooding as the council was shown a video of several inches of water standing in the floor. Overcrowding means some animals being housed outside with tarps used for shading. All 51 available kennels are filled and often with more than one animal.

Stephenville’s council agenda only included a report phase and news of overcrowding seemed to catch a couple council members off guard after reports had been indicating business at the shelter was good – now it turns out it may be too good.

Harpole’s plea to the council included looking at a different facility and the exploration of funding such a venture. Another item needed by the society includes a video system to help prevent dumping animals over the fence and to provide evidence when an animal is put down due to aggression.


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