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November 16, 2022
Citing an inability to resolve differences with city staff and Killeen Animal Shelter, four members of a city advisory committee tendered their resignations on Tuesday.
“When I was appointed to the committee, I was very excited to think about how I could help … work towards achieving murder-free shelter status, because that has been our main focus,” said Vice President Linda Marzi. to Killeen Town Council during the public comment period. “Well, that didn’t happen. “We tried very, very hard to reach this situation, but nothing was accomplished with the animal shelter and the town of Killeen.”
Marzi said she has been on the committee for six years.
“Over the years, committee members have come up with many great ideas for new programs to be accepted by the city and the animal shelter,” she said. “Unfortunately, none of our suggested programs have been approved for implementation. The main program that we have repeatedly suggested is a well organized and serious fostering program, which would help cats, kittens, puppies, dogs and all different types of animals.
According to data provided by the city to the Herald, 150 animals were euthanized in August.
“In 2022, there have already been several months where the mortality rate was well over 100 animals per month,” Marzi said. “The shelter is always over capacity with dogs and cats, and that’s when they kill for space. Committee members felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall trying to help the shelter. If a well-founded and well-managed functional foster program had been in place at the animal shelter, they would not have had to kill more than 983 animals so far this year.
Marzi and other committee members who resigned on Tuesday – Shirley Del Conte, Vicky Duke and Anca Neagu – were up for reappointment following their appointments at a city council workshop on September 6. Their terms, along with those of Petra Cannon, Monique Brand, Sue Cummings and Janice Holladay, are due to expire on September 30.
“The complaints we voiced fell on deaf ears,” Del Conte said. “The lack of transparency towards this committee on the part of the animal shelter has been and still is an obstacle. Last year, this committee was accused of not working with city staff and the shelter. It’s not true. Meeting after meeting, this committee has offered useful suggestions and solutions because we are, as we repeatedly remind, only an advisory committee.
However, Del Conte said, the committee is mandated by the state to advise the shelter.
But it’s “by design ignored by city staff,” she said. “It seems easier to just euthanize. I believe there is a special place in hell for those who choose to abuse and even kill healthy animals while trying to justify what they are doing. I finally realized recently that nothing was going to change.
“This is a state-mandated committee to help advise the animal shelter and the city on matters of concern (regarding) the shelter,” she said. “I have been on this committee since 2019. Since my appointment, I noticed and had concerns that the city would consider all suggestions made by “members. It has been very difficult trying to help the shelter as much as we could as a committee in order to help save more lives and ultimately become a murder free shelter.
Neagu thanked the board members for nominating her.
“It was a very eye-opening experience and I will treasure it forever,” she said. “I learned a lot and gained valuable experience. Being active in a committee takes a lot of time, which I am no longer ready to devote to it. I realized that I could help the animals of Bell County so much more through my private rescue, Anca’s Ark.
Holladay tried to reprimand city staffers before Mayor Debbie Nash-King cut her off.
“Do you want to be on the board of directors?” said the mayor.
Holladay quickly responded and returned to her seat.
“I’m just going to stay because I think it’s going to really piss you off.”
The committee members nominated for appointment to the Animal Advisory Committee on September 6 have been approved, except for those who resigned on Tuesday.