Each year, HSSET sets out with the same goal in mind – to improve the lives of pets and people in our community. This year, without a doubt, was the hardest year in our shelter’s history.
It has been one year since the tragic night of March 15, 2016. One year since our shelter was engulfed in flames started by an electrical malfunction. It has been one year since HSSET staff, volunteers, board members, and the Southeast Texas community, with heavy hearts, said goodbye to 74 cherished pets.
A lot has changed for HSSET since that evening. We now manage to conduct business from a temporary facility using three trailers, a small metal building, and our veterinary clinic. Though our
day to day operations are limited because of our facilities, we are still full-heartedly devoted to saving more lives than ever!
Homeward Bound! 1,133 Reasons to Celebrate!
Saving lives is what we do every day of every year. HSSET made a difference in the lives of thousands of pets and people in 2016. Last year, HSSET found homes for 917 animals.
To better visualize the number, that is 18 pets adopted each week. Though our current facility substantially limits the number of animals we are able to house at one time, we have successfully increased our adoption rates! Elvis, Fizabelle, Mayo, Kale, Zummo, Paskwallie, Gimpie, and so many more, all found their forever, loving homes.
Due to our dedicated staff and the continued increase in the number of animals being microchipped, HSSET was able to reunite 27 lost pets with their anxious families. One particular pet, Snow, had been missing for 7 years and had somehow traveled all the way from Scottsdale, Arizona. In a tearful reunion, Lee Miller made the 18 hour drive to retrieve Snow who is now being showered with love to make up for lost time.
Striving for a Better Community
HSSET strongly believes that by instilling in children the vital lessons of compassion and empathy for all, we can help mold a brighter society for all. Each year, more than 7,000 children are educated through our humane education programs. This year, HSSET partnered with Buckner Children’s Village for a two week long Critter Camp where children learned about properly caring for pets and strays through interactive lesson plans, games, and group discussions. Each of these programs allow children to grow in their respect and humanity towards all living creatures.
A Bumpy Road to Rescue
Directly after the fire, we had no facility and therefore could not house any animals. The only way we were able to provide sanctuary to pets in need was through our foster program. Forty-five people came forward to provide homeless pets with a safe haven. Of those pets who went into foster care, 22 were adopted by their foster family! A huge thank you to every person who opened their hearts and homes to animals in need; we would not be who we are without you!
The fire affected other local rescue groups who became overwhelmed due to our lack of a facility and inability to intake animals. In an effort to continue what we do best, we found other ways to save lives. Shelter employee Carrie Fontnow coordinated with the Houston Humane Society to transfer animals from Beaumont, Silsbee, Lumberton, Kountze, Nederland, and Groves animal control facilities. The road trips did not stop there though! Our Board President and staff member Bree Porter made the 8 hour drive to Central Oklahoma Humane Society with 11 dogs from HSSET. Those lucky travelers then went on to other organizations in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, where they were placed up for adoption and found loving homes. Eight fortunate felines traveled from HSSET to the Austin Siamese Cat rescue where they were placed into foster care until adoption.
When other shelters face life and death situations, HSSET steps up to help. Through HSSET’s Pound Puppy Program, 336 animals were given a second chance at finding homes this year. These pets came from 11 local city animal control agencies including Beaumont, Port Arthur, Vidor, and Nederland. HSSET is proud to act as a lifeline for these animals in an effort to decrease the number of animals being euthanized in the Golden Triangle. Each animal welfare organization is striving for the same goal—to save more lives!
Our Pound Puppy Program is run by Board Member Kate Fones and a group of volunteers who devote countless hours and time on the road to give pets a second chance at life. Since its inception in 2012, 816 animals have found homes who would have otherwise been euthanized.