Beaumont Pets Alive returns to Beaumont

BEAUMONT — After a year operating in Winnie, Beaumont Pets Alive is back in city limits.

For the past two weeks, the nonprofit, which gives local animals slated for euthanasia another chance at adoption, has been gradually moving into its new location. It is situated in what used to be a boarding and grooming facility behind the Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital.

BPA is fully operational and ready for adoptions, but there are still some areas to be improved, the permit for which the Beaumont City Council approved on Tuesday.

“There’s a half-acre that I can turn into an agility course and multiple pens and paths to walk the dogs around and things to interact with the dogs so that when people come, they can look at all the dogs in the run and they can say, ‘I think I want to play with that one,’” said Beaumont Pets Alive executive director and founder Dr. Kelley Kays. “We’re going to try to have a play yard and all that stuff to make it more fun to visit. I’m really excited to be able to build that.”


She estimates it will take up to eight months to make all the renovations she wants, including widening the parking lot. But she is serious about this mission because the animals who come to BPA are in a life-or-death situation, literally.

“We’re the last stop to save the animal,” Kays said. “We’re the last chance they have.”

Kays is credited with transforming Beaumont Animal Care into a no-kill shelter, but she says members of the public aren’t totally clear about what that means.

“By ‘no-kill’ it doesn’t mean they don’t kill things,” Kays said. “By saying you’re ‘no kill’ it means that 9 out of 10 animals that go into the shelter come out alive. Now they can come out and go to another rescue. They can come out and be adopted. But it doesn’t mean they’re not going to run out of space and still euthanize. So every week, they make a list of who they’re going to euthanize.”

BPA exists to save animals put on the local euthanasia lists. As of Wednesday, seven dogs are on the list at Beaumont Animal Care. Many times, these dogs and cats end up on the lists simply because shelters don’t have the room to take care of them.

According to Mayor Robin Mouton, the number of stray animals has become a big problem for Beaumont.

“Oh my God. We have a lot,” Mouton said. “We have a lot of feral cats all over town. We have a lot of animals — it’s cats and dogs…”

At the end of each week, Kays checks in with local municipal shelters to see if any of the dogs or cats on their euthanasia lists have been adopted or placed with a rescue organization. If not, she works to help. But the reality is, she doesn’t always have the ability to save the full lists. BPA has 21 dog runs and 16 smaller kennels, which can hold small dogs and cats.

“I will see how much space I have,” she said. “And I will try to pull some of those before Friday, when they would be put to death.”

The idea for Beaumont Pets Alive came around 2015. Kays had been working as Beaumont Animal Care’s city vetrenarian and would walk the aisles and visit the dogs she had gotten to know before seeing them put to sleep the next day.

She didn’t know how to save their lives, however, until she visited the Austin Pets Alive conference, where she learned how saving animals from euthanasia boosts the economy and discovered how national public health experts connect the life and health of all creatures.

“It’s based on the One Health concept, which is actually on the CDC website,” Kays said. “They draw circles and one circle is taking care of humans. They have another circle taking care of the environment, and they have a third circle that is taking care of animals. Where those three overlap, that’s where you have a healthy community.”

For those wanting to help bring about this holistically-healthy community, Kays says BPA is actively searching for a shelter manager, veterinary technicians and social media managers. Interested parties should come by the shelter at 4270 East Lucas Dr. and pick up an application.

The shelter also is looking for volunteers to do everything from animal photography to helping with special events. BPA already has its first volunteer, a Lamar University sophomore named Zach Slaughter.

“I literally just started yesterday,” he said. “I walk them, feed them, water them, clean up their poop.”

He plans to come for a few hours during weekdays, but says the shelter needs volunteers on the weekends, too. And of course, the shelter needs pet parents — adoptive and fosters.

Foster parents can do long-term fosters or short-term fosters. Kays said it can be as simple as picking up the dogs to have a slumber party for just one night or taking a dog to the park for the afternoon. For whoever wants to help, the doors are open.

“I’m excited to bring it back into Beaumont,” Kays said. “We’re all set up. They can come now.”

rachel.kersey@beaumontenterprise.com

twitter.com/ontheREKord

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