Frequently Asked Questions

“Who and what is PETS?”

“What is the management structure of the shelter and how do volunteers fit in?”

“Is it true that all animals are put down on the third day?”

“Do you work with rescue groups who are offering animals a home?”

“Weren’t you supposed to be a no-kill shelter?”

“If I bring in an a stray, why should I have to pay a fee for doing a good deed?”

“At times, there seems to be people who angry with the shelter. Why is that?”

“Why would anyone want to volunteer for service on an animal shelter board?”

“I heard that you will not adopt out certain breeds. Is this true?”


“Who and what is PETS?”
PAWS of East Texas Society (PETS) is a privately owned/operated, charitable, non-profit organization engaged in animal sheltering. PETS contracts with the City of Jacksonville to provide sheltering services, which were previously provided in a now closed city-owned facility. PETS governs the operations of the shelter, doing business as Richard D. Klein Animal Shelter.

The PETS shelter does:

  • Provide sanctuary and care for homeless animals
  • Quarantine animals that have bitten someone
  • Promote the adoption of displaced animals
  • Network with rescue groups and other shelters
  • Raise public awareness about spay-neuter and rabies control

The PETS shelter does not:

  • Provide veterinary services
  • Pick up animals (this is the responsibility of the city’s animal control officer)
  • Board privately-owned animals
  • Issue animal or kennel licenses

In short, shelter employees monitor and care for homeless animals, administer basic disease control measures, and oversee the surrender, reclaim, and adoption of displaced animals.
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“What is the management structure of the shelter and how do volunteers fit in?”
The shelter is managed by an independent board of volunteer directors and a small staff of paid employees. The board handles policy and management decisions. Staff employees handle day-to-day operations using guidelines jointly developed by staff and the board.

From our beginnings, the board of directors has conducted mailings, newsletter pleas, public meetings and one-on-one promotion of volunteerism. We have a “come one, come all” attitude regarding volunteers. Although it may appear that we are a select few who operate the shelter, it is because sufficient numbers of committed volunteers have not been forthcoming. Granted, we do have individuals who have dedicated themselves long-term to helping, but most do not participate on a regular and predictable basis. We hope to launch yet another Call for Volunteers Campaign in the near future.
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“Is it true that all animals are put down on the third day?”
This is absolutely not true. The “third day” reference is perhaps derived from state law that requires animal shelters to keep stray animals for a minimum of 73 hours, in order to give owners the opportunity to locate and reclaim their animals. The statement that we “dispose of” animals on the third day is completely false. Each of our animals has a surrender form on their kennels, indicating the date of their arrival at our facility. Anyone visiting our shelter can see that the majority of the residents have been with us well beyond the 73-hour “holding” period, and some for many months -- and even YEARS -- beyond the release date. The only reason we would euthanize an animal soon after arrival would be for humane purposes such as a debilitating injury, health issues that cause suffering, or the exposure and spread of disease to other animals in the shelter.
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“Do you work with rescue groups who are offering animals a home?”
There are many “dog peddlers” that pose as rescue groups. These individuals seek purebred animals from shelters such as ours that they can sell for a profit. We consider these entities to be almost as harmful as puppy mills. PETS does, however, seek out and welcome any qualified rescue groups with certified credentials. We routinely email photos to our list of breed-specific groups and have placed dozens of animals in good homes using these organizations as liaisons.
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“Weren’t you supposed to be a no-kill shelter?”
A citizen has alleged that during construction she was told by an official of PETS that, once open, it would be a no-kill. The person making the allegation has been unwilling or unable to identify the source of her information. Although it is easy and irresponsible to make such a statement, there is no documentation attesting to any plans, at any time, to be a no-kill shelter. Further, establishing a no-kill shelter was never considered a viable option for the following reasons:

  • As a no-kill shelter, we would only be able to accept animals that appear to be readily adoptable.

  • As a no-kill shelter, without means of euthanasia, our facility would be full within two weeks, forcing us to turn away all animals until space became available.

  • Statistics show that these rejected animals are dumped, killed by inhumane means, or taken to shelters such as ours who aren’t no-kills.

  • Many of the animals deemed adoptable at the point of surrender to these no-kill shelters are sometimes discovered to be not so adoptable. Those animals must then spend the remainder of their lives in cramped cages, with little or no human interaction. Most of these animals will become “emotionally vacant” within a matter of months.

  • We believe the answer is simple: In order to prevent animal deaths, we must prevent births. To that end, our shelter promotes sterilization of our adopted animals through a rebate program and a coalition with a low-cost spay/neuter program. Additionally, the shelter encourages and educates the citizens of Cherokee County to spay/neuter their owned pets.
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“If I bring in a stray, why should I have to pay a fee for doing a good deed?”
The shelter is operated by a nonprofit organization and is dependent upon donations, contracts with local municipalities, and our fee structure for survival. People who live within the city limits of Jacksonville do not have to pay a surrender fee since PETS has a contract with the city. Cherokee County subsidizes a portion of our operating expenses; however, it is insufficient to cover the full cost of housing county animals, and as such, we must pass the cost to the county residents.

We often receive requests to waive our fees, and if we always did so, we could find ourselves in financial duress. We make every attempt to keep our fees to a minimum, and we regret that those who are kind enough to rescue a stray must incur what may seem to be a financial “punishment” for doing so; however, it cannot be avoided at this time.
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“At times, there seems to be people who are angry with the shelter. Why is that?”
Unfortunately, this seems to be a common problem among shelters across the nation. We have discovered that our typical detractor is unfamiliar with the facts surrounding our organization, has little or no knowledge of shelter operations, is hard pressed to identify our staff or directors by name, and oftentimes, has not even visited our facility to learn the issues. Their complaints are rarely communicated to those who are closely involved with the shelter and best equipped to bring about change. Unfortunately, our staff and board too often hear outrageous tales through the “rumor mill”, with no real basis in truth, and the information is usually attributed to some anonymous source that cannot be contacted for clarification. Why do uninformed people spread untruths about animal shelters and seek to harm these philanthropic organizations? We do not have the answer to that question. What we do offer is an open invitation to visit the shelter, meet our staff and volunteers, learn the issues, and help us work toward solving problems.
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“Why would anyone want to volunteer for service on an animal shelter board?”
That is a very good question. While we cannot speak for other organizations, we can attest to the fact that service in an organization such as this one is rather thankless as far as public, or even private, recognition. Our shelter's directors are volunteers who receive no compensation for their time and efforts, except for the satisfaction that their contributions help to ensure the success of the shelter, and provide a better quality of life for the county’s homeless and displaced animals. Board members must often take abuse from persons who do not understand the complex issues involved in shelter operations. There is certainly no glory in the task of reducing cat and dog overpopulation. At times, decisions that have to be made are sad and stressful for both board members and shelter staff. Ours is a working board, not an assembly of figureheads. Our directors have cleaned cages, walked dogs, bottle-fed kittens, taken animals into their homes, and performed necessary facility maintenance and repairs, among other things. We communicate daily either via email, phone or sit-down meetings. We have directors who devote as many as 30 hours per week to shelter work.
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“I heard that you will not adopt out certain breeds. Is this true?”
This is partially true. Reluctantly, our shelter has a restricted adoption policy on “at-risk” breeds (that is, breeds prone to be abused at the hands of someone seeking an aggressive animal). The breeds we consider to be “at-risk” under our restricted policy are Rottweilers and Dobermans, or mixed breeds with a predominance of these bloodlines. For these animals, we seek out and transfer to highly-qualified, certified, pre-screened, reference-verified, breed-specific rescue groups and SPCA organizations.

Our shelter enforces a “no-adopt” policy for Pit Bulls, which has become a common practice in shelters across the country. “Pits” are arguably the most abused dogs on our planet. Dog fighting is a federal offense in this country, yet Pits are still king of the ring. Humane officers and other law enforcement agents routinely break up rings in the East Texas area. They confiscate dog-fighting paraphernalia, including treadmills used to build doggie endurance and drugs used to numb pain from injuries inflicted by opponents and to "jazz up" the dogs. They find mesh bags in which kittens, rabbits, puppies, and other small prey are suspended over the dogs to encourage fighting spirit. Not uncommonly they find what's left of dogs that have lost their battles. They are not always dead. We’ve seen Pits come into our shelter with an array of traumatic injuries, including broken jaws and fractured skulls. We prefer not to recirculate these animals into this type of world. This is not a testimony against the breed; this is a policy to protect the animal from people, not people from the animal.
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208 East Tena Street (Click for map)      P.O. Box 294     Jacksonville, TX 75766
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