Cristine Kerr, interim executive director for Humane Society of East Texas is passionate about her work at the animal shelter.
Her love for animals runs deep. Kerr was born in Hanover, Germany. Her grandparents owned a farm that raised horses and milk cows.
The farm also had other animals including chickens and ducks.Kerr is fluent in German, English, French and Latin. She came to the United States in 1982 and has been in the East Texas area for 8 years.
Her childhood in Germany included visiting her grandparents over the weekends and spending summer holidays with them. “It was the real farm with no electricity,” Kerr said. “I learned to chop wood and fire up the wooden stove.”
According to Kerr, one of the biggest challenges in this community are owners who do not neuter or spay their pets consequently we have an incredible number of animals not being taken care of while others are dropped by the road side. In addition, pet owners are not required to have a license hence animals are ran over or lost because their owners are careless. To combat this lackadaisical attitude towards animals the Humane Society is trying to educate young people. They go to schools and teach students about animal care.
Most times animals have no information on arrival to the shelter. Because it is an open shelter, they receive between ten to eighteen thousand animals a year. Moreover, they take in different kinds of animals without exceptions. Baby raccoons, donkeys, pigs, and some dangerous fighting roosters and pit bulls have made their way to the shelter. Kerr is saddened by the horrifying wounds the fighting animals had received. According to her, another serious problem is cruelty to animals and what people train them to do. “The pit bulls and fighting roosters are victims and their wounds are horrifying.”
Other duties at the facility include euthanasia. “I am there to make sure that it is done properly,” Kerr said. When she talks about animals, her zeal and heart are in the right place. She passionately explained an incident: “There was a time when we received an animal that was hit by a car and had to be put to sleep. I was there with the staff to make sure that it does not go alone. ”
Kerr said the shelter needs the community’s help to enable them to do what they do best. Some immediate needs include in kind donations such as old newspapers, used towels and linens, bleach, dog food, cat litter and toys. Citizens can also help with transportation to rescue groups. Moreover, foster and permanent homes are sorely needed. When all else fails cash donations will come in handy so send them a check if you cannot get around the in kind donations.
The shelter was built in 1983 and destroyed by a railroad explosion. It was later rebuilt to hold one hundred and fifty animals but frequently accommodates two hundred.
They are open to the public Tuesday to Friday from 11:00a.m to 6:00p.m and on Saturdays from 10:00a.m to 6:00p.m. For more information, please call 903.297.2170.