Coppell Chronicle Vol. 3, No. 44
Coppell Becomes Dumping Ground for Pets • Permit Request Has Coppell Greens Seeing Red • Neighboring Cities Tackle Short-Term Rentals • Lewisville Expected to Call Bond Election
I don’t yet know what my beautiful wife and handsome sons got me for Christmas, but they’ve got a tough act to follow. On Friday morning, I received quite a gift: The New York Times included an article from your favorite newsletter in a roundup headlined “Local Journalism Worth Reading from 2023.” The article the Gray Lady chose to highlight was “District’s Board Flooded With Questions” from the Sept. 24 edition.
Coppell Becomes Dumping Ground for Pets
A lot of unwanted animals are being dumped in Coppell these days. The manager of the city’s shelter recently called it an “epidemic.”
Charlene Lovato used that term at the most recent meeting of the Coppell Animal Services Advisory and Appeals Board. During that Nov. 7 meeting, Lovato reported that the shelter was caring for 30 animals, only 12 of which (nine cats, two rabbits, and one dog) “were turned in the right way,” meaning they were strays or surrendered by their owners. “Everything else was either dumped at a park, dumped in an alley, dumped in a box.”
Lovato said three puppies and a pig (A PIG!) had been left in an alley with residential garbage the day before the meeting. That placement by trash cans was the third such incident in recent memory, and two of those happened on the same street.
“I don’t think they’re doing it so that they’ll go in the trash,” Lovato said. “I think that they just know that as long as it’s clearly an animal in the cage that somebody’s going to see it.”
Lovato also said a box of kittens had recently been left outside the shelter at the south end of Coppell Road. That’s not an uncommon occurrence, and Lovato said it contributes to the prevalent sightings of undomesticated animals near the shelter.
“That’s how come the bobcats don’t leave and the coyotes, ’cause they like staying in this little area, ’cause it’s a smorgasbord,” she said. “That’s what’s feeding ’em. This is a Golden Corral buffet up here in front of the shelter.”
A week after that meeting, Coppell Animal Services published a Facebook post that says, “We have seen an increase in the number of animals being abandoned in Coppell.” When I asked for some stats to quantify that increase, I was told 32 strays — 17 of which were abandoned — were received between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15. In the same timespan last year, 13 strays were taken in, and three of those 13 were abandoned.
Tracy Allard, who serves as vice chair of the Animal Services Advisory and Appeals Board, attributes the problem to Coppell’s reputation as a “no kill” shelter. It leads heartbroken pet owners from other cities to bring their animals here, in the hopes that they’ll find a new home.
“That’s what everybody in the Metroplex thinks,” Allard said during the Nov. 7 meeting. “‘We’ll bring them to the Coppell shelter and dump them there because they’re a ‘no kill’ shelter,’ because we’re Coppell.”
To be clear, some animals at the Coppell shelter do get euthanized. Lovato and I recently exchanged a few emails to clarify what “no kill” means. She said the usual benchmark is a live-release rate of 90 percent. The last time she calculated Coppell’s rate, it was at least 92 percent.
“Although our numbers would allow us to classify as ‘no kill,’ I’m hesitant to do so due to the exact issue we’re facing,” she wrote. “I have been told through local rescues and individuals that our shelter has a good reputation for not euthanizing for breed, space, or time, which is believed to be the reason for the increase in [animals] dumped within our jurisdiction.”
When they can, Lovato’s staff work with police to track down the people abandoning their animals. Doing so is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $500, but Lovato said the typical assessment locally is less than $200.
A few times, people have brought animals to Coppell’s shelter that they claimed to have found on the street. These people apparently forgot that their pets were chipped, and the data in those chips includes their name and address. Lovato told the advisory board her staff figured this out at least once before the owner could walk out the door.
“Lookie there — it looks like we have a two-for-one. We have a stray and an owner reunite, right in front of us,” she said.
Let’s end this depressing article on a positive note: When I stopped by the shelter on Saturday morning, the number of animals there had been reduced by more than half since early November. The staff was caring for seven cats, two rabbits, and three dogs, two of whom barked incessantly as I approached the shelter on foot. If you’d like to make their time in Coppell more pleasant, check out the shelter’s Amazon wish list.
Permit Request Has Coppell Greens Seeing Red
In retrospect, Delon Onsin never had a chance. His request to legally operate a short-term rental in Coppell Greens was opposed by city planners, dozens of his neighbors, and the leaders of his homeowners association.