Saturday, May 15, 2021
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Fort Worth

Bringing Hope: New program takes spay and neuter clinic on the road

Saving Hope Foundation members

Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Day of Hope

June 29 National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth

Fort Worth Pet Project

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the board of directors for The Saving Hope Foundation, will lead the ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m., in dedication of a new mobile spay and neuter clinic called The Hope Mobile. The Animal Awareness and Adoption Fair, which will include shelter and rescue groups and local food trucks and vendors, is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon. The Saving Hope Foundation will sponsor free vaccinations and registration for the first 100 pets. Attendees will receive half-price admission into the Cowgirl Museum and the Museum of Science and History.

Gail Bennison Special to the Business Press

A 40-foot state-of-the-art Hope Mobile unit will be the centerpiece of a new group founded to reduce the number of animals euthanized at area animal shelters. The organization, the Saving Hope Foundation, has big ambitions, Stacie McDavid, a member of the board said. “We have real goals for Fort Worth becoming a model city in sheltering animals,” she said. “It’s easy to write a check, but we’re all putting our money and our time where our mouths are.” The project is named after Hope, an abused and abandoned dog found on Kit and Charlie Moncrief’s ranch in Parker County on July 9, 2012. Inspired by the little dog’s heroic spirit, Kit Moncrief co-founded the Saving Hope Foundation. The foundation’s plan from its inception in August 2012 was to raise money to implement programs to educate the public about responsible pet ownership, provide discounted mobile spay and neuter and vaccinations, and to facilitate animal rescues and adoptions from local shelters. The foundation’s original board members include Kit and Charlie Moncrief’s daughters, Gloria Moncrief Holmsten and Adelaide Moncrief Royer, and community leaders Mary Ralph Lowe and her daughter, Samantha Pace. Kelsey Patterson, Amanda Bush, Lorene Agather and Stacie McDavid were also on the original board. Kate Johnson and Hannah Witten have since joined the group. “Truly, Kit has been the driving force of this venture after God put Hope in her footpath,” said Fort Worth philanthropist Lowe. “Kit and Hope are instilling a new knowledge of how kindness of our precious animals adds unconditional love and meaning to our lives. It’s a win-win for all.” Every year 200,000 dogs and cats are euthanized at Dallas-Fort Worth animal shelters and the organization is working to reduce those numbers. “The hope for us and the city is to get to a point where we don’t have unwanted dogs,” Kit Moncrief said. “Of course, because of different circumstances, like untreatable injuries or illness, we can’t save every single one. We know that. But we can protect them with low-cost vaccinations and spaying and neutering, and by educating people about taking care of their animals and giving them a quality life they deserve.” The Hope Mobile will be shared with partners in the city of Dallas. Based on research of stray dog statistics, the mobile unit will focus primarily on targeted areas of Fort Worth in the 76105 and 76119 zip codes and will operate twice monthly. In the interim, surgeries have been performed at local community centers. In 2010, under Fort Worth businessman Bill Boecker’s guidance, the city of Fort Worth and PetSmart Charities worked together to open the first government animal-control pet-adoption center models inside two PetSmart stores in Fort Worth. Kit’s father-in-law, Tex Moncrief, was the initial large donor and has continued to be a supporter. Alice Walton and the Bass family are other big supporters, Boecker says. Through this partnership, Fort Worth shelter adoptions were enhanced three-fold, said Scott Hanlan, assistant code compliance director and health official for the city of Fort Worth. “As we look at ways to impact the problem of over 20,000 animals abandoned at our shelter annually, we recognize the need to address the front-end of the problem as well as the back-end,” Hanlan said. Boecker said he’s proud of the adoptions programs the city has in place, but adds that those alone do not solve the problem. “As proud of them as we are, they’re kind of like putting your finger in the dike, because we’re going to have to do something about the overpopulation that’s hitting our shelter in waves,” he said. “We have upwards of 50 dogs and cats per day that are dropped off just at the Fort Worth shelter,” he said. “Until we really do take an aggressive, tactical and professional approach to a spay and neuter program, we’re only going to fall further behind on adoption programs.” With the mobile van in place, Boecker says they are much better prepared to address the problem. The Fort Worth Pet Project is a three-pronged program, Boecker said. The Hope Mobile program is based on spay and neuter. The project will build a medical treatment ward in the expansion of the Fort Worth Animal Shelter. That funding will come from private donors. The third is the adoption program based in PetSmart stores. “You need all three of those in motion to start to make an impact on the incredibly difficult challenges of the animals that need homes,” Boecker said. “In addition to that, you need to reach out to do an educational program. It’s with a lot of effort and a lot of expense, but it’s worth it. We’ve evolved from adoption programs to “what do we do in the future to have less of a crush of animals that don’t have homes?’” The beginnings of the idea for the Hope Mobile began with an unlikely source, the small pug found severely dehydrated, with her snout purposely taped shut, and her tongue protruding and swollen in 2012. The dog had been stabbed multiple times, requiring 100 internal and external stitches to close her wounds. In three weeks time, Hope was happily playing with the other dogs at the Moncrief’s home in Fort Worth. “When Bill Boecker decided to do something about the problems, Kit got on board,” McDavid says. “When Hope showed up at Kit’s place, that sealed the deal with Kit taking the reins. Hope is a symbol of needs in our city and other cities, too. Kit wanted to spread that message of hope, and I think it was exactly the right time for her to get involved.”  

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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