All six candidates and two incumbents running for election or re-election in May 2018 were invited to attend the first Fort Bend Voters for Companion Animals meeting. Close to 40 people gathered to learn the stances and intentions of the candidates running for mayoral and city council positions regarding animal welfare issues generally and related to City of Rosenberg becoming a No Kill community. In attendance, there were several county elected officials, citizens from Rosenberg, Sugar Land, Richmond, Katy and Needville, along with past and present shelter volunteers. Encouraging this kind of political dialogue on a local level will give constituents a chance to engage with the individuals running for office on a deeper level; it also allows attendees to consider animal welfare and sheltering issues and questions that may not have occurred to them previously.
Candidates who attended were Isaac Davila, District 1, Terry Joe Gateley, District 2, and Lisa Wallingford, District 3. Councilor Balderas represented Chris Velasquez, candidate for District 3. Richard Olson, unopposed in District 4, Steven Degregorio, District 2 and the two incumbents Jimmie Pena, District 1 and Alice Jozwiak, District 3 did not make an appearance.
After listening to the four speeches made, concerned voting animal lovers and all candidates present heard the core message that the problem of shelter killing in Rosenberg is a result of poor leadership. Present council is unwilling to change and does suppress public opinions. All candidates vowed to welcome strategic partnership with private charities and to apply outside the box thinking to save as many lives of animals as possible. Councilor Balderas, on behalf of Chris Velasquez (District 3) and Isaac Davila of (District 1) stated very clearly that one of their goals is to make the Rosenberg animal shelter No Kill. They wanted more pet adoptions. They both wanted to lead Fort Bend county and the state of Texas by example. Lisa Wallingford brought up a very realistic point of how she first-hand witnessed a family member suffering from traumatic stress caused by animal euthanasia. Terry Gateley promised he would always listen and keep looking for answers. He suggested to use money in a positive manner to find places for these animals instead of housing them over a long period of time without a plan. Both he and Wallingford were upset about the treatment multiple volunteers received from management of the shelter. They supported the idea of re-hiring the former animal shelter director/supervisor Ms.Turner to take Rosenberg animal shelter to No Kill again.
The local No Kill advocacy organization Fort Bend Pets Alive! was mentioned multiple times by different candidates. It was agreed that the sole mission of Fort Bend Pets Alive! to find the problems, identify them and solve them is a necessity for shelter reform.
Mission Statement of Fort Bend Voters for Companion Animals: To end the needless killing of healthy and treatable companion animals in local municipal shelters through changing legislation and political advocacy.