The Haven Tackles Lubbock's Stray Problem

The Haven Animal Care Shelter is a no-kill shelter located a few miles outside of Lubbock. Some of the animals who live there have been taken in because they would likely not live past the three safe days at a kill shelter. Most of the animals at The Haven were illegally dumped there. Dr. Brenda Wilbanks established the shelter to give these unwanted animals better lives. Some of the animals are born there and some of them never leave. Each animal has a sad story and each has given joy to the staff and volunteers at The Haven.


Lost pets picked up by Lubbock Animal Services that have identification have 10 days to be picked up by their owners before they may be euthanized. Animals with no identification have three days before they may be destroyed.

Founded in 1977 by Dr. Brenda Wilbanks and her husband, The Haven Animal Care Shelter is home to nearly 200 animals. The property covers seven acres and sits just outside of Lubbock.

Dr. Wilbanks reviews placement requests that have come in. About 100 phone calls are received every day from people trying to place animals at The Haven.

A feral cat takes shelter from the heat in a shed. Feral cats that live on the property are trapped so they can be spayed or neutered and an ear is clipped to mark that they have been fixed.

Carley Swartz is a staff member who has been at The Haven for a few months.

Lee is one of the most aggressive dogs at The Haven. He was tied to a post for a Haven staff member to find on a day with below freezing temperatures, with a muzzle on and teeth ground down.

Swartz feeds Doc, an elderly dog who is reluctant to eat.

Isabelle was left in a carrier at the front gate of the Haven on August 3, 2012. A note explained that she is 16 years old and her owners died.

Swartz feeds Momma a mix of wet and dry dog food. There are about eight dogs who receive a special mix of food to help them gain weight.

Jenny was shot in the spine and left to die under a trailer. She lost her back legs.

A house at The Haven is dedicated to the cats taken from the home of a deceased woman who was a cat hoarder. Most of the cats are feral.

Skip escapes the heat while watching the volunteers.

Swartz takes a break from filling water dishes to play with Skip.

Teresa Baltao and Jim Blauda run Coastal German Shepherd Rescue of San Diego. They are in Lubbock for the next three months and have decided to foster Baby Huey while they are here.

Harrison Hill pets Dolly, who has recently come to The Haven. She hid from people when she first arrived, but has quickly overcome her fear.

Audrey Grindstaff, a volunteer, pets Skeeter. Grindstaff and her family go through the cat houses brushing the cats, a rare treat for the cats

Dakota Raggio, the newest staff member, takes a break from working to play with a puppy.

The Haven started their own pet cemetery as a way to remember the animals that died while waiting for homes. The space is now full.


by Jennifer McKown, The Hub@TTU

Created for EMC 4301, Visual Storytelling



About Jennifer McKown

Executive Director    —    Electronic Media & Communication and Theatre Tech/Design double major, Class of 2015
Jenn is from Carnation, WA and is pursuing a BFA in Theatre Tech & Design, focusing on lighting design, and a BA in Electronic Media & Communication, focusing on visual communication. She is eagerly anticipating graduating in May 2015. She hopes to use her experience and two degrees to pursue a career in the television production industry.

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