Sierra Martin | Managing Editor
HAYS COUNTY – The Hays County Commissioner Court received an update on the Animal Feasibility Study conducted by Team Shelter USA. Sara Pizano with Team Shelter USA discussed her findings following a review of the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter and other processes within Hays County related to the care of stray and lost pets.
The recommendations include:
- Building a Pet Resource Center as part of the shelter, which will provide a healthy and functional environment for animals, staff, volunteers and visitors.
- Addressing the root causes of animal homelessness and lack of access to resources.
- Creating a state-of-the-art social services campus serving people and pets in need, which could serve as a model for other communities around the country.
- Developing public-private partnerships for the resource center operation
The ability to reunite pets with their owners as soon as possible and reduce the time spent in the facility is another highlight of the study.
Pizano estimated a cost of $23,361,928 in 2022 dollars (she suggested a six percent escalation per year based on the project timeframe) to build a 17,749 SF Pet Resource Center with a covered exterior of 5,950 SF. The facility would also utilize an open-door model community access to veterinary care clinic, which would be a building that includes space for high-volume spay/neuter surgeries.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said, “These are the first steps in protecting the animals in our community and the people who love them. Inevitably, we will need this resource center to properly manage public and animal safety.”
Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe, Pct. 1, said she would like to see the implementation of ordinance revisions among the county and its partner cities, which was also recommended by Team Shelter USA.
“By having complementary ordinances, we can more fully implement programs such as ‘Trap-Neuter-Return’, which isn’t currently allowed under some municipal codes and within Hays County’s unincorporated area,” she said.
Visit Pet Prevent A Litter (PALS) at preventalitter.com for low-cost options for spay/neuter and microchipping. Several microchip clinics are coming up around Hays County:
- Kyle on June 22,
- Buda on June 29, and
- Wimberley on July 3.
Microchipping is highly recommended prior to holidays where there are likely to be fireworks, as many pets run off during those displays.
The full report is posted on the Hays County website at hayscountytx.com/animal-shelter-advisory-committee/.