The Pflugerville Animal Shelter has been the subject of much debate over the past year with voters rejecting a proposed $10 million bond in last year’s November election that would have built a new shelter.
Local animal advocates spoke out against the possibility of the city joining the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, which ultimately was denied by the Williamson County shelter board. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on is that something had to be done about the condition of the current shelter.
According to city officials, the shelter is small, the buildings are old and it is running at full capacity. The current facility does not meet the city’s needs and will not meet the demands of a growing pet population associated with a growing Pflugerville.
“The trailer that is there that houses the offices, that is just deplorable; it needs to be completely demolished,” said Michelle Smith of the nonprofit organization Friends of the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. “I believe there were even plans in the works to put them in some sort of temporary building just to get [employees] out of there.”
The plans Smith refers to are renovation plans Pflugerville City Council put into motion with the adoption of the city’s fiscal year 2016-17 budget, which allocated funds to and restructured the administration of the Pflugerville Animal Shelter.
Once housed under the umbrella of the Pflugerville Police Department, the animal shelter now functions as its own entity, called the Animal Shelter Services Department, under the supervision of Shelter Director Rhonda McLendon. Administration of the shelter is similar in structure to the Pflugerville Public Library and is recognized as providing a city service.
As with the library, the city allocates money for the shelter maintenance and upkeep as well as the salaries of shelter employees. Also like the library, any funds covering additional needs of the shelter are provided by a nonprofit organization associated with the department—in this case, FPAS, which was formed in September.
All monetary donations for the Pflugerville Animal Shelter are managed by FPAS, whereas donations were previously handled through a fund managed by the Pflugerville Police Department.
The restructuring of the shelter administration allows enhanced communication between McLendon and the FPAS board members, which, according to Smith, helps them prioritize shelter needs and allocate funds for those projects.
“We need sunshades for the outside kennels,” Smith said. “And those are the kinds of things that should have been purchased out of the donation fund but never was.”
Improving the conditions at the shelter for the animals and for shelter staff will be addressed through a renovation plan approved by City Council that will phase in structural improvements to the facility and will demolish six existing shelter buildings that did not meet state health codes.