No-kill implementation plan for San Marcos Regional Animal shelter presented to council, officials look to garner regional buy-in

The local momentum of an animal advocacy movement pushing the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter to achieve and maintain no-kill status, with a minimum 90% live outcome rate, has culminated in a plan that details a path forward for the county.

The Pawsitive Outcomes Implementation Plan Committee, which is made up of various stakeholders, local leaders, citizens and animal advocates, was formed following a December San Marcos City Council meeting, when a resolution in support of helping the shelter achieve no-kill status was unanimously passed. Similar resolutions were passed by Hays County and the cities of Buda and Wimberley.

Since its formation, the Pawsitive Outcomes team has drafted a no-kill implementation plan which incorporates feedback from three public input meetings, cost analyses, research and other sources.  

The plan details 12 objectives that the team believes will help the shelter achieve its goal if there is participation from each of the shelter’s regional partners.

The objectives include the implementation of ambitious spay-and-neuter efforts, progressive adoption initiatives, strategies to reduce animal intake, increased transparency, the establishment of robust foster and volunteer programs and more. Specific actionable items are included with each objective within the plan, which can be read in full here.

SMRAS is the sole public shelter serving all of Hays County with an intake area of nearly 700 square miles. As the county continues to grow, shelter workers and volunteers say SMRAS has become increasingly strapped for resources—which makes the annual contributions from the shelter’s regional partners even more essential than they have been in the past.

On June 4, City Council members Joca Marquez and Melissa Derrick were appointed to a budget policy committee with the purpose of working with neighboring elected officials to garner regional buy-in and participation for the plan.

“So part of that is trying to form this group to help us … to be able to convey the message to them around why we’re going to be pursuing certain funding sources,” City Manager Bert Lumbreras said at the June 4 meeting. “If you recall, part of that… [is] how are we going to fund the various years of the implementation plan and then get buy-in and participation and so on and so forth. Because, just like we have to put funding in the budget, they have to deal with their own governing bodies and so forth.”

After it was presented to them for the first time at a June 18 work session, the City Council told staff they approved of the direction the effort was headed in. Now, moving forward, Marquez and Derrick will continue to communicate with elected officials in Hays County, Buda and Kyle with a goal of garnering their support for and participation in the implementation of the plan, which will require greater budget allocations from all parties in the future.  

“When we talk about a regional effort it’s not purely about what San Marcos is doing but how we can all work together,” Lumbreras said at the work session. “And so this effort is obviously going to have to be collaborative not only with the community and the activists and all of the people that are invested but then also our regional partners.”

 
By Anna Herod
Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment as the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. In the past, Anna served as the reporter for Community Impact's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle paper. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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