Hays County’s Virtual Pet Resource Center launched Jan. 2 and includes a guide that provides a comprehensive list of locally available medical assistance, behavior resources and more.

The center is part of a partnership with Austin Pets Alive! and Hays County to build a physical pet resource center and offer programs to the community to help keep their pets safely and humanely at home.

What you need to know

The center is an expansion of the Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender, or PASS program, which aims to support people and pets, according to a news release.

Lee Ann Shenefiel, APA’s executive adviser and project coordinator, said PASS originally began operating to deflect intake from Austin’s shelter.

“I think what APA learned from that is that there’s a tremendous need for folks to just be able, sometimes, to talk to somebody and problem solve,” Shenefiel said.

About the program

The virtual pet resource center is home to a free comprehensive guide that has resources specific to Hays County for pet owners or individuals who find lost pets, including information on grooming, boarding, end of life, vet bill and pet food assistance. The guide also has information on pet adoption, pet relinquishment and more.

Shenefiel noted that throughout community engagement efforts and informal conversations with nonprofit organizations and Hays County residents, they learned there was no single place for people to get help.

“Jurisdictional lines are a little blurry, sometimes people don’t even know which animal control serves their community, and so we wanted to create one place for people to go to,” Shenefiel said.

APA and the county also worked to collaborate with various local nonprofit organizations to put together the resource guide.