Hays County Commissioners Court received a presentation March 26 from Austin Pets Alive on the final recommendations and operation of its Hays County Pet Resource, Education, and Research Center.

The center will provide a temporary “safe haven” for pets in need, keep pets and families together, and protect animals in Hays County. The center will also collaborate with pet owners, the public, and animal rescue and welfare organizations, according to the presentation.

The details

A 2022 feasibility study proposed the county’s pet resource center be 23,699 square feet in addition to a high-volume spay-neuter veterinary clinic that would be an additional 4,063 square feet.

The study also recommended the pet resource center house 58 dog kennels and 47 cat kennels. The estimate for operating the center is based on a three-year intake average of 1,153 dogs and 911 cats.

“We are supporting that recommendation based on what we think programming needs to look like,” Lee Ann Shenefiel, Austin Pets Alive executive advisor and project coordinator, told Community Impact.

The overall projected cost of operating the proposed pet resource center is $5.42 million, according to the presentation, which is a combination of how much it will cost to provide care for the estimated number of animals as well as personnel costs, Shenefiel said.

Quote of note

Shenefiel emphasized that it was not enough to just build another shelter.

“The success of this model really hinges on investing appropriately in each of these areas. A shelter without the programs and resources is not going to be successful,” she said.

What commissioners are saying

Commissioner Walt Smith said he wanted to see a better breakdown of the center’s budget and what the staffing needs would look like over time.

“Every department head we have would love a 10% increase annually. I’d like to see some more justification for that, and how those services will be rendered and where those budget estimates are from,” Smith said.

Commissioner Michelle Cohen said she appreciated the work and research Austin Pets Alive has put into the center’s proposal.

“I look forward to what’s next,” Cohen said.