Lone Star Animal Welfare League

Lone Star Animal Welfare League The Lone Star Animal Welfare League hosts voucher days which help provide low-cost spays, neuters and microchips for families in need.[/caption]

Laura McConnell was a volunteer at an animal shelter in 2007 when she saw a yellow Lab that had already been stuck with a needle escape from a euthanasia room and die in front of her. When she asked why the seemingly healthy dog had been put down, she was told it was because the dog had not been vaccinated in time.

Nine years later, as the president of the Lone Star Animal Welfare League, McConnell and the rest of the organization’s board have rescued and found homes for more than 2,600 Labs and Lab mixes.

“Our tagline is, ‘Bettering the lives of our best friends,’ and that’s what we try to do,” McConnell said. “We saw the need for a Lab rescue group because there were so many big dogs—especially Labs—being euthanized in shelters because a lot of rescue groups don’t take the bigger dogs because vetting them is more expensive.”

Formerly known as The Woodlands Dog Park Club, LSAWL was established as a nonprofit in 2004 with the initial purpose of raising money for rescue groups to cover emergency veterinary costs.

Over the past decade, the organization has evolved into an animal welfare advocacy group through several different initiatives.

Through the Fixing Montgomery County program, LSAWL works to spay and neuter animals in the Greater Houston area at a reduced cost for families in need. To date, the organization has provided vouchers for more than 4,000 low-cost spays and neuters for cats and dogs as well as more than 2,000 vaccinations.

According to McConnell, on average, a spay or neuter surgery can cost $300-$400 per animal. LSAWL is able to provide vouchers for the same service for only $20.

“That’s the problem—I mean [the cost] is high,” McConnell said. “But it needs to get done because spaying/neutering is crucial in our area. If it’s not a high priority, we’re never going to decrease the number of animals coming into our shelters and being euthanized.”

LSAWL also provides $10 microchips, which can cost $35-$65, McConnell said.

For LSAWL’s Lab Rescue program, which began in 2007, organization members serve as foster families for animals prior to finding them a permanent home.

“We’re all about making sure that it’s the right fit for the right family,” McConnell said. “We do vet checks and home checks to make sure the house has proper fencing and to find out where the dog will sleep and stay all the time. We will absolutely not adopt any outside-only dogs—they have to be a member of the family.”

In addition to the organization’s own programs, LSAWL has fought for the welfare of animals in other local facilities.

According to McConnell, the Montgomery County Animal Shelter did not do any adoptions in 2004, so the only way animals could get out of the shelter was through rescue groups. In addition, the facility had a three-day holding limit, which resulted in a 90 percent kill rate.

“We fought for an adoption room to open, we fought for vaccinations on intake and we paid for a no-kill expert to come and do a review of the shelter in 2006,” McConnell said. “There were a lot of changes that happened because we were persistent.”

LSAWL also raised funds to build the dog park located behind the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.

Throughout the year, LSAWL hosts several fundraising events, such as the annual Mutts & Putts Open Golf Tournament, which took place June 27 and raised $20,000.

In 2016, Gillman Subaru North chose the organization as its local charity of choice during its Share the Love event. The dealership donated $16,000.

The next voucher day will take place July 30 at 19110 Unity Park Drive, Magnolia, and is sponsored by LSAWL, Texas Animal Society and Montgomery County Precinct 2.


Tomball ISD officials announced in a social media post April 14 the district is planning for a "mask optional" 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Tomball ISD plans for 'mask optional' 2021-22 school year

Tomball ISD officials announced in a social media post April 14 the district is planning for a "mask optional" 2021-22 school year.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gil Staley presented an annual report on major and mid-size employers in The Woodlands area at the Economic Outlook Conference on April 14. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wildcat PPE furloughs employees as federal contracts stall

Gil Staley, CEO The Woodlands EDP, said the jobs will return when federal contracts are resolved.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

U.S. Rep Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, spoke at the Economic Outlook Conference in The Woodlands on April 14. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady: 'This term, my 13th, will be the last'

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, announced he will retire after completing his current, 13th term in the U.S. Congress.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

Mental health experts: Effects of COVID-19 stress enter second year

Area professionals said while increases in vaccination availability spur optimism, long-lasting effects include psychological trauma.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough speaks during a budget presentation April 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County commissioners begin FY 2021-22 budget talks

Budget talks have begun at the county level, with a workshop scheduled for late July.

(Courtesy NAI Partners)
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals HQ to occupy Technology Forest office space

The pharmaceutical company is relocating its headquarters after selling its previous location last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

(Courtesy Fit Kitchen Meals)
IMPACT ROUNDUP: Fit Kitchen Meals coming to The Woodlands and more

One area business opened in January, and four businesses are anticipated through April.