Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter

Facility encourages adoption of pets

In the 2011–12 fiscal year, more than 4,000 cats and dogs were adopted from the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, Williamson County Animal services Director Cheryl Scneider said.

That's compared to a total intake of 7,733 animals, including cats, dogs and rabbits; livestock such as chickens and goats; wildlife such as bats, deer and birds; domestic pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs; and even a kangaroo.

The shelter was founded in March 2007 as a central facility for animal intake and adoption in the county. Schneider, who joined WCRAS in October 2007, said the shelter has been "bursting at the seams" with homeless animals since its opening.

"We were over capacity on day one. We did not have the space in this shelter for the number of animals that come in," Schneider said. "To this day, [we have] several hundred more animals coming in than the year previous."

To cope with space shortages and save as many pets as possible, WCRAS works with other rescue groups such as Honorina's Cat Rescue, Austin Pets Alive and the Austin and Williamson County Humane Societies, which take dogs and cats and allow people to adopt them from those programs. Volunteers also foster animals until new homes are found. Animals are rarely euthanized at WCRAS, and when it is impossible to avoid, shelter staff take the decision very seriously.

"It's a very hard decision to make—extremely hard. I think every decision [to euthanize] should be that hard, whether it's your animal, or my animal or whatever," Schneider said. "I have staff that are very caring, and we all think about it, and we talk about ... what animals will be euthanized."

Despite the shelter being beyond capacity, a majority of the shelter's incoming animals are adopted by new families. WCRAS has achieved an average 90 percent save rate for cats and a 94 percent rate for dogs this year.

In addition to increasing that rate, Schneider said her future goals for the shelter are to expand the WCRAS facility, add veterinary staff and expand current vaccination and feral cat spay/neuter programs.

"[I] definitely would like to have ... a veterinary clinic where people who adopt animals from us can bring them back, and possibly offer some limited veterinary services to those who can't afford it otherwise," Schneider said.

She also encourages anyone looking for a pet to adopt or foster and save a life instead of going to breeders.

"Animals are animals. It's the way you treat them and the way you raise them, or the way they've been raised, that makes their personality," she said.

All pets adopted at WCRAS are spayed or neutered, microchipped, tested for feline leukemia or heartworms and vaccinated.

For those who cannot take an animal home, volunteers are always needed to feed, clean and socialize with the animals. Interested individuals should fill out volunteer applications at the shelter's website and plan to attend a volunteer orientation. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old; ages 12–15 must volunteer with a parent and volunteers ages 16–17 must have parental permission. Any adult may volunteer.

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, 1855 S.E. Inner Loop, 943-3322, pets.wilco.org

Hours: Mon.–Fri. noon–6 p.m. and Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

By Korri Kezar
Korri Kezar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a degree in journalism. She worked for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition for two years before moving to Dallas. Five years later, she returned to the company to launch Community Impact Newspaper's Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth edition, where she covers local government, development, transportation and a variety of other topics. She has also worked at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman and Dallas Business Journal.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide mask mandate, business restrictions in Texas

With vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Greg Abbott said "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Some local officials are pushing back, saying the relaxed restrictions are coming too early.

The Candlewood Suites hotel is located at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd. (Courtesy Google Maps)
Williamson County hires San Antonio law firm in Austin hotel for homeless housing

Williamson County has not yet taken any formal legal action.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County COVID-19 dashboard returns: 1,108 new cases reported between Feb. 13-March 1

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Williamson County.

The city of Georgetown is offering water bill adjustments due to winter storm leaks. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown offering water bill adjustments due to winter storm leaks

A form must be filled out and submitted to the city for credits to appear on customer's accounts.

Ice covered utility lines across Austin. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
SHARE YOUR STORY: How did you survive the Texas freeze?

We want to hear how the winter storms affected you.

Williamson County distributors are expected to receive 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines the week of March 1. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County distributors to receive 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines week of March 1

This is the largest number of weekly doses distributors in the county has collectively received.

Georgetown ISD offers COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and staff. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Georgetown ISD offers COVID-19 vaccines for teachers, staff

Georgetown ISD, through its partnership with Lone Star Circle of Care, is set to receive 100 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during the week of March 1, according to Texas Department of State Health Services data.

The city of Georgetown has organized tree limb cleanup services for residents. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tree limb pickup update, plus more Georgetown winter storm recovery news

Limb pickup is available for those who reside within city limits.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Vida Apartments is coming to Georgetown in 2022. (Courtesy Vida Apartments)
Vida Apartments coming to Georgetown in 2022

The complex will employ contemporary designs for its 124 units.