WilCo considers animal shelter partnership with Pflugerville

The Williamson County commissioners may consider joining forces with the city of Pflugerville to allow the city to partner with its regional animal shelter.

The commissioners discussed the option during a court session March 8. Commissioner Valerie Covey said the Williamson County Regional Animal shelter has been looking to expand the facility to meet the needs of more cats and dogs, and she brought up the item of adding the largely out-of-county municipality to the shelter.

The idea comes after Pflugerville voters rejected a $10.7 million bond proposition for a new animal shelter in November. Since then, the city has looked to improve the current shelter off Immanuel Road, though Covey said she wants to explore combining efforts.

Cedar Park, Leander, Hutto and Round Rock are  partnered with the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, which serves about 7,000 cats and dogs per year. If the city of Pflugerville joined, the move would add about 1,000 additional animals per year to the shelter, said Animal Services Director Cheryl Schneider.

“Figuring their percentages, [Pflugerville] would end up paying about 13 to 14 percent based on their current [animal] intake,” she told the commissioners.

Covey said Pflugerville would help the county pay for the expansion of the regional animal center, and then the two entities would have to figure out how to split the operating costs.

Commissioner Lisa Birkman said she was hesitant about the idea since the majority of Pflugerville falls outside of Williamson County. She said she was also concerned about space in the shelter in case Georgetown or Taylor want to join the shelter later.

“I’m a huge dog lover; I have three dogs, two from the shelter, and I love animals,” she said. “Because of that, I don’t want our Williamson County animals to not have space while we bring in people from Pflugerville who are not part of our county.”

Birkman was also concerned about Pflugerville voters rejecting the bond for the new animal shelter in November.

“Since their bond election didn’t pass, what is the will of the people in Pflugerville?” she asked. “Are they going to be willing to pay what we would want them to pay to be able to do this?”

Covey said the court will also need to figure out the protocol for allowing other cities to join the shelter. The court did not take any action March 8.

“This won’t be settled today, this will be an ongoing discussion,” Covey said.
By Caitlin Perrone
Caitlin covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils and reports on education, transportation, government and business news. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, Caitlin produced a large-scale investigative project with The Dallas Morning News and led education coverage in the Brazos Valley at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. After interning with Community Impact Newspaper for two summers, she joined the staff as a reporter in 2015.


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