San Antonio officials said the recent roll out of the city’s new Animal Care Services strategic plan has promptly led to the addition of 20 ACS officers and expanded resources to help pet owners in need.

The background

City officials in January announced the implementation of the long-range ACS strategic plan, which they said is designed to improve safety of neighborhoods, welfare and adoption rates of stray animals and adoptable pets, and enhance the ACS department’s workforce and operations.

According to a Feb. 12 press release, city officials said they have brought on 20 new Animal Care Services officers since the city government’s fiscal year 2023-24 began Oct. 1.

Another group of cadets is scheduled to attend the ACS comprehensive training academy by the end of February, city officials said. Upon graduation, the new ACS officers will join first responder and investigative teams who have issued more than 2,300 citations since the beginning of FY 2023-24.

The release stated ACS personnel declared 62 dogs dangerous or aggressive in the same timeframe, and close to 11,000 animals have been brought into the shelter during that same period. Of those animals, 2,369 have been lost pets returned to their owners through ACS staffers’ efforts.

Dig deeper

City officials also said they have resources for ACS’ Community Animal Support and Assistance team, which identifies and aids pet owners in need through an internal referral system.

Since their launch in summer 2022, this team has helped 3,700 at-risk pets stay with their families after they were in danger of being surrendered due to a lack of resources or education, the release stated.

The team has also encouraged compliance by distributing nearly 6,000 resources to local pet owners, fosters and other caretakers citywide, local officials said.

City officials said ACS is also opening two additional affordable spay-neuter clinics this year as part of larger efforts to help community members understand the connection between unsterilized pets, roaming animals and public safety.