The “no vacancy” sign has hung outside not only the Kerr County Animal Control facility, but also other area rescue organizations for many months. The situation has not improved and is unlikely to improve until animal carrying capacity increases.
Passing Proposition C in the upcoming Nov. 8 bond election will fix the problem, but it will likely take another two years for the new facility to be built on land already owned by the county on Spur 100.
Kerr County has partnered agreements with Freeman-Fritts and the Kerrville Humane Society to rescue animals deemed adoptable from euthanasia.
“Animal control is packed. The new location will be ideal. It’s just down the street from our hideaway. What they have now is old and dangerous,” said Phyllis Allen, veterinary and shelter technology manager at the Freeman-Fritts Animal Sanctuary. Allen has been with Freeman-Fritts for 19 years.
Allen said the county and other shelters need to provide a “united front” to address the overpopulation of dogs and cats in Kerr County. A major solution to the problem is to provide low-cost neutering and neutering services to pet owners.
Freeman-Fritts and the Cailloux Kerrville Humane Society are privately funded private shelters that work with Kerr County Animal Control to facilitate adoptions.
“We currently have approximately 200 animals in our care, both on-site and in foster homes,” Allen said. “Last year we rescued 1,015 animals that came to the facility and were then adopted from here.”
They also work with several other relief groups.
“What we can’t physically keep in our organization, we can still save their lives by picking them up and sending them to other rescues,” Allen added.
Freeman-Fritts focuses primarily on animals they obtain from Kerr County Animal Control. They accept newborn kittens into their shelter who require a higher level of care.
“We have already accepted 209 kittens from Animal Control this year,” Allen said.
She said they had very good primary rescue partners in Waco and Austin who would take the overflow, especially of kittens, when they were old enough to be adopted.
“Our goal is to save as many lives as possible from animal control.”
Freeman-Fritts has an on-site veterinarian, Dr. Shelby Key, who neuters and neuters all animals prior to adoption.
“Dr. Key is a big proponent of the concept of spaying and neutering. A stationary animal is much easier to save,” Allen added. She said they do about 14 surgeries a day at the shelter and some days , if necessary, they did more.
“Yesterday we did 21 surgeries. This is a partnership between many organizations,” she added.
Allen said they face the same problem as many other businesses in the community.
“We need more help. At this time we are trying to hire a kennel technician and we also need volunteers. The more help we have, the more we can do,” Allen added.
Currently, due to staffing shortages, they are limited to a four-day-a-week schedule and only from 1-4 p.m. for the shelter to be open to the public for adoptions.
The Kerrville Kathleen C. Cailloux Humane Society Shelter on Junction Hwy between Kerrville and Ingram faces the same issues as other shelters.
Penny Bowman is the president of the Humane Society chapter and also manages the society’s resale store located on the same property as the shelter.
“The Cailloux Foundation provided the funds to build our shelter, but the thrift store is our only source of income for the running costs of the shelter,” Bowman said.
The shelter has 32 dog runs and eight cat rooms that can accommodate up to ten cats per room.
“This year has been really tough,” Bowman said. “We’ve had a lot of calls for litters of puppies and kittens.”
Sometimes people drop off animals, and Bowman said the only thing they can do is keep the animals. They sometimes ask for donations to pay for the sterilization of animals that are brought to the shelter.
“All the time, we are at full capacity. When you’re adopted, there’s always another one waiting,” she said. They have a foster program that includes a week-long stay in the house to ensure that the animal gets along well with other animals and/or with the children of the family. They therefore reserve the space at the shelter until they are sure that the adoption will take place. .
“Staff is also a problem for us. We have been closed to the public for a long time during COVID and are in the process of re-staffing again. »
Bowman said they needed volunteers to help socialize the cats and walk the dogs and especially to help out in the resale store.
The shelter only accepts Kerr County animals and works closely with Kerr County Animal Control when they have adoptable animals and the humane society has room for them.
“Small dogs are very adoptable, but most of the time the animals we get from animal control are big dogs,” Bowman said.
The Humane Society facility is open Monday through Friday, and Bowman said she hopes to be able to reopen on Saturdays for another viewing soon. Adoptions will not take place on Saturdays.
“The last three years have been really difficult. The answer to the problem? People need to spay and neuter their pets,” Bowman said.
Bowman said the proposed new facility for the county will be “wonderful” because it will give other rescue agencies more time to facilitate adoptions.
“The huge changes in animal control have been for the better (establishment of an adoption option). Kerrville Pets Alive works very hard with them. It’s amazing how many places say they don’t kill No. But you can’t adopt an aggressive animal.
Karen Guerriero of Kerrville Pets Alive recently said they were facing a euthanasia delay for two dogs at the county shelter and that KPA was able to get them out of the shelter and they are currently boarded and prepared for the adoption.
“This was the first time in two years that we actually had adoptable animals that we believe should be euthanized to free up space in county facilities,” Guerriero said.
Twice recently the county had to seize large numbers of animals in substandard living conditions (13 in one seizure and 49 in another) and receiving so many animals at once has put enormous stress on the county. establishment and staff. In both situations, KPA stepped in to help with the animals.
“People get rid of their furry friends because of many different factors. COVID, the economy, lack of pet-friendly rentals, expensive pet drop-offs, and lack of affordable medical care for pets are some of the reasons. A lot of animals are dumped and a lot of animals are flushed out because of real estate developments,” Guerriero said.
As the county’s population continues to grow, so does the animal population, Guerriero pointed out.
“We are dealing with a shelter that has been the same size for many years,” she said. “The need for a larger shelter is obvious, but we also understand when Prop C passes in November that it will take another two years to complete the new installation on Spur 100.”
In the meantime, Guerriero said, pet owners need to take steps to be responsible with their pets and have them spayed, spayed and microchipped. Many pets have been reunited with their owners through microchip scanners available at KCAS or the Pets Alive office on Clay St.
Guerriero praised the Kerr County Commissioners for their support of the County Adoption Program instituted at Kerr County Animal Control.
“According to state law, all they are required to do is rabies and animal control enforcement, not adoptions,” she said. “I would like to congratulate the commissioners for allowing the adoptions. They don’t have to do that.
Guerriero also praised the Freeman-Fritts and the Kerrville Humane Society for their help in facilitating adoptions for animals that come to them from the county facility. Freeman-Fritts also provides low-cost sterilization and sterilization services paid for by KPA.
KPA also works with rescue groups in Fredericksburg, Warrior’s Heart in Bandera (provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD), and the TRUAA Shelter outside of Center Point.
They also have volunteers who will transport animals to San Antonio where they will meet people who transport adoptable animals to other shelters in the state of Texas.
“Our common mission is to save pets from euthanasia,” Guerriero said.
Guerriero also said community members have started to intervene when they find an animal by keeping it safe in their home until they can be reunited with their owner instead of taking them to the service center. county animals. KPA will also help in this situation, if needed.
Kerr County Animal Services Director Reagan Givens confirmed that KCAS recently nearly had to euthanize adoptable animals due to lack of space, but thankfully KPA stepped up to support the animals and avoid the death sentence. KCAS only euthanizes non-adoptable animals.
Nichole Golden, Kerr County Animal Control Officer, is the county’s adoption coordinator and she works closely with Kerrville Pets Alive to facilitate the rescue and adoption of dogs and cats that end up in the community. establishment of the county.
The county has approximately 31 usable kennels. There are two designated rooms for cats…divided into friendly and adoptable cats and aggressive non-adoptable cats.
“We can only release the friendly and adoptable cats because of the liability issues,” Golden said.
A major issue for the county is the need for a steady and consistent increase in affordable spaying and sterilization options, Golden added.
“We have pop-up neutering or spaying clinics, but they don’t meet the needs of Kerr County with over 50,000 residents,” Golden said. “We just have too many puppies and kittens born.”
Golden said they try to save space for incoming animals, but larger seizures, like the ones they recently imposed on both the facility and staff.
“Without the support of volunteers, we could not have handled these situations,” Golden said. “We should have been euthanized. Sterilization and sterilization is the key to decreasing the unwanted population. »
On a positive note, Golden reported that Kerr County’s rabies issues have been minimal this year with fewer than 10 confirmed cases so far.