Hays county forms commission for no-kill animal shelter status

Calls for turning the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter into a no-kill facility has now received the support of Hays County leaders.

Last week, Hays County Commissioners approved support for the no-kill goal at the shelter and will form a commission to ensure the initiative is reached.

Multiple Hays County municipalities, including Buda, Kyle and Wimberley, have passed resolutions in support of a no-kill status for the regional shelter, which would guarantee at least a 90 percent live-outcome for the animals. The shelter currently serves all of Hays County with money coming from the city of San Marcos and participating municipalities. With the large number of animals coming in throughout the county, the shelter has to resort to euthanizing animals at times, and is often full.

Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Lon Shell and Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe led the commission’s support of the no-kill goal and believe it could be reached within two years. An Interlocal Animal Services Commission will be formed as a result of commissioners’ decision,  and will be responsible for determining a reasonable path toward no-kill.

Shell said the commission will likely be made up of representatives from all over the county who will be capable of determining the best plan in regard to necessary funding and legislation.

“The solution may be to build multiple shelters or expand the current one,” Shell said. “Either way, we’re all committed to making the shelter a no-kill facility that works well for the county’s needs and the shelter’s needs.”

According to representatives of the city of San Marcos, neither the shelter nor city officials have made any decisions regarding the matter and are awaiting future decisions before implementing any changes.

“Council does not have any resolutions regarding (a) “no-kill” policy on any upcoming agendas,” said a San Marcos spokesperson in a statement. “However, they will have a Work Session on Nov. 7 to discuss increasing live outcomes at the Animal Shelter.  Staff will see what direction is given during that work session and proceed per council direction.”

Kyle and Wimberly city councils have said they support the idea and are willing to participate in any efforts necessary.

“It’s all still very preliminary,” said Kyle City Council Member Alex Villalobos. “City council members have been looking into it a lot and doing research. Now, we’re just waiting for what’s next.”

For the shelter to become a no-kill facility, there will either need to be more room to house animals or fewer homeless animals to care for. To do either of those things, officials say it is necessary to attract more animal shelter volunteers and encourage people to spay and neuter their pets.

Programs including Emancipet and Prevent-a-Litter of Central Texas (PALS) help provide funding for those looking to have their pets fixed, which in turn, cuts down on the number of stray animals in the area.

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