Hays County celebrates two year-anniversary of resolution
HAYS COUNTY– In the two years since Hays County Commissioners Court issued a resolution to “create a plan to achieve no-kill status for the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter,” much has changed.
Sharri Boyett, the volunteer Animal Advocacy Advisor appointed by Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, said data from the city of San Marcos, which operates the shelter, show the current live outcome rate is 97 percent. In 2018, that figure was 74 percent, which was a 33 percent increase from 2017.
The regional animal shelter in San Marcos is the only open intake facility serving all Hays County residents and the county pays a portion of the operating costs.
The Hays County resolution – passed unanimously by the commissioners court on Oct. 23, 2018 – proclaimed the county’s intent to invest time and resources toward saving the lives of 90 percent or more of the animals in the shelter. The resolution was in concert with the shelter’s Pawsitive Outcome Implementation Plan.
“We saw the need to improve the outcomes of the lives of our shelter pets,” said Hays County Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe, who was one of the commissioners to sponsor the resolution. “Hays County put our commitment to those animals not just on paper but in practice.”
A 90 percent live outcome rate is the common-sense benchmark for measuring life-saving progress, according to Best Friends Animal Society. No-kill is defined as saving every dog and cat in a shelter that can be saved, healing animals that can be healed, and treating behaviors that can be treated.
The National Federation of Humane Societies defines live outcomes as: animals that leave a shelter alive through adoption, return to owner, transfer to another organization for adoption, or any other lifesaving program.
Many of the improvements in live outcome rates at the shelter stem from a combination of efforts, including commitment from staff, adoption efforts from the community and pet rescue organizations, dedicated volunteers and fosters, and assistance from county and city animal protection departments.
“Seeing the level of community commitment to achieving this goal shows me that when we pull together, we can accomplish most anything,” Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said. He was the other commissioner to sponsor the resolution.
Current live outcomes rates are high despite 2020 bringing a global pandemic, causing the shelter to close to the public for several months. Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said despite hardships and closures, the regional animal shelter has persevered.
“Although this pandemic has been challenging, I am glad to see that the efforts of residents and volunteers like Sharri Boyett continue to support our live outcome resolution,” he said.