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Revised county animal control ordinance remains pending

By Megan Wehring

HAYS COUNTY–Hays County is undergoing revisions to its animal control ordinance.

This comes as the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter has been struggling with overcapacity for several months – which is something that was heavily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing population across the county, and limited resources. The Hays County Commissioners Court discussed the ordinance at its regular Sept. 13 meeting but there was no action taken.

According to General Counsel Mark Kennedy, it could be November or December until the court has anything to vote on regarding the ordinance.

“When there is something to update the court with, we will ask that an item be put on [the agenda],” Kennedy said. “We will update the court at that point, but there is no update currently.”

There is also a similar ordinance under consideration in the city of San Marcos as some sections will be added, removed edited. Staff and city council requested feedback through an online survey that was open through Thursday, Sept. 22.

“Right now, most people are aware if you’re an animal lover or you are watching the subject of animal sheltering,” said Sharri Boyett, animal advocacy advisor, “that [SMRAS] is at overcapacity and the staff is under stress because there are things that are slowly moving. It’s crucial to relieve the suffering of the shelter and that the county court, while these things taketime, could be approving apolicy change while these revisions are pending.”

SMRAS is a regional animal shelter, therefore it will take animals from all the jurisdictions.

“We have an agreement with the city of San Marcos to operate the shelter,” Commissioner Lon Shell explained, “but there is no legal requirement for the city of San Marcos to provide that service to the county. It’s something that we have been a partner with them for some time.”

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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