Animal shelter

Push to relieve Waco Animal Shelter overcrowding continues | Local government and politics

The Waco Animal Shelter hopes to encourage more adoption in the community to alleviate overcrowding, an issue that has pressured the shelter since late last year.

Officials hope to make a dent by raising awareness, holding a public event next week and continuing to waive adoption fees, while weighing policy changes aimed at achieving a more stable shelter population.

The Humane Society of Central Texas, which handles adoptions at the shelter, is teaming up with the Waco Pride Network for a Paws and Pride adoption event from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.June 19, at Brotherwell Brewing, 400 E. Bridge St. Eastside Market will host vendors for the event. This will be the second year that the event will take place.

Mike Gray, community outreach manager for the Humane Society of Central Texas, said he hopes the event will provide an opportunity for the community to come together in addition to being an adoption event. Gray said the shelter partly uses offsite adoption events to become more visible to the community.

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“You’re going to have people from all different areas of Waco in one place, meeting dogs and meeting friends,” Gray said. “We just want to get out into the community, let people know who we are, so when they want to adopt a dog, they’ll remember ‘Hey, we saw the Humane Society when we went to Brotherwell, or when we went to the farmers market,” then they will want to come and adopt when they are ready.

Gray said adoption events typically see many dogs being adopted, with nearly 40 dogs adopted on the day of an “Adopt-a-Palooza” event in May. Gray said the Paws and Pride event is the only adoption event scheduled for the near future, but the shelter will host other events in the fall.

The animal shelter has faced repeated capacity issues since November, said Kandi Hillyer, executive director of the Humane Society of Central Texas. Hillyer said the shelter’s capacity is about 200 dogs. On Sunday, the Humane Society website listed 188 dogs available for adoption, and officials said more dogs are entering the shelter than leaving it.

Gray said the high intake can be attributed to COVID-19 and inflation factors, and is not a problem unique to Waco. As veterinary offices closed at the start of the pandemic, fewer animals were repaired, leading to an increase in stray dogs, Gray said.

“It’s a perfect storm,” she said. “You’ve got a bunch of animals unchanged right now, you’ve got a bunch of people struggling with inflation, gas prices. It’s hard to afford his lifestyle right now, and to having to add a dog on top of that.

The shelter has held adoption events, issued “Code Reds” to encourage adoption in the community, and even waived adoption fees for about a month to ease overcrowding, but continues to find itself at full capacity. or almost.

Last month, the Waco Animal Welfare Board held a meeting to discuss possible policy changes aimed at reducing overcrowding at the shelter, including the possibility of changing the shelter’s euthanasia criteria, increasing staff and volunteer support to help with the large dog house and to increase the capacity of the shelter to neuter and neuter animals entering the shelter. During the meeting, a sub-committee of members was formed to draft policy change recommendations for the shelter.

For several years, the shelter has only euthanized animals for extreme medical or behavioral reasons and has not euthanized animals for space. At their May meeting, board members expressed their desire to retain the shelter’s no-kill status and said they would only consider changing the current euthanasia policy as a last resort. appeal.

The Animal Welfare Board will hold a public meeting at noon Wednesday at the animal shelter, 2032 Circle Road, to discuss the policy change recommendations made by the subcommittee.