HSU eyes new $1M pet facility

Julye Keeble

Staff writer

The Humane Society of Uvalde is ready to have plans drawn up for a new approximately $1 million facility to house 30 dogs and more than 20 cats.

They are not asking the city of Uvalde to finance the building, but HSU would like the city to relocate the animal control office to the new building and help with the ongoing cost of upkeep. They plan to finance the building through grants and a capital campaign, said HSU president George Ann Maixner Tuesday night at the regular city council meeting.

“Personally, I want to stay involved with the humane society, the work you do for the community. I think the rest of the council will feel the same way, you have our support,” said Councilman Stephen Balke.

Over 484 animals have been rescued this year in Uvalde by HSU and outside rescue programs.

HSU and associated programs such as Flights to Furever, which transports animals to New York for adoption, have significantly decreased the number of dogs euthanized in the city. In 2017, 518 animals had to be euthanized, or approximately 56 percent of 916 total animals brought in to animal control. The program has lowered the animals euthanized by 100.

Volunteers for the organization currently staff the Uvalde animal control office when needed, help furnish food and clean kennels, reunite lost pets with their families, post animal photos online, and pull animals for adoption from the city animal control office.

“The services you provide to the city are astronomical,” said Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr.

HSU representatives accompanied Maixner to the meeting where they furnished a rendering of a possible new facility to be located on land in the North Camp Street area. The land was donated to the organization by Sue Capt and the late Louis Capt.

The organization is working with Shelter Planners of America, specifically with Michael Barnard, a trained animal control officer and shelter architect/designer, to make sure all federal and state regulations are met. Barnard visited Uvalde and spoke with city animal control officers, and visited the existing facility.

Shelter Planners has worked with more than 750 communities, and they have already drawn up a needs assessment and created preliminary plans.

The first design was estimated to cost up to $2 million dollars, so the plans were redesigned so as to not overbuild the facility via cutting human amenities such as a larger break room and office space, but retaining space for the animals.

HSU representatives presented city council members with leashes attached to invitations, personalized with photos and information about adoptable animals, to tour the existing facility across from H-E-B.

“They [HSU] do good and important work for us, we provide together for the community, and I would encourage you to make a stop there if you haven’t lately,” said Vince DiPiazza, Uvalde city manager. “We’ve been doing a lot with less for a long time.”

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