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It is defined by some animal welfare organizations but it’s not as clearly defined or differentiated for a municipal animal shelter with open intake (meaning we take animals hit by a vehicle with no chance of survival, or owners who request we euthanize their animals so they don’t suffer). The directive we have from San Marcos City Council is to come up with an implementation plan to reach a 90% live outcome rate. We want to make sure we can meet that number but also not lose sight of being humane in all things we do.
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The City has some funds secured and working on a contract. A variety of resources would be utilized including private vets and mobile clinics.
The pros and cons of policies, procedures, and initiatives were assessed by the committee; also looking at creative solutions to managing intake.
We've had to close intake a few times recently due to overcrowding (from an additional 176 animals from the seizure case); owners wishing to surrender their animals were referred to other resources or asked to delay bringing their pet to the shelter.
The committee will look at this eventually, as a City of San Marcos Ordinance revision will occur upon completion of the implementation plan. City staff meets regularly with regional government partners to discuss the regional impact, contracts, and initiatives.
Extended hours only began in January, so it's too soon to show an impact. Plans are also in place to increase adoptions through off-site events. Budget requests are being considered to increase staff, which might allow for more days/hours open for adoptions. Events and locations outside of San Marcos require coordination with other government partners.
The government partners receive updates from the implementation plan committee, but their meetings have mainly been to discuss operations and contracts. The request for the government partners meeting minutes has been noted.
The shelter does not have the space to provide services to non-shelter animals, but we are looking at a variety of alternatives including private veterinary offices and mobile services.
We have been doing more in regards to visibility and promotions and will continue to do so. Others in the audience confirmed the tremendous increase and impact.
Committee members are already involved in the animal community and those perspectives should filter into the committee through them. Priorities identified so far by the committee include bolstering the involvement of those mentioned.
We are working on improving the rescue process and it is one of the new Program Coordinator's priorities. Budget requests are being considered to increase staff, which might allow for more staff time dedicated to the rescue program.
Some notice will be given prior to the survey closing, but it will be open through April.
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Some needs and costs are already known just form the basic shelter operations standpoint. The cost estimates for the implementation plan cannot be determined until the implementation plan is finalized in June and City Council provides direction.
Because current-year budgets will start in October, San Marcos and the regional partners will need to work quickly to fund any year 1 components. The success of the plan depends on collaboration among all partners, but the duty to implement fall on the shelter staff.
The City of San Marcos has many needs and considerations; it will take time to allocate funding and dedicate staff time. Although 5 years is allowed, we will work as quickly as we can.
Those programs are under review and should be rolled out soon.
We have some funding available and are trying to get some clinics going soon.
The statistics are on our website; please keep in mind that other cities in Hays County have different ordinances and the shelter only handles cats in San Marcos or cats brought to the shelter from other areas of the county.
Yes, and we are looking at initiatives that are easy to achieve; these initiatives have come up repeatedly through the committee's work and we anticipate they'll be included in the plan.
Cats and large dogs. There may be additional factors, such as the large renter population in San Marcos and the low-income levels, that the committee needs to review to determine how we can best improve the live outcome rate for both cats and dogs.
It is being discussed and improving the rescue process is a priority.
That has come up during the committee's work and the prioritization is still to be determined. We are definitely interested in solutions for large dogs as identified by the data.
We will work with our government partners to cost-share as well as with organizations such as Best Friends and Maddie's Fund to secure funding.
We are simplifying our process and contract; we will make individual contacts and request collaboration.
We are now connected to Best Friends and plan to explore that partnership further.
Unfortunately, because the shelter falls under a municipality and not a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, we are not eligible for fundraising programs such as that one.
All communications/information departments have been working together. For example, they're sharing Facebook posts originated in San Marcos. We are also relying on the general public to spread awareness through their own networks.
We have achieved a consistent increase in the live outcome rate and we would appreciate assistance in sharing the good news to combat any negative perceptions.
Staff will give a presentation to San Marcos City Council on June 18 including the proposed plan, timelines, cost estimate, and benchmarks of success. At that time, we expect to receive feedback and direction on taking it to a regular City Council meeting.
Yes; also, the implementation plan currently includes spay/neuter across the entire community.
Written comments can be submitted to the City Council at any time and people can sign up to speak at the regular City Council meetings. We are capturing all comments received at the public input meetings as well as through the email address email@example.com and will make all available to the City Council.
Shelter animals are spayed/neutered on-site at the shelter.
A veterinarian is on-site for surgeries and is available as needed for other medical issues or concerns.
Community spay/neuter will not be performed at the shelter; instead, we contract with various vets and other services such as Emancipet.
Yes, and that is a recurring theme in the implementation plan.
We are working on a system to track donations specific to treatments, and we’re also working on a foster program to help those animals find the proper environment for the duration of treatment.
We are in the process of adjusting the space for each to maximize the amount of space to make adoptable animals more visible. Restricted areas will be marked with a notice that entry past a certain point is limited to staff only due to the risk of exposure to dangerous and contagious animals.
We will do our best to cost out each year of the implementation plan for the City Council. However, budget requests for Fiscal Year 2020 (beginning October 1, 2019) were submitted earlier this year based on the estimated funds needed to bolster core services. Once that is done, we can focus on funding the implementation plan over the next 5 years. There is some overlap, so some of the initiatives in the implementation plan may have been included in the existing budget requests.
We have been holding regular meetings with them as well and keeping them up to date on the progress of the committee. We recognize that the implementation plan has a better chance of success if all entities’ policies and initiatives are closely aligned.
We rely on fosters to help us promote the animal and showcase their behavior in a home environment (as animals often display different/less favorable behavior in the shelter). Between fosters, rescues, and our own advertising, we hope each animal will get the exposure they need to get adopted.
We are currently working on installing some sound baffles. We also had someone offer to help us play soothing music. We are starting a Task Force internal to the City to help move some of these projects along.
Meri just got adopted, after 165 days at the shelter.
It depends on each animal and their tolerance level. Different programs and breaks from the shelter can enhance quality of life. All of the components being implemented will hopefully make this a non-issue.
We do have some play areas now. The land adjacent to the shelter is City land but there are already other plans for it. We are anticipating the need for expanded and/or new space.
We do get volunteers from the college. One of the ideas we have for college students is to leave their pets at home and when they come to San Marcos, they can adopt an animal from the shelter and bring it back at the end of the semester or when the need arises.
We no longer charge a fee for volunteers.