Council to consider proposed changes to Animal Services
From staff reports
Significant changes could soon take effect in Lockhart’s Animal Services Division pending City Council action at its Nov. 2 regular meeting.
The recommendations were made by the Animal Control & Care Academy, which performed an evaluation commissioned by the city.
In August, Animal Control & Care Academy representatives said they recommended a “medium amount” of changes when compared to other government-run animal shelters his company has audited, but also categorized Lockhart Animal Shelter as a place with hardworking staff that punches above its weight and does more than it is staffed to do.
The 265-page report said the shelter’s workforce was understaffed for the array of services it offered, the city’s feral cat population was too high, more time was needed for people to collect their lost animals, more outreach was needed, and Public Works was the wrong department to oversee the shelter.
One ACCA recommendation will take effect Monday, Nov. 1: new animal shelter hours. The shelter will be open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday, and will be closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.
“It was advised It was advised that the shelter’s hours be shortened to facilitate the cleaning process to ensure the facility is presentable and safe to both visitors and pets before it opens to the public,” a spokesperson for the city said in an e-mail sent Tuesday. “The ACCA also suggested a later starting time (such as 11 a.m.) and closing time (such as 6 p.m.) for the shelter, which makes it more convenient for potential adopters to visit.
“Even though the shelter will be closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays, the facility will still have several staff members and volunteers on-site. The “closed” days will be used for deep cleaning and facility maintenance, along with the day-to-day care for shelter pets; including, but not limited to, feeding, watering, and exercising for dogs.
“These new hours will ensure that the Lockhart Animal Shelter’s staff, volunteers, dogs, cats, and the community are better served through a well-maintained and safe facility, along with more accessible hours for prospective adopters and fosters.”
Other proposed changes that could take effect include:
Reassignment of the Animal Services Division from the Public Works Department to the Lockhart Police Department.
Creation of a new police sergeant position that will split its duties between Animal Services and the Criminal Investigation Division.
New impound times: Three business days for stray animals and five business days for “owned” animals. The current hold time for animals is three business days.
Caldwell County animals impounded at the facility should mirror the City’s adopted hold period.
Pet limitation requirements in order to curb pet overpopulation (through breeding restrictions, and limiting the amount of animals allowed in one household), nuisance complaints, and animal hoarders. Permitted caretakers of feral cat colonies/animal rescue organizations could be exempt.