Hays County and Austin Pets Alive! are working together to develop a proposed new animal welfare model that will provide programs focused on public safety, animal safety and lifesaving, increased public access to important resources for pet owners, and community education to provide safe and humane care for pets.
The goal of the Hays County Pet Resource Center will be to keep pets and owners together because, as Lee Ann Shenefiel told the Hays County Commissioners Court, “Until we get better about keeping pets and people together, no shelter will ever be big enough.”
In April 2023, the program groundwork officially began with three focus areas: facility planning, program development and operational development.
APA has thus far developed social media outreach strategies, a plan for robust community engagement, a comprehensive program plan, site selection review, plans for a nonprofit fundraising organization to support the center, a comprehensive capital campaign and fundraising initiative, operating budgets, staffing plans and standard operating procedures.
“In the first three months, we have completed a needs assessment review, hired a marketing communications manager who started yesterday, developed an initial social media strategy to guide her first 60 days, developed a community engagement timeline and framework, developed a format for the comprehensive program plan and began drafting it,” Shenefiel said.
Though the project may seem daunting, a thoughtful process that includes data and studies allows the organization to find what the community needs. Some programs that will be implemented are spay and neuter programs, access to microchipping, safety net programs, supporting families with at-risk pets, emphasizing return-to-home efforts and creating a large-scale foster program.
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