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Pet adoptions increase & 'Cement trucks a pourin'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

"We had more pet adoptions in November than all the rest of 2013," County Attorney Janna Lindig told Bandera County Commissioners Court on Thursday, Dec. 12. "Even with last Saturday's cold temperatures, three dogs were adopted." The startling statistics came as a result of four special pet adoption days previously approved by the court, Nov. 9 and 23 and Dec. 7.
Working in conjunction with Bandera County Animal Control, staff and volunteers are now gearing up for a final adoption event before the holidays. From 9 am to 2 pm, Saturday, Dec. 21, the final "Home for the Howlidays" adoption event of 2013 will take place at the county animal control facility, 2888 Highway 16 North.
The ultimate Christmas present for all involved would be to place the homeless dogs and cats currently housed in the shelter in forever homes before Christmas.
Impressed with the statistics, commissioners quickly approved one adoption day per month in 2014 - tentatively scheduled for the first Saturday. However, the court gave Becky Bradford, animal control liaison, authority to change dates as needed should the first Saturday dates conflict with other community activities.
Since Bradford came onboard, Bandera County's save rate for impounded animals has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Since Jan. 1, animal control officers have impounded a total of 315 animals while only 34 dogs have had to be euthanized due to aggression, illness or injury and space considerations, not 20 per month as previously stated in the Courier.
Of the remaining animals impounded this year, 41 were adopted; 78 were returned to their owners; 75 were pulled by rescue organizations; and eight escaped. In addition, as of Dec. 5, only 22 animals remained in the facility.
At the special adoptions, a veterinarian administers the required rabies vaccinations onsite.
At last week's commissioner court meeting, Lindig asked commissioners to approve a foster care program as a fall back mechanism during inclement weather and overcrowded conditions. She said guardians would be responsible for all veterinary care of their foster animals - including rabies inoculations.
Because of liability issues, County Judge Richard Evans recommended that the proposed foster care program be included in the county's Animal Control Order before final approval. He asked Lindig to draw up a foster care contract, as well as an amendment to the Animal Control Order.
To a question by Precinct 1 Commissioner Bob Grimes, Lindig said that the county is required to keep impounded animals for five business days before euthanizing them. However, she emphasized, "If they are adoptable and the shelter is under 27 dogs, we keep them as long as we can. For instance, in November, we adopted three dogs that had been there since May."
Animal shelter
In related matter, according to Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris, construction of the new animal control facility on Highway 173 North continues as planned.
The cement pour for the shelter's slab took place on Tuesday, Dec. 17. According to Harris, the work started at 6:10 am and was expected to continue until 5:30 pm or 6 pm.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Wilkerson added that the extensive pour would take 20 to 22 truckloads of cement.
"After today, the concrete needs to cure at least two weeks before we can put up the metal building. Everyone is excited about the new animal shelter," Harris said.
In the wings since 2008, the shelter will include 48 kennels with additional ones for quarantine. It will be capable, however, of housing 74 dogs. Offices, medical rooms and two catteries would also be included. The 5,600 square foot facility has a budget of $200,000. Harris, along with Wilkerson, spearheads the project with Zane Everett acting as project construction manager-agent.
"I am very happy to get to this point," Harris said. "The court has turned around 100 percent on this project.

Pictured: Look for the huge Christmas-accoutered doggie on Highway 16 North and pull over at the Bandera County Animal Control facility and offer a hound a home for the holidays on Dec. 21.

The slab for the new Bandera County Animal Shelter was poured, beginning at 6 am, Tuesday, Dec. 17. Next step is putting up the metal building.

Photos by Judith Pannebaker
Prime movers behind the county's new animal shelter - on the books since 2008 - are Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris, Project Manager Zane Everett and Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Wilkerson.

Due to the size of the pour, a pump truck was used to deliver the concrete. "Otherwise, we'd be backing cement trucks up and that would be a lot more work," said Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Wilkerson.