Dozens of dogs are expected to move into their new climate-controlled, stainless steel kennels at the Waco Animal Shelter by Aug. 1.
Until then, they’ll have to bear the heat of living under a giant tent in the Texas summer, and their caretakers and prospective adopters will have to bear a little inconvenience.
The kennel equipment, costing $360,000, arrived this week and is being assembled as part of a $3.1 million project to rebuild the city’s shelter at 2032 Circle Road. The improvements include an expanded adoption center, a new vet clinic, a renovated cat area and brand-new quarters for up to 122 dogs. Construction is expected to wrap up in September.
Shelter officials said the construction has posed a challenge to operating the facility, but they have managed to preserve a live-exit rate of at least 90 percent, which keeps them on the road to a no-kill shelter designation.
“It has been long days, begging and pleading and doing everything we can do to save lives,” said Don Bland, executive director of the Humane Society of Central Texas, which runs the adoption center.
“In the old days, on a rainy day, we’d always get lots of traffic. When we moved into the tent, with all this rain, people have stayed away because it’s so muddy. The weather has really affected us. . . . If we can get the animals out of the tent and into climate control, the public looking at them will be happier, the animals will be better off. It’s going to be better for everybody.”
In the meantime, he is urging the public to consider adopting or fostering an animal this summer.
“We need your help during this construction process more than ever,” Bland said. “We still have wonderful animals here. Come and take one.”
Comfort for animals
City of Waco spokeswoman Dori Helm said the new shelter will bring a level of comfort both for animals and visitors. The dog kennel areas will be air-conditioned to remain in the 80s when hot weather arrives, and the stainless steel equipment will be more sanitary and easy to clean.
Helm said she’s impressed with how the shelter has been able to meet its goals despite the upheaval of construction. The shelter reported 501 animals coming in, with 184 adoptions and 108 rescues by outside agencies.
“It speaks to how hard the staff has been working,” she said.