A year ago on this page, we ran an editorial about the state of Angleton’s animal control efforts that pulled no punches.
In spelling out the issues with the city-run shelter and lack of money for people to operate it properly, we wrote changes required decisions by “Angleton city leaders and its taxpayers whether they want a facility and animal control program that is effective and humane, or if they want to continue taking advantage of dedicated employees and keeping stray animals in embarrassingly bad conditions.”
They answered, and Angleton’s residents and leadership should be proud of what they have accomplished in the 13 months since that editorial ran.
New paint has brightened up the shelter, making it an inviting place for prospective adopters of stray animals to see their potential new family members. Twenty dog kennels provide ample space for the animals, and volunteers and employees are dedicated to keeping them clean.
Felines have it even better. Three cat rooms were designed and constructed by a community service worker at no cost to the city or shelter, allowing the numerous cats a chance to move around freely and play with toys instead of being caged all day, Shelter Manager Brenda Majors said.
The community stepped up, too, donating food, cat litter and other items to support the shelter team’s efforts. And critically, city leaders drastically increased the budget for the animal control program.
The result is healthier animals ready for adoption from an environment that encourages it. Most importantly, however, is the city and local animal rescue groups are working together, allowing what once was a high-kill shelter to focus on becoming a no-kill facility.
“We really took rescues’ advice to heart and drastically altered the culture from just a policing and enforcement facility to a saving arm,” Councilman Cody Vasut said.
Special congratulations belong to Majors, who a year ago was serving the animals largely on her own time. The city budgeted her position at 19 hours a week, but she routinely worked more than 40. Vasut and City Manager Scott Albert also deserve kudos for emphasizing the importance of a well-run, properly funded animal control effort and seeing changes took place.
Majors said the wishlist hasn’t been filled completely with check marks yet. More Kundra beds, which are elevated beds for the dog kennels, a French drain to keep water out of the facility when it rains and more outdoor facilities to give dogs exercise are among envisioned projects to make things even better.
Angleton, in this case, is an example of exactly how a city’s leaders should react when a significant problem is brought to their attention. They brought in outside parties to help and provided the resources to see that the problem was fixed.
“I love to see the culture change. We’ve all got to work together,” Vasut said.
The transformation at the Angleton shelter shows what can be achieved when that happens.