Schertz Animal Adoption Center gets new temporary home

Some 50 felines – and six staff at the Schertz Animal Adoption Center – will move to cooler quarters this month as work begins on a $ 650,000 project to repair the air conditioning and heating systems in the establishment.

Work was originally scheduled to start in September, said Schertz deputy police chief Marc Bane, but was delayed until October pending delivery of some necessary equipment.

“It helps us a lot,” he said, “as we are looking for cooler weather to start the project.”

The delay also gives the city more time to step up attempts to adopt or encourage more stray animals before the move. One such effort, sponsored by the Schertz Police Association, took place on August 28 at the facility located at 800 Community Circle Drive. Fees were reduced during the seven-hour event to encourage more pet adoptions.

“We have some very good adoption partners that we work with, and other organizations in other cities are helping us as well,” Bane said. “But still, we have a lot of animals, so we are working in every way possible to reduce the population during this project.”

The air conditioning system was used more and more with the temperatures this summer, he explained. “He didn’t completely extinguish himself. I don’t know the inner workings of this one, but it struggled and it got to the point where the city said they had to replace it for us.

The move came after several portable air conditioning units had to be brought into the shelter to cool both staff and animals. “We were able to maintain good temperature control throughout the summer with these laptops, so it didn’t affect animals or staff too much,” Bane said.

The feline population and center staff will be moving to portable facilities on the shelter grounds starting October 1, and work is expected to begin immediately on the 4,800 square foot permanent facility.

“The planned timeline is two to three months to install the new systems,” Bane added. “We try to coordinate it so that we move and they move in immediately to get to work so that we can minimize the time we spend out of this space.”

Pet adoptions will continue to take place during this time, but will be by appointment only. “And we will also be holding other adoption events in the community,” the deputy chief said.

The covered kennels in the center, located next to the building, are not air conditioned, he noted, so they are not part of the project and will not need to be moved. “Cats don’t deal with heat like dogs do on hot summer days,” he explained.

The complex opened in March 2014 at a cost of $ 2.4 million, funding that was included in the city’s 2010 bond election. The police department has assumed responsibility for the shelter since the City Marshal’s Office in 2017 following investigations into workplace issues within the Animal Department, including allegations of verbal abuse, policy violations and misconduct.

“We did a ton of work there, and the city and the council were extremely supportive of any improvements we needed to make,” Bane said, highlighting the new flooring installed in early 2019 and the kennels. and additional atria. The shelter currently has six employees, five full-time and one part-time.

Approximately $ 350,000 of the $ 650,000 cost of the heating and cooling project is included in the city’s fiscal year 2021-2022 budget which is due for a final council vote on September 14th. If approved, the new budget would come into effect on October 1.

Where exactly the rest of the funding will come from is unclear at this point. “There are legal claims regarding the original work,” said James Walters, the city’s chief financial officer. “It might cover the costs, but we can’t count on that money. Otherwise, he could come out of the reserves, if necessary.

Walters declined to provide further details on the pending lawsuit.

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