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All about the animals: October celebrates city's animal shelter
The city of Rowlett is making a major push to bring focus to its animal shelter during the month of October. The shelter has designated the month as Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
The shelter has been under the direction of the police department since 2010 when the city reallocated its personnel to improve the efficiency of the city's operations. In the two years since the supervision was placed under the direction of the police department there have been significant changes to the shelter's operations.
"The police department came in and implemented a lot of new policies and procedures as well as several improvements at the shelter," said Jeff Ochsner, shelter supervisor.
The city contracted with Strategic Government Resources to assess the shelter and determine what improvements could be made to enable the shelter to become more efficient. The list was prioritized and more than 90 percent of the recommendations have already been implemented.
"There has definitely been a more supportive effort to bring everyone together," Oschner said.
Some of the biggest improvements to the shelter were the addition of a commercial dishwasher for dog pans and litter trays and a security fence that limits the access to the rear of the facility.
"We also had two part time positions added to come in and clean in the mornings. It has really helped us get the shelter ready for operations," Oschner said.
The city also tasked Animal Shelter Advisory Board with researching the possibility of making the Rowlett shelter a no-kill animal shelter. The board determined that due to the city's financial constraints and space limitations at the shelter it was not feasible for the shelter to become a no-kill facility.
The shelter has seen an uptick in adoptions over the last two years. Oschner credits it to the support of the city and the shelter's volunteers.
"There have been a lot of people that have helped out," Oschner said.
The shelter also now does not take owner surrenders when it is overcrowded.
"If we don't have to take owner surrenders when we are overcrowded it allows us more time to find homes for the animals we already have," Oschner said.
The animal shelter will have a fall animal adoption event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 to bring awareness to the shelter and get some of the shelter's animals into permanent homes. As part of the event the adoption fees will be reduced to $25.
"We are partnering with The Friends of Rowlett Animals. They will have some of their volunteers out here which will allow us to get more animals out of their cages and into the hands of perspective adopters," Oschner said.
The shelter will offer a low cost vaccination clinic from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 20.
"This is one our few outreach programs. We are protecting the dogs and ourselves from the rabies virus by offering this clinic. It also brings attention to the shelter which is good because we always have an abundance of animals looking for homes," Oschner said.