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Commissioners OK creation of Hays Pet Resource Center

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hays County Commissioners have unanimously approved RFP specifications for an organization to assist with the creation, development, and operation of a Pet Resource Center.

Commissioners expressed their relief and gratitude at Commissioners Court on Tuesday over a project that has been “a long time coming,” according to Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe.

“We’re happy to move forward on that,” Ingalsbe said. “There’s been a lot of folks that have been anxious to see this on the agenda, so we look forward to their responses and moving forward.”

On April 27, Heather Lewis and Teresa Adams of Animal Arts, along with Dr. Sara Pizano from Team Shelter USA, hosted a Needs Assessment Workshop with Hays County leaders and the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter (SMRAS) to evaluate the existing shelter facility, and make recommendations for a new facility with updated operational standards to serve Hays County into the future, according to the Hays County Facility Workshop and Needs Assessment Report.

Pizano and Lewis presented their recommendations to Hays County Commissioners in June. Recommendations included building a pet resource center as part of the shelter in order to provide a healthy and functional environment for animals, staff, volunteers and visitors; addressing root causes of animal homelessness and lack of access to resources; creating a state-of-the-art social services campus serving people and pets in need; developing public-private partnerships for resource center operations; and the ability to reunite pets with their owners as quickly as possible to reduce time spent in the facility.

The proposed new facility for Hays County consists of two buildings: a 4,063 square foot combined Open-Door Veterinary and Spay Neuter Clinic, and a Pet Resource Center of 17,749 interior square feet and covered exterior of 5,950 square feet, according to the RFP document. The facility's expected cost is $23,361,928 with a 6% escalation based on the project's time frame.

The RFP proposes the center be split into four main areas of Community Services, Shelter Operations, Medical Care for Shelter Pets, and Administration, with a multifold goal of “serv[ing] the community by providing for public and animal safety, social services programs, euthanasia when appropriate, along with enhancing access to veterinary care for the public.”

The award recipient would be expected to embrace the HASS model (Human Animal Support Services) and The Best Practice Playbook for Animal Shelters.

Hays County was scheduled to issue the RFP on Sept. 29 and will accept submissions until the Oct. 27 deadline.


Other items

In other business, Hays County Commissioners granted blanket approval for Main Street-sponsored events to include commercial vendors.

The unanimous vote of approval follows a request from Main Street representatives, Josie Falletta and Freddy Medina, to allow commercial vendors as they go back to hosting large-scale events.

Falletta clarified for the court their vendors are only local, small businesses and not “enormous, distant figures” and added that Main Street is organizing SMTX Bubble Fest in November.

Judge Ruben Becerra, who formerly served on the San Marcos Main Street board, expressed his support for the Main Street Program with the following statement.

“The charge of these organizations, I believe, in great part is to not become any town U.S.A along the highway, and you guys have done such a magnificent job with the care, the beautification, and all of the efforts that are not unnoticed,” he said.

Commissioners approved reinstating the burn ban effective Sept. 27,  after Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Wobus reported the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) as 672 and informed the court of multiple fire department responses to permitted escape burns and accidental fires in the past several weeks.

The proposal quickly received a motion and a second, and Smith thanked Wobus for his recent assistance in putting out a three-acre fire on the western side of the county.

“It turned from greenery to fuel pretty immediately, so we appreciated it,” Smith said.

Two Public Improvement District (PID) Assessment and Collection Agreements for Kyle 57 and Plum Creek North also received Commissioners’ approval at Tuesday's meeting.

The next Commissioners Court meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the Hays Historic Courthouse on 111 E. San Antonio St.  in San Marcos.

To watch the full meetings online, visit

San Marcos Record

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