GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — At Tuesday’s city council workshop, a proposal was heard for the first time on a potential city partnership with the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

The merger would give all ownership and operations of Georgetown’s shelter to the regional facility.

Jack Daly, assistant public works director for the City of Georgetown, gave the proposal presentation.

He said the partnership would help the city get ahead of anticipated overwhelming numbers of intake animals.

Daly said high intake is likely to happen as Georgetown remains one of the state’s fastest-growing cities and because the shelter is already struggling with limited space and an outdated facility.

“It’s undersized, it doesn’t meet modern standards. The laundry room and the surgery room are in the same place, which is not how you would build a shelter today,” said Daly.

Misty Valenta, director of the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, said the developments for adding Georgetown to its list of cities it serves (currently Cedar Park, Hutto, Round Rock and Leander) are still extremely early. Adding Georgetown would need approval from all municipalities already on board.

She also said shelters across the country are dealing with capacity issues, not just Georgetown or Central Texas. She attributes that nationwide struggle to several factors.

“We just went through a pandemic where many clinics were closed, so people could not receive spay/neuter services. We also have folks who are experiencing difficulty finding housing that allows them to move with their entire family — animals included,” said Valenta.

WCRAS has also been struggling with capacity issues since the summer, according to April Peiffer, the shelter’s community programs coordinator. She said the shelter has seen critical capacity levels since around June with little relief since then. Typically, critical levels are seen annually, but they usually come and go.

“This year has been exceptional in that there just hasn’t been any ebb, and it’s all flow,” Peiffer said.

No action was taken by the city council Tuesday, as this was only a discussion workshop. Daly said more discussions are likely in the future.