GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is “relatively on schedule” in its expansion of the current facility to double its capacity for cats and add dog kennels as well, a spokeswoman said.
Wednesday marks the next step in the process, opening a temporary dog shelter so the existing kennels can be taken apart, floors can be redone and new air conditioning units can be installed. Moving all the canines out will shave months off the construction time compared to working around the dogs.
For the next six months, pups will be housed at the livestock show barn in San Gabriel Park, where staff and volunteers set up temporary kennels and huge fans and coolers run nonstop.
The cats will be able to stay where they are, but anyone looking to adopt or reclaim a pet, or to drop off a stray, will need to go to the new location.
“It’s kind of like a little summer camp for them,” community programs coordinator Misty Valenta said.
In order to fight chronic overcrowding, the shelter is offering free adoptions for dogs over 30 pounds through Saturday. Smaller dogs are $15, and puppies are $75 to adopt.
Even with the new expansion, the shelter will still struggle with the overcrowding that’s plagued them for months or longer.
“We did free adoptions Memorial Day weekend and had a great turnout,” Valenta said. “The very next day we were over-capacity again.”
A slew of recent owner surrenders hasn’t helped. The shelter has plans to expand the dog kennels even more, but they need to secure more funding to do so. Until then, they’ll need more fosters and adopters to keep space free for new arrivals.
“A lot of them came in after the storm we had the other day, which just compounds the issue,” volunteer Caiti Thornhill said. “But hopefully their people will come and find them.”
Tuesday, Thornhill and other volunteers shuttled back and forth between the current shelter and the temporary one to bring the dogs to their new home, called the Canine Corral.
The Corral’s “spokesdog,” Max, was one of the first in the newly-constructed kennels there. He’s featured in a cowboy hat on the shelter’s ads for the temporary space, and has been looking for a forever home for six months. “He’s a long-term lovable,” Thornhill said.
He and the other pups will have fans and coolers for the summer months and heaters and blankets if necessary during the fall and winter. The shelter is also asking volunteers to make and bring in “pupsicles” — popsicles for pups — on a sign-up basis.
The remaining canines still at the current shelter will be moved to the corral by the end of the week. Construction is expected to wrap up by spring 2019.