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Victoria County animal shelter to open one more Saturday

By DAVID TEWES
Aug. 26, 2010 at 3:26 a.m.


A look at the numbers

An average of five people have visited the animal shelter on Saturdays this summer.

The numbers ranged from a low of one on Aug. 14 to a high of nine on July 3.

The effort to open the Victoria County animal shelter half a day on Saturdays to help increase pet adoptions ends Saturday.

"The animal shelter has been open on Saturday mornings at least a couple of months," County Judge Don Pozzi said. "From the figures we have seen, it's just not working as we had hoped it would."

Jerry McCaskill, one of those who requested the Saturday hours, said she appreciates what the county has done so far.

"But they're not really giving it a fair chance," she said. "There wasn't enough publicity."

The shelter had been open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. But Bain Cate, director of the health department, agreed to also open the shelter from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

The commissioners court agreed earlier this summer to try it for a month, but later agreed to extend the trial through August.

Pozzi said so few people have taken advantage of the extra hours, it's difficult to justify continuing the service. He also said there has been discussion of adding hours during the work week, although that has not yet been decided.

Cate wrote in an e-mail that he doesn't have any thoughts on that at this time.

"The extreme disappointment of the Saturday hours trial is weighing heavy on animal control staff, and we need some more time before 'standing up' another initiative," he wrote.

Pozzi said people are welcome to contact members of the commissioners court or to come to one of the 10 a.m. Monday meetings to discuss the issue.

McCaskill said she's planning to attend one of the meetings.

"They really and truly need to give it more of an opportunity," she said. "I would have said right off the bat to probably keep it open on Saturdays until the end of the year and make a decision then."

People are going on vacations and involved with other activities during the summer, she said. They don't want to adopt a pet and then have to board it or have someone else take care of it while they are gone.

McCaskill also said opening the shelter at 8 a.m. on Saturdays isn't a good idea. She said the animals are hungry and the cages are still dirty.

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