By Rebecca Flannery
The Humane Society of Central Texas is in the process of a $2 million renovation project that will help the organization attain its goal of becoming a “no kill” shelter.
Wiley Stem III, assistant city manager, oversees the shelter and said the building is in need of renovations to make it a clean, livable place for animals sheltered there. The objective of becoming a “no kill” shelter requires this renovation, Stem said.
“The kennels are probably fifty years old,” Stem said. “There are cracks in the concrete which makes them hard to clean and keep the animals healthy and alive. Our goal is to get our live exits to 90 percent or better.”
Stem said animal rights groups define under 10 percent of euthanized animals as the standard for a ‘no kill’ shelter. This allows for a reasonable margin of animals that arrive already sick or old.
When the shelter was created, Stem said about 40 percent of the animals coming into the shelter left it alive. Now, the shelter is at 83 percent live exits.
“Some shelters are mandated to accept all animals brought to them, and the Humane Society believes there must be at least one animal shelter in every community that operates under this philosophy,” according to the national Humane Society website. “Ending the euthanasia of homeless animals is a goal that all animal welfare organizations share.”
Dori Helm, communications administrator for the city of Waco, said the facility will remain at 2032 Circle Road and expansions and renovations to the current building will be made to accommodate their goal.
A fundraising committee consisting of eight community members and city officials have signed on to the project in order to raise the money needed within the next six months, Helm said. An anonymous private donor has provided $100,000 of the cost so far.
“We’re creating a vet clinic within the facility and plan to employ a full-time veterinarian,” Stem said. “We’re adding about 40 kennels and an expanded laundry room as well as a dedicated puppy house and cat area.”
Funds to help those foster homes for animals were also taken into consideration for the project’s cost.
“The members of the committee have been reaching out to their respective communities to help with donations” Helm said. “By the end of March we want to have enough money to break ground. We want to get the project going as fast as possible.”
William “Bill” Nesbitt, a fundraising committee member, said he has been working with four local foundations about the possibility of contributing to the shelter, including the Waco Foundation and The Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation. Contributions are also being made by community members at the website wacoanimalshelter.com.
“The three main facets of creating a better program for animals in the area is more adoptions, access to spay and neutering capabilities and a more efficient facility to shelter animals,” Nesbitt said.
The shelter is in the process of becoming an animal intake area for 15 out of the 20 McLennan county cities, Stem said, making it another reason to make expansions to the shelter.
“Animals don’t have to die because we simply don’t have the space or an active adoption program,” Nesbitt said.