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The Victoria County Commissioners Court will consider separating the Public Health Department from Animal Control during their meeting Monday morning because the demands on animal control are increasing, County Judge Ben Zeller said Friday.

“We want to put a greater focus on adoptions going forward,” Zeller said. “Stray cats and dogs are a big problem in Victoria and it seems to be a growing problem.”

Animal Control has been linked with the Public Health Department for decades, Zeller said, and with the demands from COVID and other issues on health, they need to be separated.

ee Wheeler’s job is when there is no room at animal shelters. “Unfortunately, what happens is people will dump or leave them on the side of the road because they can’t take them home,” said Wheeler, director of Adopt-A-Pet, adding there are a number of adoptable animals at other facilities who will be euthanized. “We don’t like telling people no, but at the same time, when there’s not room, there’s not room.” Adopt-A-Pet, 8215 Houston Highway, and Dorothy O’Connor Pet Adoption Center, 135 Progress Drive, are at capacity. About eight animals were ownersurrendered to the Victoria County ANIMALS A

OPT-A-PET ■ HOURS: 10 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday ■ WHERE: 8215 Houston Highway ■ MORE INFO: Call 361-575-7387 or email VICTORIA COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL ■ HOURS: 10 am to 5 pm MondayThursday; 10 am-3 pm Friday ■ WHERE: 122 Perimeter Road ■ CONTACT: Call 361-578-3564 or email DOROTHY O’CONNOR PET ADOPTION CENTER ■ HOURS: 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday; noon to 5 pm Saturday; closed Sunday ■ WHERE: 135 Progress Drive ■ MORE INFO: Call 361-575-8573 or email petadoptions@docp

poor Control on Aug. 20, said Craig Kirkpatrick, chief animal control officer. The center has about 23 adoptable animals, according to its website. The Advocate requested information Wednesday about the number of owner-surrendered animals at the facility, but the number was not provided by Friday. About 80 percent of the animals at Adopt-A-Pet are rescued from the Victoria County Animal Control facility, Wheeler said. Strays are the shelter’s second priority for intake. Adopt-A-Pet has been at capacity since it opened more than 20 years ago, she said, and currently has about 120 animals. Wheeler said animals are consistently brought in after others find homes. “We don’t leave those cages empty,” she said. Dorothy O’Connor Pet Adoption Center is expected to reach capacity after another round of intake, said Alicia Goehring, director of animal services. The center currently has about 100 animals and has a capacity of 200. The center keeps fewer than 150 animals, which are taken in from kill shelters in Victoria and the surrounding area, to keep a happy medium and comfortable environment between the staff and animals, Goehring said. If space allows, they will take surrendered animals. The center had about 45 adoptions during August, she said, which is a slow time for animal adoption centers because of the back-to-school period. Wheeler said adoptions increase in the summer when families have time to bring an animal into their routine and peak during the holidays. “We don’t encourage people to give pets at Christmas,” she said. At the end of September and the start of October, adoptions will pick up again, Goehring said, while the number of animals returned varies from month to month. For some adoption centers, foster families help alleviate animal capacity, Goehring said. At Dorothy O’Connor, animals under 12 weeks are available for foster care. To become a foster caretaker, a person must fill out an application at the center and will be given any medical care, food and necessities for the animal they foster. Wheeler said Adopt-A-Pet does not rely on foster families as a sole strategy to help with animal capacity because the situation can change spontaneously and depends on the family’s plans. A person who is contemplating surrendering their animal can contact a shelter or trainer if their animal has behavior or attitude problems, she said. However, Wheeler said, sometimes people don’t want to fix the problem but get rid of it. “We are sometimes a 100-percent throw-away society and turn to something else when times get rough,” she said. For the animal, the act of being surrendered can be a devastating and terrifying experience because they are suddenly taken to an unfamiliar place, she said. One of the biggest problems for the center is people who breed their dog or cat because of their looks, Wheeler said. Those animals compete with shelter animals. “For us, it’s the one neighbor’s dog that got into your backyard and now you have 12 mix-breeds or full-breeds because you couldn’t sell them,” she said. “It’s not the strays that fill up our facility but your neighbor’s dog or cat that keeps having babies.” The number of stray animals in the area has decreased since the trap-neuter-return program was introduced, she said. Wheeler said she encourages people who may want to surrender their pet to start with family and friends and take it to a shelter as a last resort. “Really think about it before you get a pet,” she said. “Make sure it’s a good decision everybody’s agreeing on to make it a part of the family and not spur-of-themoment.” A

—-Original Message——–

Subject: Michael Atkinson – Animal Control News

Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2022 20:03:59 -0500

From: <>

Uncle: <>

06-06-2022 Tuesday Morning 10:11 A


Re: Animal Control Advisory Committee Update

Extended Hours At Animal Control & New Vaccination Program.

1. I wanted to let you know the hours at Victoria County Animal

Control have been extended to 7 PM on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays

of the month. This is being done for the express purpose of providing

additional time for adoptions. This is not a period for taking in animals

but an effort to provide a more convenient time/opportunity for the public

to review and adopt a pet. Chauna Ordower (Adoption Coordinator & Rescue

Coordinator) is directly involved in this effort along with Scott Buchanan

(Asst Chief Animal Control Officer).

2. Additionally, a new vaccination program has been initiated solely for

“intake” dogs & cats at Animal Control. This program is based on a

Six Month Study associated with Pets Alive of Austin, Texas. The privately

funded program is designed to verify the efficacy of specific vaccinations

given upon arrival at Animal Control to prevent/reduce illnesses at the


Animal Control will reciprocate with monthly reports to Pets Alive.

Parvo, Distemper & Bordetella vaccinations are provided for Dogs. cat

Viral Rhinotracheitis , Feline Calicivirus, & Feline Panleukopenia


are provided for Cats.

This program specifically for “intake” Dogs & Cats was introduced

locally by Megan Driver and approved by the New Animal Control Advisory


I hope this will assist the Advocate in getting the news out about these

important new developments at Animal Control. Yes, I used the word


twice on purpose to indicate this is not a program for folks to bring in

their pets for a “free shot”.

If you have any questions please let me know.


Michael Atkinson

Chairman: Victoria County Animal Control Advisory Committee. E-mail

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