Montgomery County Commissioners Express Concern Over Admission to Animal Shelters

The pandemic and other challenges have strained the resources available at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. (Jishnu Nair/Community Impact Journal)

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include December admission records from Montgomery County Animal Services

During a Feb. 8 commissioners’ court session, Montgomery County commissioners received a briefing from county animal shelter director Aaron Johnson about difficulties with admissions or the shelter’s ability to receive animals. .

Johnson said the shelter, which accepts admissions by appointment, was already struggling with capacity. Officers are instead asking callers to keep animals for up to two weeks until animal shelter staff can provide a vaccination to limit the spread of disease, though Johnson said that in some cases, they could take the animals.

“Appointments are booked within a day or two, which is far better than any other organization in the area,” Johnson said. “It also really helped our disease control to spread the animals.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley and Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack reported that residents had called about the animal shelter, dismissing a possible admission.

“We’ve had a lot of calls. I just really have a problem that you and your team are providing service and working for everyone in the county, and it’s not okay for you to tell anyone. either they have to keep the dog for two weeks,” Noack mentioned. “I don’t think that works, and I think that’s a huge problem.

Johnson also said the shelter turned away animals that had been intentionally trapped or were already pets with microchips.

The shelter had previously closed reception services in August due to concerns with distemper, a contagious respiratory virus. The reception of wanderers by appointment reopened in October.

Johnson also asked the commissioners about the possibility of reviewing interlocal agreements with Montgomery County municipalities that use county animal services. In the county, only Conroe and Willis maintain their own animal service departments, Johnson said.

According to recordings on the animal services website, the shelter had a total of 223 animals either in the shelter or in foster care as of the end of December, the most recent entry.

Planning for a new shelter in progress, costs not available

Johnson also said planning was underway for a new animal shelter building and he was optimistic a proposal could be presented to the commissioners when budget hearings begin this summer.

Johnson said Community Impact Journal the current planning goal was to define what the new shelter would look like and what flaws should be removed from the current building.

“Capacity is a huge, huge issue, and as the county grows it will be a bigger issue,” Johnson told the commissioners.

Johnson had no details of the plan available.

The incinerator of a retarded animal shelter

Commissioners received an update on the shelter’s incinerator, which had $50,000 in funding from Noack’s budget approved in March. Johnson said in March the total cost of the incinerator would be $315,000.

Johnson said Community Impact Journal delays in installing parts meant that the incinerator would not be operational for “a few months”.

At a December 2020 commissioners’ court meeting, Johnson said the shelter would work with Conroe Animal Shelter to use its incinerator for disposal, although he noted its capacity was limited compared to the facility. county incinerator.