The 2015 Facilities Master Plan identified the existing animal shelter has exceeded its design capacity. A new shelter will accommodate the projected animal capacity due to the City’s growth. The new shelter not only provides expanded space to house animals and adoption services, but it incorporates functions to expand the city’s role in managing urban wildlife. Development of land is pushing our wild neighbors closer to our neighborhoods. Wildlife is finding the means to adapt and thrive closer and closer to cities. Animal Services plays a role in increasing people’s understanding and education of our wild neighbors and promoting a safe coexistence of both our citizens and urban wildlife.
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The Vision of the city of Sugar Land Animal Services Division is to foster and support a community where all animals are treated humanely and with compassion, and in which there is a forever home for every adoptable animal. When the city’s current animal shelter was originally built in 2008, it was designed to provide approximately 150 adoptions per year. As you can see from the table below, the Sugar Land Animal Shelter has worked diligently to achieve this vision and has well exceeded the originally planned number of adoptions each year.
The Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 828, requires all public or private animal control agencies, shelters or humane organizations to have their animals sterilized. However, this law does not apply to rescues, breeders or individuals. Irresponsible pet ownership is a contributing factor as to why we continue to see intakes at our shelter. We also receive numerous owned animals that are lost and injured and need shelter and protection until their owners can be contacted, and they can be returned. In addition, our Animal Services Officers respond to animal cruelty cases that often require animals to be removed from properties around Sugar Land. The shelter also holds animals under domestic violence restraining orders; for citizens who pass away in their homes; and when there are arrests and vehicle accidents where animals are involved.
The city’s current animal shelter was built in 2008 with funds from surplus sales tax. As the City’s first indoor shelter, it was designed house a total of 24 dogs and 35 cats to provide approximately 150 adoptions per year. A 2015 Facilities Master Plan Update determined that the design capacity of the existing facility had been exceeded, and there was not sufficient space to accommodate expected growth. The city hired consultants to work with the Animal Advisory Board (AAB) to confirm the size, scope, site layout and approximate budget for the new animal shelter. In addition, the citizen-led AAB has focused on the review of Animal Services programs and operations and the identification of facility needs they believe that are necessary to provide these services.
Some No Kill facilities pre-screen what they will take into their shelter. Less desirable animals are not admitted or transferred to other facilities. Sugar Land's animal shelter is tasked with taking in all animals in our jurisdiction including strays, abandoned and injured animals, those with health issues from neglect, transmittable diseases, behavior issues, and aggression.
A No Kill shelter is a great concept, but in reality even a No Kill shelter can euthanize 5-10% of its intake and still be considered No Kill. Maddie's Fund, an organization dedicated to increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S., defines a No-Kill shelter as “an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, reserving euthanasia for unhealthy and untreatable animals.” Maddie’s Fund also has detailed definitions for healthy, treatable, rehabilitatable and manageable animals.
The City’s Animal Shelter does not promote itself as a "no kill" animal shelter but does actively utilize multiple "no kill" strategies to ensure adoptable animals find a forever home. Even though the animal shelter has exceeded its capacity since 2015, the animal shelter does not euthanize for space. In addition, the City utilizes the following "no kill" strategies to ensure animals are adopted:
The City’s current animal shelter was built in 2008 with funds from surplus sales tax. As the City’s first indoor shelter, it was designed to meet the needs of a growing city by housing a total of 24 dogs and 35 cats and to provide approximately 150 adoptions per year. A 2015 Facilities Master Plan Update determined that the capacity of the existing facility had been exceeded, and there was not sufficient space to accommodate expected growth. For example, Sugar Land Animal Services completed a total of 829 adoptions in Fiscal Year 2018. A 2016 expansion study developed facility expansion options and recommended interim improvements for the existing shelter. The proposed program addresses the work recently completed by the expanded animal advisory board for ultimate growth.
With the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory on December 2017, an interim expansion of the current animal shelter was completed through the addition of an existing building which was renovated and relocated to the shelter, increasing the floor space by 56 percent (increasing interim capacity to 62 dogs and 112 cats). While this improvement provided a temporary expansion, the construction of a new Animal Shelter will address projected growth beyond 2030 with a capacity of 70 dogs and 132 cats at any given time.
As a result of more than 10 years of planning and funds set aside by residents of the annexed areas specifically for the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory, the city completed one of the largest and most successful annexations in state history. The City evaluated this annexation on a stand-alone basis; and concluded that the cost to the City of providing services to the annexed areas was supported by revenues generated from the annexed areas, and there was no reduction in services to residents already living within Sugar Land’s corporate city limits.
In early 2017, the City partnered with the architectural firms of PGAL and Animal Arts to confirm the size, scope, site layout and approximate budget for the new animal shelter. In order to ensure the project encompasses community objectives, the City’s Animal Advisory Board was expanded from 5 to 11 members. The Animal Advisory Board has focused on the review of Animal Services programs and operations, animal shelter expansion space planning and the development of funding options. Read more at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1800/History.
$6.6 million was identified for the construction of an approximately 17,000 square-foot facility which will allow the City to continue to provide our current level of service but with the appropriate spaces. Through the work of the Animal Advisory Board, additional services were identified for inclusion within the facility; as such, a separate capital campaign will be undertaken to fund these additional services. The facility includes animal housing, intake/veterinary space, staffing area, public spaces and space for animal outdoor fitness. This effort will be guided by the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation, a group that works on behalf of the city of Sugar Land to promote community investment in large-scale quality of life projects. Read more at http://www.sugarlandlegacy.org/.