Tails will be waggin’ in Atascosa County when the state-of-the-art animal shelter sitting on five acres just northwest of Jourdanton opens in August. The focus on animal welfare shines through every room of the new 12,000 square foot facility servicing Atascosa County and surrounding areas.
Recently Lt. Henry Dominguez provided a sneak peek to Judge Bob Hurley, Mayor Travis Hall and the Pleasanton Express. Both Hurley and Dominguez as well as Sheriff David Soward, county commissioners and leaders have been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. Dominguez and Hurley have partnered to contribute innovative components with economy in mind to make this state of the art animal facility one that will last for many years providing a great value to the community.
“Our citizens have long been dealing with abandoned and abused pets which ended up at their doorsteps,” said Lt. Henry Dominguez, Project Manager of the ACAC. “Not having the heart to dispose of someone else’s problems, they simply fed them and hoped that someone would come and reclaim them. That never happened. Our county leaders decided that this was unacceptable and committed to make a change.”
Before the first line was ever drawn on paper, Lt. Dominguez said there was extensive research done to see if there was a need in the county. Dominguez credits progressive county leaders for undertaking a needs assessment survey and speaking directly to citizens to determine if a majority believed a new animal control facility was needed. The answer was yes.
Economy of construction and long term strategic planning have been a priority for this project helping to build a first rate facility. Judge Bob Hurley and Lt. Henry Dominguez separately visited some of the best animal control facilities in Texas to learn how to do it right. They received some of their most valuable information from asking the experts, “If you could do one thing differently, what would you do?” Lt. Dominguez emphasizes that the architecture of the facility has built into it the science behind animal shelters. The systems built for the ACAC are rare for animal shelters. Dominguez noted that one of the unique features of this building is the siding system.He said the system is metal with eight inches of foam compacted inside that is waterproof, fireproof, rodent resistant and sound “deafening”.
Judge Hurley said that he spent 13 years on the city council and thought he understood how animal control worked. But, it took six months visiting these other counties to get a whole new education and perspective. “I think the most important thing to point out is we built a facility that the city has desperately needed for many, many years at an incredibly good value. It’s going to last forever,” said Judge Hurley. “Atascosa County will have one of the best designed and one of the newest animal facilities in the state for a county our size.”
The large campus and the extra care in planning and construction will make staying in the shelter as low-stress as possible for the animals. From its state of the art kennels to its cat and dog “get to know you” areas to a public dog park and educational area, this facility will finally help meet the county’s needs and better protect the “health, safety and welfare of both people and animals in our community.”
“Our building is separated into three separate zones,” said Dominguez. “There’s the dog kennel area which houses dogs only. There’s the cat area which houses only cats. Then there is the lobby and office area which consist of the public areas and office spaces. All three areas are monitored and controlled by access control devices placed at specific locations and controlled by staff.”
Dominguez showed off the impressive 100 kennels which are built with safety in mind. “Our building has state of the art kennels designed to make interaction with staff and potential adopters efficient and safe. The cat adoption area is separated as far as possible from the dogs so to reduce stress and promote adoptions.”
The lobby is designed as warm and inviting to make a trip to the animal control facility a positive experience. An expansive education room was designed to teach youth the importance of being responsible pet owners at a young age. “We took safety, efficiency and comfort into consideration for not only our citizens but also for our animals,” said Dominguez. “Extensive research was done before any lines were ever drawn and we believe that we have achieved a unique building that will accommodate not only our goals now, but 20 years into the future.”
Please follow the Atascosa County Animal Control Facebook page to watch for regular construction and progress updates. Plan to bring your whole family to the grand opening sometime in August. Also, turn to page 4A in today’s Pleasanton Express to read a column by Lt. Dominguez regarding ACAC.