San Saba County Friends of Animals is committed to providing a safe, clean, well-run shelter for homeless animals in San Saba County. To help us reach that goal, we plan to visit several existing shelters so that we can learn what works well and what to avoid when we create our own facility. Our first shelter visit – to the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center in Brownwood – took place in November of last year.
In January, several members of SSCFOA traveled to Luling, a city of about 5,000 people located approximately 70 miles south of San Antonio, for a behind-the-scenes tour of that city’s shelter. We met with the animal control officer for the City of Luling and representatives of Luling Animal Welfare Society (“LAWS”), a fairly new humane organization formed by several citizens of Luling. We learned a great deal about the process of building a shelter and the innovative way in which LAWS works with Luling animal control to care for and adopt out the animals that come into the shelter.
LAWS was formed about three years ago specifically to help with animals impounded by Luling animal control. Although Luling had an existing municipal shelter, it was inadequate. LAWS helped raise money so that the city could create a new shelter. Until the new shelter opened in May of last year, LAWS volunteers helped to care for and adopt out animals at the old shelter.
The new shelter consists of an older building that was renovated to provide a cattery, administrative space and other facilities, plus a newly constructed building containing dog kennels. The dog kennels have outdoor runs that open onto a huge exercise area. The cattery is bright and airy and has a large viewing window. Best of all, the cattery was empty when we visited – LAWS managed to place all of the adoptable cats that came into the shelter in 2012! The facility took in about 500 cats and about 300 dogs last year.
When an animal is impounded by Luling animal control, it remains at the shelter for the mandatory three-day hold period. Once that period has expired, if the animal has not been returned to its owner and is considered adoptable, the animal becomes a “ward of LAWS.” At that point, LAWS takes responsibility for providing health care and adoption services for the animal. After being vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered, the animal remains at the shelter or is fostered by a LAWS volunteer until it is adopted to a permanent home or transferred to another rescue organization.
We came back from Luling with several great ideas that we want to incorporate when SSCFOA creates a facility here in San Saba County. Each time we visit a shelter, we become a bit more knowledgeable about humane animal sheltering and the adoption process. Our next trip will likely be to the Lampasas shelter, and we have several others on our list of possibilities. If you’d like to join us on our “shelter safari,” or if you have a suggestion as to a shelter we should visit, please contact Kate Beckes at 720-849-4201 or