AP NEWS

New city animal shelter almost ready

November 23, 2018

As shelter supervisor for the Deer Park Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, Al Garces has become attached to a recent arrival, a pit bull mix called “Rhino.”

Rhino had been at the city shelter only two weeks and is still waiting to be noticed as someone’s forever pet.

But soon he and the rest of Deer Park’s homeless pet population will have a new temporary home and more time to wait.

The city’s new $2.4 million pet-adoption facility, located adjacent to the current shelter at 4213 Luella Avenue, is scheduled to be completed by early December.

The city’s current one-storyfacility looks more like a converted home, with little room to grow out. But the staff makes the most of its limited space, which includes nine cages for dogs, seven for cats.

The 7,500-square-foot new building will include 34 dog kennels, 21 cat cages, playrooms for an additional six cats and other features including a meet-and-greet room for dogs and a “get-to-know” courtyard.

“The new facility gives us a better opportunity to showcase the animals for adoption,” Garcas said.

The shelter maintains a strong push to promote adoptions through its “Pet of the Week” feature and by posting photos on social media that highlight families with their new pets. The staff also has some fun highlighting through seasonal-themed portraits.

“The shelter is constantly working to encourage and provide information about the adoption process,” said Bill Pederson, director of public works.

“Due to an unprecedented number of adoptions of both cats and dogs, the shelter is constantly making room for new animals and has continued to meet the expectations of the community,” he said.

Over the past several months, the shelter has varied from being at or under capacity, he said.

City Council approved an agreement for professional design services with Quorum Architects in 2016, and in 2017, awarded a $2,240,668 construction contract to Construction LTD for the facility.

The building was paid for by certificates of obligation, or debt issued by the city to be paid back over time.

A grand-opening ceremony is tentatively planned for January, and the city will post updates on its website.

“On behalf of the Deer Park City Council, I would like to say how excited we are for the upcoming grand opening of our expanded animal shelter and adoption center,” Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton said in a statement. “This facility, which will be equipped with additional space and amenities that will encourage adoption, will serve as a place where families of Deer Park can connect with loving animals in need of homes. It is sure to positively impact the lives of countless residents and pets, and we can’t wait to see the results of all of the work that has gone into it.”

Rhino will eventually find a home, said Garces, but he will be missed by staff members.

“This is such a good dog; everybody here loves him,” he said.

For more information on adoptable pets at the Deer Park Animal Shelter, call the shelter at 281-478-7274 or visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/deerparktx.animalshelter.

yorozco@hcnonline.com

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