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Animal Shelter History
It is uncertain when the City of Weatherford first started addressing the animal control problem, but some of the earliest confirmation dates to the 1960s. The first documented impound facility was located at the landfill and consisted of three run down stock pens that had been boarded up to hold impounded dogs. There was no formal adoption process.
In 1970, the pens were moved from the landfill and were somewhat improved; however, it consisted of nothing more than a three-sided metal cover with a cyclone fence. In 1984, Weatherford built its first actual building, which contained 15 kennels. The building was fabricated concrete and looked pretty good considering what it replaced. However, there was no hot water or air conditioner in the facility and summers would heat the interior to well over 90° F. One animal control officer was responsible for all duties and the shelter was only open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
By 1989, the facility had deteriorated considerably. The adoption rate was less than 10% that fiscal year. The new shelter supervisor was concerned about the shelter and the welfare of the animals. A group of local citizens formed an association chartered as Friends for Animals. The shelter was temporarily closed and Friends for Animals began raising money for the renovation process. Enough money was raised for a new floor, re-conditioned kennels, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, as well as for landscaping.
From July to September 1990, they completely renovated the existing shelter. Friends for Animals then contracted to operate the facility for the next two years. Adoption rates went from 8% to 60%. Spaying and neutering was required within 30 days of adoption and all animals were wormed, dipped and given parvo shots. Friends for Animals did an outstanding job improving and operating the facility as well as educating the public and bringing attention to animal welfare issues. This was a catalyst for future changes. From that point on, the City and the citizens of Weatherford have sought ways to improve and expand the services both to the animals we care for and the citizens we serve.
In 2000, the City of Weatherford and Parker County entered into an agreement to operate a combined City/County shelter that would serve not only the City of Weatherford, but also the unincorporated area of the county. Through this combined effort, 48 additional kennels were constructed along with a new office. Now, there are 78 kennels including one 15-kennel building utilized strictly for quarantined animals. The Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter is a healthy and friendly environment that is both efficient and attractive.
In 2001, with the cooperation of local veterinarians, the shelter began an on-site spay and neuter program. The City constructed a surgical room and outfitted it with the necessary equipment and supplies. Local veterinarians Kevin Buchanan, Randy Doran, Gary Grote, Dene Herbel and Darryl McEndree visit the shelter on a weekly rotating basis to conduct surgeries. The City employs a Vet Tech who assists on all surgeries and ensures that the animals are prepped and ready for surgery upon the veterinarian’s arrival. On-site rabies vaccinations and parvo shots are provided for adopted animals. During the first month of operation, the onsite spay and neuter program handled 108 animals. In 2004, approximately 975 animals were spayed or neutered. This program is conducive to efficient compliance with guidelines set out by the Texas Health and Safety Code. It has virtually eliminated the costly and time consuming adoption follow-up procedures.
In 2004, the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter had seven full time employees, one part time employee, one regular volunteer and at least five inmate trustees per day. The shelter consisted of seven buildings including one office and a horse barn. There were 78 dog kennels and 49 cat kennels. The Spay/Neuter Program continued to be a vital part of the Shelter’s success. During 2004, approximately 975 animals were spayed or neutered. Also in 2004, the Shelter began implanting microchips in spayed and neutered animals. The microchip, implanted under the skin at the base of the animal’s neck, helped identify pets that were lost from their owners. This procedure improved the success rate of reuniting animals with their owners.
In 2004, two local businessmen generously offered to match up to $40,000 each if the shelter could raise $40,000 to start off the project. Through generous community support and the hard work of the members of the Weatherford / Parker County Animal Shelter Building Improvement Fund Advisory Board, the shelter met their $40,000 goal in August 2005.
In 2011, The City of Weatherford entered into a cooperative agreement to provide animal services for the City of Hudson Oaks. During the same year, Parker County entered into a cooperative agreement to provide animal services for the City of Springtown. Also in 2011, the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter began coordinating with Fort Worth Animal Care and Control to transfer dogs to FWACC. In turn, they help supply animals to various PetSmart locations in Fort Worth; this effort will help increase our live release rates.
The shelter has received numerous “excellent” ratings from the Texas Department of State Health Services (and formerly the Texas Department of Health) from 1998 to present. Additionally, they received the Texas Animal Control and Welfare Agency Award in 2000 and 2003. The Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter is one of few agencies that have received this award multiple times.
Today, the shelter continues their partnership with local veterinarians to ensure that all dogs and cats are spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter. The shelter has continued, annually, to improve the live release rates. Today, the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter operates 101 large dog kennels, 19 puppy and small dog kennels, and 18 cat kennels.
303 Palo Pinto St. Weatherford, TX 76086 Ph: 817-598-4000
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