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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

San Antonio, TX

San Antonio is a fast-growing city in south-central Texas with a population of 1.3 million people.  It is the county seat of Bexar County. Greater San Antonio has a population of over 2.2 million people.

In 2006, San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) had a live release rate of only 10%. At that time, the shelter put forth a strategic plan to achieve live release of all adoptable animals by 2012. The shelter failed to reach the goal, however, and in September of 2011 it put forth a new strategic plan in which it acknowledged that its live release rate was only 31%.

The 2011 strategic plan identified three elements as “critical” to achieving a high live release rate: (1) a strong licensing program, (2) spay/neuter partnerships, and (3) high-volume rescue partnerships. The report noted that San Antonio “has existing strong spay/neuter partnerships, and has simplified the licensing program within the past year.” As to the third element, the report stated that the city “is challenging the animal welfare community to take on an additional 6,000 animals annually from ACS shelters.”

There have been many changes since the 2011 plan was released. Early in 2012, the city announced that Austin Pets Alive!, which had been helping ACS, was ready to partner with the city of San Antonio through a new organization, San Antonio Pets Alive!. The San Antonio Humane Society took in over 2000 pets from ACS in 2012, as well as accepting animals directly from the public. Late in 2012, ACS welcomed a new director, Kathy Davis. The city announced an agreement with another non-profit, the Animal Defense League of Texas, which manages a 2.2 million dollar shelter built by the city. In 2013, San Antonio gave up handling animal control and sheltering for the unincorporated parts of Bexar County. The No Kill city of Kirby may partner with Bexar County to construct and manage a new shelter.

San Antonio recently announced that for the year 2014, ACS had an 84% live release rate. The shelter’s live release rate for cats is 92%, and only adult dogs are still under 90%. ACS has joined the Million Cat Challenge, and Davis said that San Antonio was proud to be a part of the Challenge as a city that had gotten to No Kill status for cats. If the current rate of improvement continues, San Antonio’s overall live release rate could go above 90% in 2015.

San Antonio is counted in the blog’s Running Totals as an 80-90% community.



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