NEW BRAUNFELS -

The only animal shelter serving Comal county is about to get a major upgrade.

The New Braunfels Humane Society is building a brand new shelter to replace the one they've been in for the past 33 years.

"This building is falling down," said Billie Zercher, Executive Director for the Humane Society. "It is old and it is inadequate."

Zercher isn't over-exaggerating the current state of the facility. Built in 1979, it has served as the only animal shelter in the county. The "no kill" shelter takes in strays from the public, as well as the city of New Braunfels and Comal county animal control offices.

"We do not have a set time on how long we hold onto the animals," Zercher said. "We've had animals here 3,4,5 months at a time. We don't have enough space to house the animals that we take into this facility."

The 5,600 square foot facility only has 34 dog kennels and 38 cat kennels. They are at capacity year-round.

The current facility is so overcrowded, they can't even fit all the adoptable cats into one room. They have to use a storage room to house all the kittens at this time of the year.

But that's about to change.

The new facility will be big enough to let everyone spread out.

"The new facility that we're moving to will be double in size," Zercher said. "It's looking at 11,000 square feet with 64 dog kennels and double the space, if not triple the space, for cats. The cats will actually have a play area to be able to play in."

Zercher said a sizable gift from a donor helped them purchase a 16 acre tract of land where the new shelter is already under construction.

This week, the City of New Braunfels pitched in $500,000 to cover the costs of new office space and a new 10 year contract with the shelter to house the city's strays.

The new facility will be more people- and animal-friendly.

"We're going to have an indoor play area for the dogs, so if it’s 100 degrees outside or if it’s 30 degrees outside, the dogs can still get exercise," Zercher said. "We probably won't have problems filling it up, but I hope they get adopted out a whole lot faster."