KIRBY, Texas – Tim Bolda said his first hire as city manager of Kirby was to hire away Christie Banduch from the neighboring town of Schertz, where she also was an animal control officer.
However, Bolda said the lure wasn't money, but rather the chance to actually run the Kirby Animal Shelter as its only full-time employee.
"It was a challenge, a big challenge," Banduch said.
But her boss said Banduch was up to the task laid out by those on the city council who are devoted animal lovers.
"She's always two steps ahead of you," Bolda said.
Perhaps it is because Banduch has been helping save homeless animals for the past decade -- starting at the shelter in New Braunfels.
"My mother worked there," Banduch said. "So I pretty much was born into this and here I've been ever since."
Since she came on board about a year ago, the Kirby Animal Shelter is virtually no-kill.
Banduch said only those that are too injured, ill or aggressive have had to be put down.
She said out of 900 animals, none were euthanized due to avoid overcrowding.
"I don't know if it's luck or divine intervention or what it's been, but we've managed to place everybody," Banduch said.
Banduch said she made the most of her longtime relationships with dozens of animal rescue groups.
"If it wasn't for them, we couldn't do it," Banduch said.
She said networks with them online and by making phone call after phone call.
"It's been by the seat of our pants, when we're just calling, waving the white flag," Banduch said.
As it is, Banduch said the shelter takes in about 100 dogs and cats every month.
Were it not for Banduch's efforts, the city manager said, "We'd probably be ignoring the situation like we were in the past and just controlling strays."
Banduch said she is focused on adoptions, low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics, community outreach and recruiting foster homes for the animals.
"It's a lot for one person in such a small city," Banduch said.
Bolda said if all goes as hoped, Banduch may have a full-time technician in next year's budget.
Banduch said the biggest problem is finding the Kirby Animal Shelter at 5503 Duffek Dr. off of Ackerman Road, near the Public Works building, at the end of a cul-de-sac.
She said anyone wanting to adopt or foster a pet, or with donations to offer, can call 210-661-8515.