San Antonio Pets Alive to continue operations with city funding

City Council vote to give nonprofit $375,000

SAN ANTONIO – The no-kill adoption organization San Antonio Pets Alive will get a $375,000 bailout from the city.

The San Antonio City Council voted unanimously Thursday to give SAPA the money. Council members Ray Lopez and Cris Medina were not present for the vote. The emergency funding will allow the struggling organization to keep its doors open.

"We were literally one payroll away from having to go away," Chief Operating Officer Tommy McNish said.

McNish said the nonprofit didn't have enough focus on fundraising. It's trying to fix that now, he said, with plans to engage more corporate donors and work on national level relationships in the animal welfare world.

"This emergency funding from the city essentially gives us the runway and the time that we needed to formalize all of those relationships," McNish said.

Given the thousands of animals SAPA takes off the city's euthanasia list and finds homes for, District 4 Councilman Rey Saldana said there would have been a big hole had SAPA disappeared.

"SAPA is the only organization big enough to do the work that is up to the task that we have," Saldana said.

So SAPA will stay open with the city's help, for now. The money comes with conditions, including having to reapply to run the city-owned adoption center.

That means another organization could potentially take over the Paul Jolly Center for Animal Adoption, though McNish was confident his group would retain the spot.

SAPA also needs to find a new CEO within 60 days, give the city a seat on the SAPA board and come up with $150,000 itself.

McNish said SAPA has already received a $125,000 grant, and he believes the organization should be able to come up with the other $25,000 within 30-45 days.

Click here to read more about other items the City Council discussed Thursday.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.