ACS requests 14 new positions to decrease animal overpopulation, increase live release rates

San Antonio City Council will hear the plan in the fall

ACS is facing higher than normal surrenders, more stray animals, and staffing issues. It's requesting 14 new positions to help with animal overpopulation and increase live release rates.

SAN ANTONIO – Animal Care Services is facing higher than normal surrenders, more stray animals, and issues with staffing -- just some of the contributing problems adding to the increase in animal overpopulation in San Antonio.

Shannon Sims, the director of Animal Care Services, explained to the San Antonio City Council on Tuesday the many factors that are contributing to a lower-than-average live release rate. That includes the number of animals that find homes, are returned to owners, or are taken to another animal rescue facility.

Sims said several issues were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including about a 128% increase in evictions. That led families to give up their pets, as well as an increase in people surrendering their pets, and others who lost their pets don’t want them back.

Sims said his department has been working on a strategic plan to address how ACS does business. They have been distributing surveys, discussing ideas with private veterinarians and clinics, and trying to piece the plan. The city council will hear the plan in the fall, with a final vote expected next spring.

“Spay and neuter is going to address the problem of overpopulation period, which is absolutely going to help our live release rate,’ Sims said. “But I think it needs to be the key tenant that we base everything else on. Keeping that population down is going to be the solution to, you know, in the future, having too many animals in San Antonio, which leads to too many animals in homes, which leads to too many animals on the streets.”

So far, Sims is asking for 14 new positions for his department in the upcoming budget to address the problems now.

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