Conditions Still Bad At WCRAS

Posted in Animal Shelter, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 12:08 am by wcnews

From this AAS article today, Shelter struggles with disease, turnover, we learn that there are still major problems at the Williamson County Animal Shelter.

Cedar Park City Council Member Cobby Caputo said he has questioned the shelter’s size and staffing from the beginning.

“I just have the sense that there’s not enough staff there,” he said at the council’s meeting Thursday, later questioning why the interim director is charged with hiring staff members on top of her other duties. “Why isn’t (the county’s human resources department) filling those positions?”

And at least one shelter employee raised concerns about the potential spread of disease. Kathy Abdella, a veterinary technician and staff supervisor at the shelter, said conditions were so bad Thursday that the only solution is to close the shelter for several days, monitor illness and consider a mass euthanization, if necessary.

There are no plans to take such measures, county officials said.

“We have no intention of shutting the shelter down,” said Commissioner Valerie Covey, the county’s representative on the shelter board.

The shelter has temporarily closed on Thursdays to train new workers.

Abdella said she found several highly contagious animals when she reported to work Thursday after two weeks of medical leave.

As soon as she entered the building, she said, she could smell parvovirus, a highly contagious malady that attacks an animal’s digestive system. Abdella said she found one dog in the isolation area that was suffering from parvo but wasn’t being treated. Abdella said other dogs in the hallway had “kennel cough,” a highly contagious upper respiratory illness.

Interim director Dana Boehm confirmed that two dogs with parvo were euthanized and said that potentially infected dogs were isolated and tested negative for the disease.

On Friday afternoon, most animals were clean, had food and water, and appeared healthy during a visit by the American-Statesman. However, in the adoption areas, one dog was coughing heavily and two others were panting and shaking, despite the air-conditioned room. The isolation area was not available for examination, the staff said, to prevent the spread of disease.

The towns - Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander and Hutto - that got suckered are involved in this deal are not happy either.


City Council Meetings Tonight, Cedar Park and Round Rock

Posted in Animal Shelter, Williamson County at 4:21 pm by wcnews

The WCRAS will be a hot topic I’m sure, more information at Shelter Concerns:



THURSDAY, July 12, 2007, AT 6:30 P.M.


The Regional Shelter is on the agenda. PLEASE be there to show your support for change. People will be allowed to address the Council.


City OF Round Rock

Regular Schedules City Council Meeting

THURSDAY, July 12, 2007, AT 7:00 P.M.

City hall 221 E. main street round rock

PEOPLE will be allowed to address the council during citizens communications at 7 pm and will have 3 minutes to speak.

UPDATE: the board has been working on a report on the first three months of operations that will be presented

for the first time to the Round Rock City Council by Board President Lt. Bob Drawbaugh on Thursday, July 12.


News 8’s Coverage Of The Disaster At The WCRAS

Posted in Animal Shelter, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 4:47 pm by wcnews

News 8’s Chelsea Hover is doing a great job covering this issue. Could there have been a cover-up of the problems at the animal shelter? It’s starting to look that way.

Here is her first report from Monday, Wilco animal shelter struggling with animals, staffing, to get you up to speed. But from today’s article we hear again of people being threatened and told not to “speak ill” of the animal shelter, Wilco animal shelter problems came with warning.

But many say they saw this coming.

It’s a regional shelter, meaning shelters in Round Rock, Hutto, Leander and Cedar Park closed their doors the day it opened.

“We were told once the animals were gone from here it was no longer the city’s problem. We were told not to speak ill of the project or we could potentially be terminated,” Stacey Sherva, former director of the Cedar Park Animal Control Shelter, said.

Sherva was the director of the Cedar Park Animal Control center for eight and a half years. She resigned the day she learned they would be forced to transfer their rescues to the regional shelter.

She and a group of other animal advocates went to their city leaders, pleading with them to reconsider.

“We tried to show them, with documents, that that facility was being built too small. We tried to convince them with the numbers that we had, and Round Rock had, and Leander had that 45 kennels on their first draft was going to be completely inadequate,” Sherva said.

“They did seek input from other entities, and were tyring to get that input to use the best available data that they had,” Williamson County public information officer Connie Watson said.

The county was told of problems before the shelter opened and they did nothing. Then they threatened the people that told them of the problems. That’s not good, but that is what Republicans do. If you’ll remember the first shelter director that she was told not to talk to anyone about the problems either. From Melanie Sobel’s letter:

I was then called by Commissioner Boatright to meet with him at his office where he advised me not to say anything negative about the project to the other city representatives on the committee.

That’s just how our unaccountable elected officials think democracy works in Williamson County. Then we’re told of the non-responsiveness, we’ve all become so accustomed to in Williamson County, by the unaccountable Republicans that run it.

Although many of the county commissioners have claimed to be animal-lovers, those who are dedicating their waking hours to fighting this cause on behalf of these animals, like Moses, said they find that hard to believe.

“I know I’ve written to them, others have written to them, gone to meetings. However, for them, it seems it always goes back to…the money,” Moses said.

News 8 obtained a copy of the shelter’s newly approved budget and it shows that only nine percent of total expenditures are for animal care and medication.

The most significant expenses are staff salaries and euthanasia services.

While the former Cedar Park shelter boasted a kill rate of just 8.9 percent of all animals, the regional facility reports a 34 percent kill rate of just adoptable animals. That means that animals deemed unadoptable are not factored in to that number.

Maybe if there was a check with those letters they would have gotten an answer. From this reporting the story is starting to change from willful ignorance to the possibility of a cover-up of a project that our county leaders know had gone bad and did nothing to correct. The only way to get their attention is to vote them out, let us begin.


More On The Animal Shelter (WCRAS) And Our County Commissioners

Posted in Animal Shelter, Take Action, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 12:00 am by wcnews

They’re hiring, no surprise there.

But from the comments to EOW’s earlier post on the shelter it’s recommended everyone check out this site, Shelter Concerns. Also be sure and check out the blog and especially these two posts on the commissioners court meetings (here and here).

We went inside the courtroom at 9:30 am. The Commissioners were friendly with each person who addressed them. They were even laughing about planting some bushes and helping water them. When it came to agenda item #36 I made eye contact with County Judge Dan Gattis and nodded my head that I would like to speak. He immediately allowed a man from Hutto to speak who showered the Commissioners with praise. He added a few comments at the end. Then Judge Gattis immediately went to item #37 on the agenda. I raised my hand to speak and he would not acknowledge me. I then stood up and said that I wanted to speak on the shelter. He said they had moved on and I had lost my turn. I stated that I came to address the Commissioners and waited until the man from Hutto was done speaking. Judge Gattis begrudgingly allowed me three minutes.

While I spoke to the Commissioners, Ms. Birkman appeared to be nodding off. The Commissioners’ body language spoke volumes. I found their tone and demeanor to be rude and quite unprofessional. I was really taken aback by their reactions to the problems at the shelter. Unlike every other person who addressed them that morning I was cut off after speaking for three minutes.

Ms. Birkman proceeded to ask me a question and Judge Gattis instantly cut her off and said they were moving on. Ms. Birkman again attempted to ask me a question and Judge Gattis said “no, not right now.” Lisa Rogowski wanted to speak next and Judge Gattis would not permit any further discussion or statements on the shelter.

Well we know what this court has done with women and children, therefore it really should be no surprise the way they’re treating animals. Or as an email EOW received said:

This pathetic, shameful event should make citizens aware. In God’s name the Commissioners can’t even run an animal shelter. How can we expect them to run Williamson County. AMAZING!!

Not amazing, just how our county officials run our county, that’s all. It’s time for these people to go, they’ve done enough. The only way to “wake up” our court is to vote some of them out. Be sure and give them a call or send them an email letting them know how you feel.

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