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Animal Care Services Strategic Plan making early impacts

Published on February 12, 2024

City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department   

The plan outlines initiatives for safer neighborhoods amid increased patrols and pet resources

SAN ANTONIO (February 12, 2024) – Safer neighborhoods start with collaboration between the community and San Antonio Animal Care Services (SAACS). That is why the City department’s Strategic Plan includes a core priority to “support a safe community for the people in their neighborhoods.” One of several focus areas detailed in the transformative document, the objective promotes public safety through two goals:

  • Empower people to feel safe from animals while walking and playing in their neighborhoods and
  • Advance a comprehensive system to positively impact community accountability  

In support of those priorities, SAACS has brought on close to twenty additional Animal Care Officersin the first months of fiscal year 2024. Another group of cadets is slated to attend the department’s comprehensive training academy by the end of February. Upon graduation, the new officers will join first responder and investigative teams who have issued more than 2,300 citations since the beginning of the current fiscal year. Sixty-two dogs have been declared Dangerous or Aggressive in the same timeframe and close to 11,000 animals have been brought into the shelterduring that same period. Of those animals, 2,369 have been lost pets returned to their owners through SAACS efforts.

SAACS has also added resources for the Community Animal Support and Assistance team (CASA), which identifies and assists pet owners in need through an internal referral system. Since the team’s inception in the summer of 2022, CASA has helped 3,700 at-risk pets stay with their familiesafter they were in danger of being surrendereddue to a lack of resources or education. They have also encouraged compliance with the distribution of nearly 6,000 tangible resources to local pet guardians.

Understanding the connection between unsterilized pets, roaming animals, and public safety, SAACS is also opening two additional affordable spay-neuter clinics in the community this year. Currently, SAACS supports five partner veterinary clinics throughout the city. Placement of the new facilities will be guided by a San Antonio “veterinary desert” map which details underserved areas; budget funding to support more community pet sterilization opportunities has increased to more than 1.6 million dollars annually.

The comprehensive City-sanctioned plan which balances animal care andcontrol is available for review at: SAACS.info/StrategicPlan.