New Nacogdoches Animal Shelter Officially Opens

by Jessica Cervantez

It took years of hard work and dedication, but the City of Nacogdoches finally has a new animal shelter. One founder says she has waited 45 years for this day. The facility held its official grand opening.

Dozens of community members watched as the yellow ribbon was cut to open the doors of the animal shelter. This is a dream come true for co-founder Charlotte Montgomery and Andrena Hall Brunotte, whose mother was a founder of the Nacogdoches Humane Society back in 1959.

"My mother was really depressed before she died. She felt all the work she had done went down the drain, but now she would be so happy," said Brunotte.

As groups received tours, they were able to witness how spacious the new facility is and how much its needed.

"We can hold lots and lots of cats. Right now we don't have a lot, but this Spring we'll get a bunch... a whole bunch. So we're going to need all the space we can get," said Jamie Shelton, an animal shelter employee.

One of the unique features of the shelter is the way the dogs are kept separated. The big dogs are kept in kennels outside, while the puppies are kept in a room of their own.

"We have a lot of areas where there's isolation, where there's provisions made where we keep animals who are sick away from other animals," said Dr. James Wright, Texas Department of Health Zoonosis veterinarian.

And while all the animals want to go to good homes, it was a lucky day for at least one. Amanda Shoemake says pound puppies are the best.

"I've always had good experiences with pound puppies, it's almost like they know they are being saved," Shoemake said.

Animal shelter workers are grateful for the new facility. They say all they need now is to get the animals adopted.

And while it is a goal to get the animals adopted, another goal is to educate others and how to care for the animals. In an effort to educate, the Nacogdoches Humane Society and members of the Hispanic organization HACER spent all day Saturday rounding up abandoned dogs in the community of Briarforest. And while their efforts were good, the end results are not so promising.

A total of 22 dogs and puppies, and three cats were picked up. Many of the animals were stray. Almost all of them had mange and were very sick. Out of all of the animals, only one cat and one dog are now adoptable.

Members of the humane society say taking unhealthy animals off the streets will keep them away from children.

Controlling the pet population is an ongoing problem in East Texas. Veterinarians say the best solution is to get your animals spayed or neutered.

As the number of stray and abandoned animals grows each year, that means more and more of them have to be euthanized. In Angelina County alone, more than 4,000 dogs and cats were put down last year because there were no homes for them. That's why animal shelter managers urge you to get your pets spayed or neutered, especially female cats.

Sadly, most of the animals at the shelter will not be adopted and will have to be euthanized.

If you need help to get your animals spayed or neutered, there is a discount program at the Winnie Berry Animal Shelter in Lufkin. If your household income is less than $30,000 a year, you can get your pet fixed at a reduced cost. For more information, call the shelter at 936-639-1880.