Killeen: Animal shelter still struggles to keep up

Killeen's animal shelter is still struggling to keep up with the number of animals coming in. (Photo by Chelsea Edwards)
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) The shift in responsibility for operation of Killeen’s animal shelter from the police department to the parks and recreation department should have made it better for the animals in the facility, but the road continues to be rough.

The change was made in April and five months later the shelter is still struggling to keep up with the number of animals coming in.

Parks and Recreation Department Executive Director Joe Brown points to staffing.

The city is seeking an animal services supervisor, and the animal services manager position was filled for just four months before that hire moved on.

In an Aug. 13 council meeting, Brown added that more animal control officers are also needed, and ones on staff are consistently in overtime and overworked.

KWTX took a tour of the Harker Heights animal shelter which made its transition from operating under the police department to city management five years ago.

“Having the manager position they did not have before helps them out,” says Pet Adoption Center Manager Jessica Dunagan.

“It’s like boots on the ground,” she says.

The Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center was commended by Brown for its cleanliness- something Killeen got dinged on in its last two inspections.

In both February and July, the Killeen shelter received mark-downs for feces in many of the cages and inspectors noted a lack of regular cleanings and standard operation procedures.

Down the road, the Copperas Cove animal shelter markets regular free adoption days to keep capacity low.

“A lot of the businesses here in Cove sponsors them,” says Senior Animal Control Officer David Wellington. The adoption days are typically held for two days on weekends.

“So far we got out 865 animals within those 60 days."

Killeen says it plans to incorporate strategies from nearby cities with $78,000 that was added to the Animal Services budget.

Spokesperson Hilary Shine adds, "All operations are being examined for improvements. When hired, the new manager will play an important role in establishing procedures and standards. "

Meanwhile the shelter’s canines and felines are betting their lives on new hires getting them out of cages and into homes.