SAN ANGELO, Texas — Concho Valley Homepage reporters went out to talk to Animal Services about their goals and initiatives for 2023 after looking back on 2022.

Assistant Director of Neighborhood and Family Services, Morgan Chegwidden told CVHP staff something Animal Services really struggled with last year was, “return to owner.”

“Statistics show that if I impound your pet within six months you’re just going to have a new dog,” said Chegwidden, “In six months I still may have your dog.”

In order to promote returning lost animals to their owners Animal Services is working on a program affectionately called, “No Naked Dogs.” This program is currently in the fundraising phase and was created to provide a collar and tag for every pet in the community.

When the program launches, the hope is to serve 500 pets in the community and each collar will come with a QR code tag.

“Your neighbor doesn’t have a microchip scanner,” said Chegwidden, “your neighbor can open their smartphones, scan that QR Code and say, ‘oh this is Ruffy and he lives two doors down, I’m gonna knock on their door.'”

At this time, the Animal Shelter can not house over 180 dogs at the shelter once. If intakes go over for whatever reason and the animals are not found new homes within a week, they will have to be euthanized.

To combat this, the shelter has begun a pilot program where it will shut down canine intakes before reaching maximum capacity. Chegwidden clarified intakes are closed only to “healthy, friendly dogs.” Despite closed intakes, Animal Services will still respond to injured dogs or dogs that pose a safety concern to themselves or others.

“When I say I’m full, I’m full of good dogs,” said Chegwidden.

2022 was a turbulent year for the Animal Shelter from a severe space crisis that lasted all year to an infestation of roaches.

Chegwidden said the most difficult aspects of 2022 were the unknown economic future, inflation, and overwhelming amounts of unplanned litters.

“One of the things we never could have predicted last year was the number of facility failures,” said Chegwidden.

Animal Services has asked the city for facility improvements, additional Animal Services Officers for the 2023 fiscal budget and a low-cost spay/neuter assistance program funded by the city.

“The wear and tear on this building has reached a level that it is a capital improvement. It’s not just a maintenance work order – it’s a significant investment that needs to be made to this building.”

The Animal Shelter is currently hiring shelter workers and one Animal Services Officer. They are looking for critical thinkers who are passionate about animal welfare and are willing to get dirty.

“We recognize that first and foremost we were created to keep this community safe…We think we can keep this community safe and save a good many cats and dogs,” Chegwidden said in closing.

To contact Animal Services:

Main: 325-657-4224
After-hours emergencies: 325-657-4315