CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
BUCHANAN DAM — Officials from Burnet and Llano counties came to the rescue of the Christ-Yoder Animal Shelter, which faced closure because of lack of volunteer and financial support.
The shelter, 9150 RR 1431, relies on funding from the communities with which it contracts as well as donations and fees from adoption/owner surrenders and reclaims.
Llano County contracts with the shelter for about $45,000 a year. Burnet County and the city of Burnet each contribute about $31,000 a year. Other communities that contract with the facility with smaller contributions due to smaller populations are Bertram, Horseshoe Bay and Sunrise Beach.
The facility had been scheduled to close in September; however, officials from both counties took the lead to find ways to keep the doors open and re-organize the all-volunteer board of the nonprofit, privately run center.
“There’s a consensus that we need to put some new board members in place. We’ve gotten the financials we were asking for, and things look to be fairly solid from a financial standpoint, and it looks very doable,” Llano County Judge Mary Cunningham said. “My understanding is there is a plan in the next several weeks to get some new board members appointed on a temporary basis, and then they will re-appoint right before the new fiscal year with the ones who are willing to take this on long term.”
At the time of the closure announcement, Llano County officials requested the financial assessment of the facility’s approximate $220,000 annual budget and that Burnet County officials participate in a remedy.
“We have spoken with (Christ-Yoder board members) at length. Linda Raschke, who is the commissioner for that precinct where it’s located, has been working closely with them,” Cunningham said. “(Burnet County) Judge James Oakley and I have also worked with her along with several of the commissioners from Burnet County, and we’ve looked at the law governing these types of endeavors.”
County officials recommended additional board members.
“There will be a board member that will be a commissioner from Burnet and Llano counties who will be on the board,” she said. “They are attempting to also get someone on the board who is a lawyer and a veterinarian. So there will be ample opportunities to give them advice and ensure this is a solid endeavor going forward.”
Christ-Yoder provides services such as reduced-cost microchipping and registration, low-cost vaccination clinics, foster home care and an adopt-a-classroom program.
The adoption center is operated by the Hill Country Humane Society/SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
“(The facility is) necessary because of the number of stray animals we have in this county with the large amount of ranch land in this county,” Cunningham said. “There’s a huge amount of feral cats, which get infected with rabies. We have a huge rabies problem, so a facility like this is absolutely necessary to have and to keep.”
Municipalities rely on the shelter as a cost-effective means of animal control.
“Most of the municipalities in these two counties use this facility,” she said. “Obviously, if each municipality had to fund their own facility, it would be a burden on the taxpayer.”
As the facility remains open, the counties are expected to take an active role in its oversight.
“The people won’t really see a major change at all. If anything, we can just continue to work on improving the facility and improving the participation with the communities,” Cunningham said. “Hopefully, it’s going to be concluded here, and, going into the new fiscal year, things are going to be solid and it will continue to operate and do the job that it’s been doing for Llano and Burnet counties.”
For more information about the facility, go to christ-yoder.org.