Christ-Yoder Animal Shelter gets second chance at life

DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR

BUCHANAN DAM — Last September, officials with the Hill Country Humane Society feared they would have to close down the Christ-Yoder Animal Shelter and Adoption Center by the end of this coming September without an influx of donations and support.

Now, with a new board of directors and a new vision, the Hill Country Humane Society plans on doing everything within its power to keep the shelter open.

“This is something this community definitely needs,” board president Jim Long said. “We have some work to do, but we wanted everybody to know that we’re here and we’re committed to keeping the shelter open.”

Long and six others make up the new board. He said this board brings a level of business, professional and organizational experience the previous board might have lacked, though its members had a passion for helping area dogs and cats.

The Christ-Yoder Animal Shelter and Adoption Center serves as a place residents of Llano and Burnet counties can both surrender pets and adopt them. It also is the shelter for several local municipalities as well as Burnet and Llano counties. Without it, many county and city animal control units would lack a place to drop off homeless, stray or unwanted dogs and cats.

Despite the struggles over the past several years, Long said the issues facing the shelter can be reversed.

“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “I think with the plan we have in place, it’s completely doable.”

Along with Long, the board includes vice president and veterinarian Dan McBride, secretary/treasurer Mario Solorio and board members Linda Raschke, Russell Graeter, Lynn Bishop and Debi Goldstein-Carlson.

Raschke is a Llano County commissioner, and Graeter is a Burnet County commissioner. McBride is a longtime area veterinarian with an extensive knowledge of treating animals. Solorio is a retired legal counselor, while Bishop and Goldstein-Carlson are animal welfare advocates. Long is a retired business executive.

“We have some great people on this board with plenty of experience on running businesses or organizations,” Long said.

One of the first things the new board plans to tackle is addressing the facility’s needs. During an inspection in March, state officials failed the facility because of a number of violations. The state could close down the shelter if those problems aren’t addressed by the next inspection, possibly in March 2016 or sooner.

“We have to raise enough funds to take care of the improvements,” Long said. “We want to get those done in the next 90 days.”

Beyond that, the board is reaching out to members and donors to let them know what the Hill Country Humane Society wants to accomplish with the shelter. It also means reinvigorating the current membership as well as getting new members.

The board is also looking for a new cadre of volunteers to help staff the shelter. The current group of volunteers has agreed to stay on for a few more weeks, but Long said he hopes to enlist more people to help.

“Our volunteers have worked so hard and are amazing, but they’re tired, so we need more volunteers,” he said. “We also need to hire an office manager/bookkeeper.”

The shelter, 9150 RR 1431 in Buchanan Dam, has taken in more than 38,000 animals since opening in 2000.

With the city and county contracts expiring at the end of September, the Hill Country Humane Society board is currently renegotiating those contracts. Long believes the entities, which include the cities of Bertram, Burnet, Granite Shoals, Sunrise Beach, Horseshoe Bay as well as Burnet and Llano counties, remain supportive of the shelter.

While those contracts cover a major portion of the facility’s budget, other income is derived from donations and surrender and adoption fees.

Long and the rest of the new board are hoping to jumpstart donations over the next several months to help pay for improvements to the building itself. While the next regular state inspection isn’t until March (though some “no-notice” inspections could occur), Long believes the next several months are the most critical.

“We’re really focused on getting as much done in the next several months as possible. Right now, we need to fix what needs to be fixed,” he said. “But we want people to know that we have a vision for the future. And we, the board, are committed to it.”

People interested in helping the Hill Country Humane Society’s shelter and adoption center can mail donations to: Hill Country Humane Society, P.O. Box 1041, Marble Falls, TX 78654.

Email Long at jimlonghsb@gmail.com for more information about the shelter and how you can get involved.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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