Enjoy all your local news and sports for less than 6¢ per day.

Subscribe Now

The Granite Shoals City Council signed off on a new $40,000 contract with the Hill Country Humane Society on Tuesday, May 14. The city and animal rescue were negotiating a new contract in December 2023 when talk of killing feral cats caused a rift between the two.

When the 2023 contract lapsed in November, the city did not immediately renew it. In December, an audio recording was released of Granite Shoals city staff and volunteers in a public meeting discussing how to trap and kill feral cats, leading to a massive public outcry. As a result, the Hill Country Humane Society publicly severed professional ties with the city.

Since December, Granite Shoals has been in negotiations with the Humane Society to mend that relationship. The city formed a Community Cat Advisory Committee in January and overhauled its animal control policy in March.

“We’re back under contract with the Hill Country Humane Society, and we’re very thrilled with that,” Mayor Ron Munos said at the council’s May 14 meeting. “They will be a great partner of ours.”

As per the contract, the city will pay $40,000 for services in fiscal year 2024. The fee will be split between a $30,000 charge for taking in up to 100 animals from the city per year and $10,000 to fund the Humane Society’s spay and neuter program. If the city does not reach its maximum allotment of 100 animals, up to 20 can be carried over into the next term of service.

Even without a contract, the Humane Society did take in animals from Granite Shoals on a case-by-case basis. A total of $13,250 was credited to the city for fees that had already been paid, reducing the current contract to $26,750 for the remainder of its term.

Granite Shoals Police Chief John Ortis was involved in the negotiations with the Humane Society as his department is responsible for enforcing animal control ordinances and managing stray animals. 

“Our number one goal is to work hand in hand with the Humane Society,” Ortis told “Yeah, we’re paying for a service, but we are going to do our due diligence.”

Ortis was one of the strongest voices in the aftermath of the controversial Wildlife Advisory Committee meeting that discussed how to control feral cats. He made a public statement at the time, condemning the discussion between former City Manager Peggy Smith and the committee, making it clear that his department supported and enforced humane animal policies.

“The health and safety of animals is a priority for the city of Granite Shoals,” he said.

While the city was without its Humane Society contract, Granite Shoals police officers had to process, care for, and transport dozens of stray animals, tasks outside the city’s budget and the department’s training.

“We weren’t budgeted for this, and it hit our department hard,” Ortis said. “The police department and the citizens are the ones that have suffered, but we have amped up our efforts.”

Ortis commended police department staff and volunteers, like councilors Michael Berg, Michael Pfister, and Brian Edwards, who helped the city cope with its stray animals over the past five months. He directed special thanks to Hill Country Humane Society Executive Director Paighton Corley for her guidance throughout the negotiations and her assistance with managing the city’s strays.

“My hat’s off to Ms. Corley,” he said. “I can’t thank her enough. Paighton has been a world of knowledge and assisted greatly with our (trap-neuter-release) programs.”

1 thought on “Granite Shoals inks new contract with Humane Society

  1. So many volunteers from Granite Shoals, surrounding communities, and even organizations from out of state, helped to develop programs to care for our stray animals. I’m grateful for the staff and volunteers at the Hill Country Humane Society, local veterinarians who offer their guidance and services, Hill Country Cats, James Tiemann at Lockhart Lionhearts, and PetPals (low cost spay and neuter services) to name a few. The boots on the ground volunteers that trap, neuter and release cats while also serving on the Granite Shoals Advisory Committee work tirelessly to reduce the animal overpopulation. Your efforts are very much appreciated. Thank you!

Comments are closed. moderates all comments. Comments with profanity, violent or discriminatory language, defamatory statements, or threats will not be allowed. The opinions and views expressed here are those of the person commenting and do not necessarily reflect the official position of or Victory Media Marketing.