Volunteers are an integral part of the San Antonio-area community.
Volunteers can be vital to communities and can bring many positive aspects to a community.
It’s just that some volunteers don’t think they should be allowed to leave their homes on their own.
We asked volunteers from several San Antonio shelters to share their thoughts on this issue, as well as some ideas to improve the safety of our dogs.
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) recently issued a notice to all Texas shelters to ensure the safety and welfare of dogs in their care.
The notice requires shelter staff and volunteers to report to a designated officer for an inspection of their dogs’ health and welfare, and for each inspection, a written report of the results will be submitted to the TDA.
“We are constantly working with the TDSASD to improve our pet welfare practices and make sure our dogs are safe and happy, while maintaining the safety they need to be in our communities,” said Amy Rolfes, executive director of the Texas Department for Health and Human Services (THDHS).
“It’s important to keep the public informed and that there is always a trained, qualified person on duty at the shelter or pet boarding facility to ensure their pets are cared for and well cared for.”
The TDSAC is not currently issuing any citations for any of the shelters in the city of San Antonio.
However, TDSAs enforcement is focused on the area where dogs are kept, and it is a misdemeanor to leave your dog in a shelter or shelter-owned vehicle without permission.
TDSASH is working with TDA to identify more violations.
“This is the first time we’ve seen this type of notice,” said Laura Miller, director of TDSHS enforcement.
“We want people to know that it’s a violation and to report it to the shelter.”TDSAS’ TDA enforcement teams are constantly on the lookout for other shelter dogs, and can take any enforcement action they feel is necessary.
It is not uncommon for volunteers to have a litter of puppies in their car or truck when they return home from the shelter.TDSASH and its partners have also made an effort to improve their outreach and communication with shelter volunteers.
Volunteer training is provided at the beginning of the season, and shelters are encouraged to update their volunteer training guidelines to reflect the changing shelter environment.
“Volunteers are a vital part of our community and their safety is paramount,” Miller said.
“They are our most trusted community members.
If we can keep them safe, they will continue to provide great service for us.”
If you or anyone you know is concerned about a dog who is being left unattended at a shelter, call TDSash at (210) 723-5501.
They will provide information on the shelter and the shelter staff’s responsibilities.TDPAs staff will review all information submitted, and the TDFS will take appropriate action.