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East Texas suffers from a domesticated animal overpopulation problem. This problem results in a lot of stray animals running free in the county with county personnel being sent out to pick up these stray and abandoned animals and bring them back to the shelter. Had the original owner taken the proactive measure to have their canine or feline spayed or neutered this problem would not be as large as it is right now.

With so many dogs and cats at the shelter needing to be adopted, Smith County Commissioners approved some new changes to how Smith County Animal Control & Shelter will soon be operated with hopes of more animals being adopted out to loving homes.

Major changes are being made to Smith County Animal Control & Shelter's operating hours.

The shelter will no longer be closed for a lunch hour and will add an hour to their weekday operations and will now be open continuously Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m - 6 p.m. and offering Saturday hours from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Adoptions will take place weekdays from 12 noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Public drop-off and owner surrender rules are changing.

The public may drop off strays on weekdays from 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and owner surrenders will happen by appointment only and will be charged a fee on a case-by-case basis. Owners wishing to surrender a pet will now have to pay a fee based on the dog's health, age, and vetting as long as the shelter is below 80% capacity.

Adoption fees will be required but will come with a benefit.

A major change will be the addition of an adoption fee of $75 per adoption which will come with a voucher for the animal to be spayed or neutered, which is a requirement within 30 days of adoption, and rabies vaccination.

Some of these changes were met with opposition by members of the commissioner's court stating, making 'the changes could increase the number of dogs taken in by the shelter and urged dog owners to take responsibility to spay and neuter their pets.' (Smith County via Facebook)

During the meeting, Cary Nix, Commissioner Precinct 2, believes with the implementation of the adoption fees will negatively impact the shelters' adoption rate. KETK, reports that during the meeting Nix said, "You have free adoptions now and you can’t adopt them. What makes you think when you go to start charging $75 that they’re all of a sudden going to start adopting dogs out. There’s some issues here that we have.”

At the end of the meeting, County Judge Nathaniel Moran said, "This is a work in progress no doubt."

If all animal owners would do the proper thing and spay and neuter their pets, the domesticated animal overpopulation in East Texas would be greatly reduced. The SNIPPET Spay/Neuter Clinic in Tyler offers this service as well as many Tyler vets.

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