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City Council Awards Paul Jolly Adoption Center Lease To Animal Defense League

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
The City's Paul Jolly Adoption Center has been managed by San Antonio Pets Alive! for three years but it will now be transferred to the Animal Defense League

The Animal Defense League will now run the city of San Antonio’s Paul Jolly Adoption Center following City Council approval Thursday in an 8-0 vote.  The decision leaves San Antonio Pets Alive! without a facility to adopt out pets, but gives The Animal Defense League the ability to adopt out more.

The lease awarded to the Animal Defense League is $1 per year for the 8,200 square-foot Paul Jolly Center. The same contract was previously given to San Antonio Pets Alive! which has rented the facility for the past three years to take animals out of the City’s Animal Care Services and prep them for adoption. Tommy McNish, chief operating officer for SAPA, says the decision was disappointing but it will not end the organization's mission.

“It impacts our ability to take a lot of the animals that we’ve been taking off of death row, off the euthanasia list,” he says.

McNish says SAPA will save about 3,000 animals fewer each year.  Financial stability was one of the city’s reasons for the switch.  Earlier this year Pets Alive was within a few weeks of closing before the city stepped in with about $300,000 as an emergency grant.  The city believes it will maintain its current 88 percent live release rate under the new contract with the Animal Defense League.  

"They are financially secure as an organization, as well as their plan that they provided as part of the proposal was one that complimented what Animal Care Services is trying to do in the overall mission of the agency,” says Heber Lefgren, the director of Animal Care Services. 

The Animal Defense League will be required to take 2,300 animals from ACS in the first year. The League’s Executive Director Janice Darling says that’s a conservative number.

“By taking in more animals from Animal Care Services we know we’re going to be encountering more animals that require extensive non-routine medical care," she says.

Last year the Animal Defense League adopted out 5000 animals. With requirement added they hope to reach 7300 this fiscal year. The Animal Defense League plans to be operational in the Paul Jolly Center by mid-November.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules