WilCo Regional Animal Shelter expands to keep pace with area's growth

    Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. (CBS Austin)

    As I walk up to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter's new extension, an excited dog collides with a volunteer's legs in the new exercise yard for dogs. The black and white pup pauses to consider, then wags his tail and looks up at the volunteer. He's just one of the first animals in like in the shelter's new two-story, 16,970 square foot extension.

    A ribbon-cutting in front of the new building Thursday made the opening official. Inside though, dozens of animals are waiting for adoption, and that number is expected to rise along with the county's human population. "Williamson County has been steadily growing," said shelter spokeswoman Misty Valenta. "We need to grow with the county. We need to be able to serve the people and the cats and the dogs who are entering our community."

    The extension is an add-on to the old animal shelter, which was renovated. It cost just under $9.5 million. But even with all this new space, it's just a matter of time before its full, as other local animal shelters know. "We did contact the Austin shelter to learn from them about when they built a new shelter, what were some of the things that worked and what didn't," Valenta said.

    "Space will continue to be a problem, but for the moment it's nice to have a shelter that operates the way it's supposed to," said executive director Cheryl Schneider. "We and the animals we care for are blessed to live in this great community."

    The new shelter is next door to the old one at 1855 South East Loop in Georgetown, and there are animals available to adopt and foster right now.

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