He was talking about the changes made over the last few months at the Beeville Animal Shelter on Cook Road.
“And we’re not done by a long shot,” Valdez said.
Since he took over at the shelter, Valdez has brought the property and the facility into the 21st century, with more volunteers, a Facebook site to encourage animal adoptions and a greater observance of ordinances requiring that pets be vaccinated and kept on leashes and in fenced yards.
“People just don’t realize how much this place has changed,” Valdez said.
The most visible addition is the new office building on the east side of the compound. A new handicapped ramp built recently by City Parks Department employees Mel Ybarra and Abel Garcia, with a new gate in the fence, has made that addition stand out like never before.
With the addition of the Facebook site, interest in the effort to save the lives of unwanted animals has grown.
“We have more volunteers than we’ve ever had,” Valdez said. That includes a number of teens who spend quality time with the animals helping to keep them fed and healthy.
Valdez said donations to the shelter have also increased along with the number of adoptions.
Earlier this week the shelter had young puppies anyone would be proud to take home.
There have also been huge changes in the kennels where the animals are kept. The building has a new roof, and the kennels have been painted.
“All the dogs have beds,” Valdez said. And every kennel space is equipped with stainless steel water and food bowls that are raised up off the floor.
Valdez has two special kennel spaces down on one end of the building that are there especially for animals that are being quarantined for rabies observation.
That does not mean the animals in those cages have the dreaded disease. But it gives the shelter a place to keep strays that have been picked up so the staff can make sure the animals are not infected before they are allowed to mingle with the others.
Valdez also has a new employee at the facility. David Reilly takes the job seriously.
He and Valdez both said pet owners need to have proof that their animals have been vaccinated.
If a pet is picked up by the staff, the owner must show proof of up-to-date rabies vaccinations or face a misdemeanor charge in municipal court.
Valdez said that means more than just having a tag on the pet’s collar. The owner must have a written document from a veterinarian proving that the animal’s vaccination is up to date.
Few things are as important for a pet as keeping them from running loose.
There are local ordinance and state laws against allowing dogs to run free for multiple reasons.
Dogs that are not properly supervised can get hurt or killed in traffic or they can end up in a situation that results in someone being bitten.
It is important for pet owners to socialize their animals as much as possible. That includes keeping them clean and free of fleas and ticks.
It is also important to have animals spayed and neutered to prevent having unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.
Both men welcome more volunteers at the shelter. Working conditions at the facility have never been better.
Valdez and Reilly cannot think of a better way for someone to donate spare time than by helping animals.
In cases where the staff is unable to find a home for its animals, Valdez said they arrange transfers to other facilities to improve the chances of the animals being adopted.
These days the shelter staff makes every effort to find good, responsible homes for the animals who end up there.
“I encourage the public to follow our Facebook page as I try to update it as much as possible,” Valdez said.
“I post available animals and helpful information,” the officer said. “I also don’t mind meeting someone on the weekend if they message us and agree on a time if they want to adopt. If David or I can adopt one on a weekend, it’s worth it to give that animal a second chance.”
Valdez invites everyone to check out the shelter’s Facebook site at City of Beeville Animal Shelter.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.