The La Vernia News Pet Parade is more than an opportunity to “put on the dog” -- or the cat, as the case may be.
It’s an opportunity to help raise funds for the Wilson County No Kill Animal Shelter.
The county currently has no animal shelter at all, but a group of people -- who have been involved in rescuing dogs and cats for years -- are working to change that.
Alena Berlanga, who heads the group, said she and her friends want not only to stop dogs and cats from running wild, but also to care for them until they can be placed with people who will take care of them the rest of their lives.
She said the idea for a no-kill animal shelter grew from comments shared on her Facebook page about a year and a half ago.
“We agreed we need a facility to do the right thing,” she said, explaining that the right thing means to save as many dogs and cats as possible.
She and her friends formed an organization and set up committees. They set up a website at wcnkas.org and a Facebook page and obtained official nonprofit status for the Wilson County No Kill Animal Shelter early last year.
They held their first major fundraiser, Fido Fest 2016, last October. Last Saturday, they held “Mutt Strut” in the Helton San Antonio Nature Park near Floresville.
The first goal for funds raised is to purchase or lease 2.5 to 5 acres of property.
“As soon as we have the property, we’ll start small,” Berlanga said.
The facility will provide a temporary home for stray dogs and cats and will be managed and maintained by individual volunteers, as well as volunteers from other area animal-rescue groups.
Berlanga notes that a no-kill shelter means a “live release” rate of about 95 percent. Not all animals can be saved. Some animals have health conditions or behavioral problems and can’t be adopted out, but “they will not be euthanized for lack of space,” she said.
As the facility grows, it can provide other animal-care services, too. When funding allows, Berlanga would like the Wilson County No Kill Animal Shelter to sponsor free or low-cost spay and neuter clinics, provide “indigent help” for owners of injured pets, and offer programs to educate children about responsible pet ownership.
“This has to be a countywide effort,” she said.
View the La Vernia News Pet Parade contestants on page 4.
Cast your votes -- $1 each -- through Friday, April 21, at the La Vernia News office on Chihuahua Street.
Or meet the contestants and cast your votes this Saturday in the La Vernia City Park!