Animal Control Shelter Moving To Winona Barn

Big changes are ahead for Smith County animal control we told you last month about the Humane Society of East Texas ending their contract with Smith County. In less than two weeks, on February 29th, they will no longer accept animals smith county captures. Monday the commissioners court decided that temporary housing, in a barn, is their only option.

A barn in Winona off FM 3311 is now being used for the road and bridge department storage, but cleanup is on the way to house stray animals.

"I think this is going to be at least a one year temporary solution for the county," said Smith County Judge Joel Baker.

The barn is a temporary solution because there were no other options. The county spoke to other shelter's, but couldn't find room anywhere.

"We anticipate we need space for 50 to 60 dogs at one time," said Judge Baker.

Since taking over last October, Smith County Sheriff's officers say the animals they are picking up, are not usually the kind the humane society wants.

"Vicious animals that is chasing livestock, that is causing problem for neighborhood, that people feel unsafe with them," said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith, "And so those are the kinds we are mostly dealing with."

In January 148 dogs were picked up and 11 cats, and of those 106 dogs and 8 cats had to be put down, 8 dogs were re-claimed, 25 dogs adopted and 2 cats. The rest are still at the shelter.

"This is an example of what prisoner's can build," said Sheriff Smith.

He says trustee's built the kennels for dogs at the low risk facility, and they can also help transform the winona barn

"Construction won't be that complicated I don't think as long as we have the proper equipment," said Smith.

"We are going to have to buy kennels and buy things necessary to move forward with the temporary shelter until we come up with a long term solution like a regional shelter," said Baker.

So until that regional shelter is built, the county has a lot of cleaning up to do.

The county plans on sending some of their animal control officers to school to learn how to put the animals down, and in the meantime some local vet's have offered to help with the euthinazas. Now Judge Baker says he hopes the long term solution will be a group effort with other municipalities like the City of Tyler.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.