UTSA, students, city leaders team up to curtail shelter animal problem

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No-kill goal: finding homes for 70 percent of shelter animals

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(Nov. 1, 2010)--Nine UTSA graduate students and more than 100 local high school students are joining forces to help the city of San Antonio reach its 2012 no-kill goal.

The "Learn from Each Other and Serve San Antonio: No-Kill Project" will begin with a kickoff summit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 1 in the Durango Building Southwest Room (1.124) on the UTSA Downtown Campus. Former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger will open the summit with a discussion at 9:15 a.m. The event is hosted by the Center for Policy Studies in the UTSA College of Public Policy.

Service dogs, adopted pets and their owners as well as a dog show will be featured. UTSA graduate students also will share visual presentations about their experiences working at local animal shelters.

The summit unites UTSA graduate students, high school students, city leaders and representatives from various agencies to brainstorm ways San Antonio can meet its 2012 goal of finding homes for at least 70 percent of its shelter animals. The effort is part of the city's "no-kill" mission that began in 2006 when Hardberger, mayor of San Antonio at the time, and the city council challenged San Antonio to become recognized as a no-kill city by 2012.

The UTSA collaboration, funded by grants from the San Antonio Area Foundation and the Alvarez Research Excellence Fund, focuses on city council districts 1 through 6 because of the high stray populations in these areas.

"We have teamed up with high school students in these districts because they are the future of their communities," said UTSA graduate student and project leader Cathron Sterling. "We will help them develop campaigns in their communities focusing on the importance of spaying and neutering dogs and cats. We will also help them to promote responsible pet ownership."

Molly Cox is director of the Center for Policy Studies. The center oversees the UTSA graduate student interaction and serves as a support system for the student-based initiative in conjunction with Renee Nank, UTSA assistant professor of public administration.

"We are excited about this collaboration because it gives our university another avenue in which to serve society," said Cox. "Controlling the pet population not only reduces the abundance of stray animals, it protects the community from diseases that can spread from animals that don't receive proper vaccinations and other medical care."