Frisco animal shelter debate continues; city staff says it’s not needed

Frisco animal shelter debate continues; city staff says it’s not needed

FRISCO — Whether building an animal shelter in Frisco will cause more problems than it will solve dominated conversation as the citizen bond committee presented its recommendations to city council Tuesday.

The joint work session, which delayed the regular city council meeting by two hours, was much like the last few citizen bond committee meetings, with the topic lending a back-and-forth dialogue about whether the city needs a shelter.

City staff doesn’t believe a shelter is needed.

Frisco police Chief David Shilson said the city’s animal services department has three goals—reuniting pets with their owners, education and adoption/spay neuter clinics.

“We don’t need a shelter to do any of that,” Shilson said.

The police chief discussed staffing issues, euthanasia and legal issues that having an animal shelter could bring to the city.

Shilson also told council the numbers are not there.

He said last year 520 animals were taken to Collin County Animal Shelter and an additional 124 were redeemed in the field, which is not many for a city of 225,000 people.

Shilson suggested other solutions, such as the city’s new lost and found pet finder, teaming up with CCAS for more adoption events and partnering with local veterinarians for microchipping and vaccination clinics.

Mayor Jeff Cheney said putting something on a bond that staff does not need crosses a line, and is like telling staff how to do their jobs.

“It almost feels like being disingenuous with the public,” Cheney said.

Frisco’s Pet Project, an animal advocacy group, has been rallying for the shelter for years. Several members of the group attended the meeting, saying it is a missed opportunity for a city the size of Frisco and could help Collin County Animal Services, which is overwhelmed.

Some told council the numbers presented by the police chief do not tell the whole story because it does not take into account all of the animal groups who help with strays and rescues within the city.

The decision now rests with city council, which will vote on a bond resolution Feb. 7.

Aside from $5 million being considered for an animal shelter, the committee recommended $131 million for public safety, which would include a new fire station and police/fire training center; $31 million for city services, which would include a shared facility for environmental services and public works; $240 million for streets and road construction; and $43 million for parks, which would focus on hike and bike trails.

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