Animal Care Services Strategic Plan increases humane care

Published on February 12, 2024

City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department   

Animal Care Services Strategic Plan increases humane care while decreasing roaming animal dangers

SAN ANTONIO (February 26, 2024) – San Antonio Animal Care Services (SAACS) recognizes roaming animals present a threat not only to people but our community’s pets as well. That’s why the department’s Strategic Plan includes a focus area that also prioritizes the safety and care of local companion animals.

The core priority to “protect the safety and humane treatment of pets” aims to increase community compassion and available resources while also decreasing the dangers our pets may face through a number of goals:

  • Reduce the stray and roaming animal population 
  • Protect community health of animals against disease
  • Increase responsiveness and compliance with aggressive dog investigations
  • Advance a community standard of care and assist residents in meeting it
  • Revise the Chapter 5 animal ordinance to enhance the legally allowed standard of care
  • Increase capacity to investigate animal cruelty and accountability of citations
  • Eliminate illegal and inhumane breeding

From Fiscal Year 2023 to date, San Antonio Animal Care Officers have cited more than 3,000 errant pet owners for allowing their dog to run free of restraint. This summer, SAACS will institute a loose dog survey to identify problem areas throughout the city. Once completed, the data-driven study will help guide enforcement actions from the department’s increased roster of Animal Care Officers. Additional Aggressive Dog Investigators will join officers tasked with Dangerous Dog inquiries to address animal-on-animal attacks.

The health of animals in the community continues to be improved through the weekly provision of free and low-cost wellness services for local pet guardians. While two additional City-supported spay-neuter clinics are expected to open in the coming year, weekly pet    

vaccination events provide disease protection for local pets. A higher community pet vaccination rate also contributes to a healthier environment in local shelters and rescues. So far, more than 54,000 pets have received protective vaccinations in the clinics in partnership with the Animal Defense League and Protect Your Pet.      

A focus on the scourge of irresponsible breeding has resulted in a trio of recent enforcement actions at popular pet-selling spots with plans to continue pop-up raids over the spring and summer. Cruelty investigations connected to those seizures and other acts of neglect continue with close to eight hundred citations for both felony and misdemeanor cruelty cases filed since Fiscal Year 2023.  

In the coming months, SAACS will also distribute a public survey geared at creating a community standard of pet care. The survey aims to define a responsible pet parent in San Antonio, taking into account factors such as economic obstacles, demographics and access to veterinary care. While encouraging humane care for our community’s companion animals, the survey results may also be used to guide future ordinance revisions and shelter programming.  

The comprehensive City-sanctioned plan which balances animal care andcontrol is available for review at: