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Center city neighborhoods getting dedicated animal care officer

Center city neighborhoods getting dedicated animal care officer

SAN ANTONIO - The neighborhoods in city council district one, in and around downtown, will soon have a dedicated Animal Care Services officer.

"It was down to 30 degrees. It had started snowing,” recalls homeowner Deborah Lund.

She recorded video last Thursday of a neighborhood dog, tied to a tree as the weather was getting worse and humans couldn’t reach him.

"Shivering, sad, crying,” Lund describes the animal. “There was nothing we could do for the dog."

She lives south of downtown, one of the neighborhoods that will soon have a dedicated ACS officer.

"We've been tracking data for years, trying to figure out: where are the hot spots?" says ACS spokesperson Lisa Norwood.

She says the program’s seen success on the east, south and west sides combining enforcement with education.

"It's not always about just taking an animal from somebody,” Norwood says. “A lot of times, it's about actually talking to them, finding out what the issue is that they're having. Helping you get your animal sterilized. Helping you with a leash and collar."

Councilman Roberto Trevino says he pushed for a dedicated officer after District 1 residents told him animals are among their top safety priorities. He says the move will cost about $110,000 from the district’s budget, including the officer’s salary and training.

"This is going to be critical,” he says. "We're able to have more contact with someone directly about issues that we're having in particular neighborhoods."

For the councilman, the officer is a point person. For Lund, it’s one more animal advocate in her neighborhood.

"Especially when you see dogs suffering that way, day after day,” the concerned neighbor says.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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