Very early in my time on City Council I learned that two things are constant at City Hall: our needs are infinite and our resources are very much finite.
Case in point is the ongoing issue of stray and abandoned animals – there are more than we can deal with, and we lack the limitless resources it would take to effectively manage the problem, much less approach a cure.
That’s one reason I was so excited to see San Antonio Pets Alive partner with the City of San Antonio to help us address the issue of finding pets a home so that we can achieve our no-kill goal. They have exceeded every goal and have been a true asset.
I was very disappointed to find out how little support they receive from the private sector and the community at large. SAPA has worked diligently with the resources they have to fundraise on their own. However, they need more support from the City and other private and corporate donors.
Choosing between summer programming for at-risk children in need and maintaining the City’s no-kill objective is a false analogy that would be a disservice to both the pets in crisis in San Antonio and the kids living in crisis on our Eastside. San Antonio became a great city because historically we’ve taken care of our own when it comes to people and organizations in need. We became a great city by recognizing what is most important, making a plan, and sticking with that plan. To remain a great city we must continue to execute that simple, yet effective, strategy.
This means making decisions that result in both programs being funded and supported. Both programs are vitally important. Both programs are unrivaled in effectiveness. Both programs are worthy of our support.
While there is an opportunity for a corporate partner or community benefactor to step in and help Pets Alive reach their fundraising goals, we have little hope that our summer programs for the children on the Eastside have that same opportunity. If you have read the newspaper or watched television in the past several months, you know that we are dealing with a crisis on the Eastside of San Antonio. Our summer programming is essential to keeping kids off the street, safe, and away from trouble.
Similarly, our no-kill goal is essential to remaining a city on the rise and SAPA is an important, effective partner who with new management and additional oversight will help us keep stray animals off of the streets and help them find new homes.
Great cities are innovative and find ways to do great things. I urge the mayor, city manager, and my colleagues to be great. Let’s fund both of these important programs in our mid-year budget adjustment – it’s the right thing to do.
This isn’t about kids versus pets. It is about right versus wrong. Let us do the right thing. We make decisions everyday to make San Antonio a safer city for all its residents. This is the right thing to do, and San Antonians need both.
Let’s strive to make this happen. Let us be great.
Top image: SAPA employee Alex Hill drops off chew toys to dogs in outside enclosures. Photo by Scott Ball.