For most of our Frisco’s Pet Project readers, you’re more than aware of our struggles over the years to try and convince the City of Frisco that residents want a local animal shelter. It’s more than wanting really. We need one to relieve Frisco’s burden on Collin County Animal Services (CCAS) in McKinney.
As one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the State, you would think this wouldn’t be an issue. Like Mayor Jeff Cheney says, “. . . the commercial developments here in Frisco are world-class . . . you can have the best amenities of any city in the entire Metroplex . . . you can have all of these amazing facilities and things to do . . .”
This is where we need to change the narrative by asking, “If this were true, why doesn’t Frisco have its own animal shelter?”
Back in early 2017, a small group of Frisco residents noticed the steadily increasing number of Code Red postings and urgent pleas for adoption from CCAS. It was no wonder with Collin County experiencing the highest sustained growth rate in the Nation, ranking Frisco the fastest-growing large city in Texas between 2010-2019, with McKinney not far down the list in fourth place. (Census Bureau 2020)
CCAS, with its 10K square feet, was put into operation back in 2006, and was only meant to be a temporary-holding facility. Some 17 years later, the building is the same size and services 13+ cities including the County’s unincorporated areas. With approximately 40 installed cat kennels and 60 installed dog kennels with another 43 kennels (13 installed in intake and other mobile units), it can house up to 80 cats at a time and some 120 dogs if they are smaller and able to be housed in multiples per enclosure.
Since forming in 2018, Frisco’s Pet Project has seen and tried to reason with 10 different council members, 3 police chiefs, 2 city managers, and 1 mayor. For years, Frisco residents have been asking them to please start making plans for its own facility. Despite the numerous emails, phone calls, private meetings with Council and City Staff, speeches at City Council meetings, Town Halls, and Work Sessions, the City still refuses to commit to a shelter.
In Mayor Cheney’s first podcast of his re-election campaign, he chose, of all subjects, pets, saying, “In Frisco we all love our pets. I want to directly address historically how the City of Frisco has served our pet advocates . . .” He continues to explain how he feels a regional partnership with CCAS is the best approach. He adds, “As we get to buildout, that may be where the opportunity may arise where we can have a private partner and come in and run a facility . . . that would be interesting to look at.” Does he know we realize that “buildout” is in 10 years when the projected population will be 325K people? Does he really think CCAS and Frisco can wait that long?
If you recall, the City has told residents time and time again that the only means to have a shelter in Frisco would be if it were placed on a bond for the voters to decide. Frisco residents spent countless hours researching shelter plans and gathering statistics and convinced the City’s own Citizen Bond Committee to recommend a shelter on this coming bond election in May. Sadly, the City and Council didn’t honor their citizens’ wishes and pulled the shelter from the ballot with Mayor Cheney leading the charge. They believe that perhaps someday a company or non-profit will ride in on their white horse and save the day.
In February, it appeared that the Mayor was not going to have a formidable opponent, giving pet lovers little hope for change anytime soon. But then, with hours to spare before the deadline, a candidate rode in and filed for Mayor. Mark Piland, a resident of nine years and the City’s former Fire Chief with 43 years of public service, bravely stepped in subjecting himself and his family to the ugly side of politics to come.
Just recently, Mark was kind enough to spend more than two hours with Frisco residents and pet advocates alike. He reassured everyone that he would have not allowed the City to pull the shelter from the bond election. He too asked, what is the point of the Citizen Bond Committee, if the City doesn’t honor the citizens’ wishes and recommendations? He wanted residents of Frisco to have that choice this May. He also asked us what our vision of a shelter would be, making it clear that pets wouldn’t be an afterthought and something he would put off until “buildout”.
Here we are. Monday April 24th is the start of early voting, with the election May 6th. If you’re a fan of Mayor Cheney’s vision of a shelter, we only ask as you cast your vote that you make a strong commitment to volunteer and foster over at CCAS in McKinney for the next three years, at least. If you rather start fresh with a new Mayor and his vision of placing your priorities over that of big business and development, then please give him and our pets a chance.
There’s no doubt that Mark is the underdog. Something we can all relate to. For Mark to win, it’s going to take your vote but also those of five of your friends to hopefully move the Frisco needle of compassion forward in favor of our pets. #petsforpiland