Back in 2018, a Frisco resident of 19 years, got up before the City Council and asked if the City would please consider an animal advisory board. That was all—an animal advisory board. Fast forward to 2023, the City finally approved her request with a Mayor’s Ad Hoc. It took her and a group of outspoken Frisco residents and pet-lovers meeting with the Mayor and Council, City Staff, Frisco Animal Services, speaking up at Citizen Input, Work Sessions, and Council meetings, and sending countless emails to finally give animals and pets a voice in Frisco.
Their efforts over the years were not welcomed by the City and were often met with strong opposition. In 2019, Frisco residents asked Frisco Animal Services (FAS) if they could meet to discuss a temporary-holding facility and how they might volunteer for the department. In return, FAS sent an email saying, the City was happy with their current processes and we do not want to discuss this any further. A couple of months later, the City signed a five-year contract with Collin County Animal Services (CCAS), against their residents’ wishes.
Years of emails from the City continued, arguing, even if we wanted to move forward with shelter, it could only be accomplished with a bond. Now, here we are. As of today, January 25, 2023, a $5M Animal Services Facility is on the bond for the City Council to approve on February 7th. Those in attendance at the recent Special Joint Session of the Citizen Bond Committee and the City Council on January 17, 2023, are certain that City Council will not allow an animal facility to remain on the ballot.
Susan McFarland of the Dallas Morning News has been tracking the “great Frisco animal shelter debate.” In her story dated January 18, 2023 she shares, 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.
Councilwoman Pelham suggested, who are we to question our Chief and his data and the wishes of the City Staff? And the Mayor added and Susan shared, 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 residents have been visiting shelters, studying shelter intake numbers throughout North Texas, pulling open records reports, and meeting with shelter directors and city officials for years. These very residents presented studies and plans that demonstrated how the City of Frisco could operate and maintain their own facility on their existing annual budget of a million dollars. They also presented two examples of local shelters that built a center with a $5M bond. They are certain, with the right leadership, Frisco could have its own animal rescue and adoption center.
On February 7th, we will see what that leadership looks like. The City Council will either respect their Citizen Bond Committee and their residents’ wishes and allow an Animal Services Facility to remain on the ballot, or they will pull it, making their residents jump through even more hoops.
CALL TO ACTION – Sign Our PETition Here
Attend the City Council Meeting, February 7, 2023 6:30PM City Hall, 6101 Frisco Square Blvd, Frisco, TX 75034
Write your City Council and ask them to allow Frisco residents to vote!
Photo courtesy Sherry Johnston