The Paul Jolly Center for Pet Adoptions is now open at Brackenridge Park and leaders are hoping the fresh design will make an impact on adoptions in a city that has struggled with animal overpopulation.
"We want this to be a destination [and] not just only for adoptions," said Joel Mclellan, the director of operations for the center.
Mclellan said education, community events and special adoption weekends will be major components of the facility with the outdoor Petco Pavilion, and Pet Shotz located next door. He said he is hoping field trips will bring children in to teach them about responsible pet ownership and that movie nights are a possibility to incorporate families into the mission of the Jolly Center.
Mclellan said he believes the center is breaking old stigmas of a dog pound:
"We do away with the old perception of a pound and we come to a state-of-the-art facility like this one where it's a fun place to be, it's engaging, it's bright, it's vibrant," he said. "The architects have done a great job at bringing the outside inside -- it's all glass, natural light. Then I think it does change that stigma of it's kind of institutionalized experience. And this is really changing that."
Volunteers like Pam Flaherty are hoping to make the center a success to match dogs and cats to their new moms and dads.
Flaherty said she has a soft spot for animals without homes and expects to be here often.
"We had two strays show up in my yard," she said. "I would love to have to taken them, but I have two golden retrievers already and I brought them in and it just broke my heart to see so many dogs. A lot of times, I think people just dump dogs and it's such a shame. They're so lovable."
San Antonio Pets Alive! won a bid to operate the Paul Jolly Center, named after a man who was a longtime employee of Petco. The company and the Petco Foundation donated $1 million to make the center a reality.
Mclellan said San Antonio Pets Alive! has an agreement with the city that it will send 3,000 animals home in the center's first 12 months.
"It is definitely attainable," he said. "They've set the bar high for us but we definitely, we've accepted the challenge 'cause we think we can get there. Well, we know we can get there."
Animal Care Services adopted 7,165 animals in fiscal year 2013, a historic record for the facility according to a spokesperson.
San Antonio Pets Alive! also operates the Marbach Cattery and Building One at ACS on the city's far West Side.
- Learn more about the Paul Jolly Center at: www.sanantoniopetsalive.org