Abilene’s new animal shelter director hopes to reach no-kill threshold


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Animal Shelter got a new director a few weeks ago, Justin Lelesch, who has a degree in animal sciences from Ohio State University. 

“It’s been a crazy journey,” said Lelesch.  

Lelesch started at the shelter as a kennel technician.  

“In about four, almost five years I went from bottom to top,” said Lelesch. 

Now he is the director and wants to be a resource for the community. 

“You cannot do this without community support, and I think that’s one of the big-ticket things that I want to try and hammer home. . .get some support from the community, and I think we’re already seeing that,” said Lelesch. 

Lelesch says his primary goal is finding the animals at the shelter homes. He says their biggest need right now is dogs. 

“For whatever reason they just don’t get adopted at the rate that most other dogs do, so now that’s where I need the community to step up and help us,” said Lelesch. 

Lelesch also hopes that they can become a no-kill shelter. 

“Something that people don’t realize is that no-kill does not mean there is no euthanasia in the shelter,” said Lelesch. 

He says euthanasia is putting an animal down who is in pain, and no-kill means putting animals down due to lack of space or being able to find them a home, something Lelesch says they are trying to avoid. 

“The city council has made the declaration to get to a no kill shelter by 2027, we’re already on the cusp of that,” said Lelesch. 

In order to make that a reality, the shelter will need your help finding homes for their animals and volunteers to aid the shelter. 

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