Grassroots animal shelter shut down by City of Abilene

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City says it was a zoning violation

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — A grassroots animal shelter dedicated to keeping animals warm during this latest arctic blast has been shut down by the City of Abilene.

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna said the Texas Department of Health Services confirmed the operation was an illegal kennel, in addition to the makeshift shelter being a city zoning violation.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed it is running an illegal kennel. It is also a zoning violation. We informed the Expo of the zoning violation. Obviously neither the City, nor the Expo or County can knowingly violate State law.

The animal shelter will work with them to find humane accommodations for the animals that do not have a home.

Robert Hanna, Abilene City Manager

The animal shelter had just started making its temporary home at the Taylor County Expo Center’s Modern Living Mall Thursday morning. The shelter was the result of volunteers wanting to help protect animals from the cold weather Abilene is currently experiencing.

“I just know that God’s given us these creatures and it’s only up to us to take care of these animals,”
said organizer Rosalinda Garcia. “We are going to make a difference and we need all the help we can get.”

Organizers are now looking for additional options to help the animals.

“I’m really upset because this is just hurting the animals.” said organizer Michelle Leinneweber. “If anybody has a place where we can take these dogs that otherwise are going to be left outside in these temperatures, we would really appreciate it.”

Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams responded to people reaching out to him via a Facebook Live video. He said he was not aware of the incident until after the closure.

Williams said at the time of the closure, only five dogs were at the shelter. The city’s animal shelter had more than 25 open slots that can be used to keep the animals safe.

In a Facebook post, the City of Abilene Animal Services says they have open kennels and will never turn away a sick or injured animal.

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