HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - "It's a nice change from COVID from the election everybody gets along here," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
After months of COVID and a heated election season, you could tell the County Judge was ready to talk about something positive and hold a puppy at the same time.
"We hear Democrats and Republicans fighting like cats and dogs but I can tell you after being here they can co-exist peacefully," she said.
"This is a $24 million, 5-year journey," said Dr. Umair Shah Executive Director of Harris County Public Health. "We now have a state of the art animal shelter for the first time in a long time."
This facility happened because voters approved a $24 million bond proposition back in 2015.
The 50,000 square foot facility can house up to 525 animals - 300 dogs and 225 cats.
That's more than double the capacity of the old shelter. It could only hold 12,000 animals a year but was averaging 24,000.
"We have cat condos, we have outdoor areas for dogs. They can be both outdoors and indoors," Hidalgo said. "We've got separate wings so the air circulates within each wing and disease doesn't spread."
The best thing about the new facility is the live release rate.
Before Dr. Michael White took over, Harris County's Animal Shelter was a place animals came to die.
"Out of one hundred. Pets only, 15 would make it out alive," said Hidalgo. "Since then and with this new shelter as well, 98 of every 100 pets make it out alive, so we are as close to 'No Kill' as we can be."