The City of San Angelo Animal Shelter earned a perfect score from an inspection Tuesday from the Texas Department of Health Services.

David De Lossy

The inspector, Dr. Ken Waldrup, a licensed veterinarian, gave the shelter positive marks in all 45 areas in which it was graded, including waste disposal, management, record-keeping, sanitation, feeding, sheltering and care of the animals. The shelter earned an overall rating of satisfactory, the top rating given during an inspection.

The 2016 and 2015 inspection reports can be read at cosatx.us/animals.

Dr. Waldrup told shelter staff he was impressed by the smell, cleanliness and overall operation of the facility. He noted his only concern in a written comment that “Noise is an issue in the main kennel.”

City officials have explored dampening the reverberation of the sound of barking dogs in the kennels and found the cost would be approximately $200,000. Last year, James Flores, assistant director of the City’s Neighborhood and Family Services Department and the shelter’s administrator, shut the kennels to the public, instead offering a lobby kiosk at which citizens can scan photos of lost and adoptable animals, and then interact with them in a visitation room. Flores said stopping the continual flow of visitors through the kennels has greatly reduced the barking, providing a less stressful environment that improves the dogs’ health.

The inspection report, which improved upon last year’s high marks, is the latest in a string of recent achievements at the shelter.

In December, the shelter’s euthanasia rate dipped to 26 percent, a new low for the facility. Prior to March 2015, when Flores began oversight of the shelter, the euthanasia rate was typically in the 60th and 70th percentiles. The number of animals accepted has decreased while the number of pets adopted has increased over the same span.

On Feb. 12, the shelter’s new veterinarian, Dr. Kuppe Nagaraj, began performing spay/neuter procedures on dogs and cats adopted from the shelter. Previously, the operations were performed by private-sector veterinarian. The scheduling of those procedures typically extended the time adopted animals spent in the shelter and delayed owners receiving their new pets. Performing spay/neuter in-house will also save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars per year.

The City’s spay/neuter ordinance takes effect April 1. At that time, the shelter will begin offering low-cost spay/neuter for the pets of qualifying low-income families. Details are available at cosatx.us/animals.