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Where do Frisco city council candidates stand on a stand-alone city animal shelter? We asked

It still comes as a surprise to some that the city of nearly 200,000 people doesn’t have its own animal shelter.

Note: The Dallas Morning News reached out to only the candidates who did not express a position on a shelter through their website or The News' voter guide.

It comes as a surprise to some that Frisco, with a population of 200,000 and the fastest-growing city in the U.S., does not have a city animal shelter.

Five of Frisco’s six neighboring cities — Allen, The Colony, Little Elm, McKinney and Plano — have a shelter inside their city limits. Prosper does not.

Instead, Frisco has a contract with Collin County Animal Services to handle the city’s stray and missing pets through 2023, requiring pet owners to drive about 20 minutes east to McKinney to pick up missing animals that have been found.

Hava Johnston, Laura Rummel and Dan Stricklin — candidates for Frisco City Council Place 5 — have listed animals and pets as a priority issue on their campaign website or The Dallas Morning News voter guide.

Hava Johnston

She has said she wants to help form an animal advisory board to work alongside the animal services department. The board would collaborate with multiple city departments and the school district to build an animal rescue and education center.

Laura Rummel

Rummel has said she wants to focus on providing education on pet ownership; having clinics for spaying, neutering and microchipping pets; and eventually opening a city animal shelter to help relieve capacity issues at Collin County’s shelter.

Dan Stricklin

His platform focuses on opening a 72-hour holding facility.

We asked the rest of the seven city council candidates, as well as Mayor Jeff Cheney, if they believed a city animal shelter was needed. Their responses are below.

Mayor Jeff Cheney

The incumbent and unopposed Cheney said he is satisfied with the contract the city has with Collin County.

Additionally, he said he believes Frisco’s animal control division does a “wonderful job” returning pets to their homes before even needing to be transferred to the shelter in McKinney.

However, he said the city council will review how these services are provided as the city continues to grow.

Ruan Mientjes

The Place 5 candidate said a public-private partnership would be the most viable option for a city shelter when it is necessary.

Rob Cox

Cox also said a public-private partnership would be the direction to go in when a city shelter is necessary. He said it is not financially feasible for the city to pay for facilities, staff members and an on-site veterinarian, as there are not enough pets transferred to the Collin County animal shelter.

In 2019, 432 pets headed to the shelter from Frisco, while Plano’s shelter saw nearly 6,000 pets, based on data obtained from Frisco Pets Project — an organization focused on opening a shelter in Frisco.

Cox also said nothing shows that a Frisco holding facility or city shelter would provide better care for animals. Instead, he wants to be proactive by educating residents on microchipping and filling the two open animal services positions that have opened since COVID-19 hit. He also wants to add a place on the city website to post photos of missing animals that could be shared on city social media accounts.

“Volumes will dictate [a need for change],” Cox said.

Cox said he would support a charitable organization serving in an advisory capacity regarding the need for a shelter, but he believes a more formal committee is not necessary.

Place 5 candidates

Ram Majji

The candidate said he is open to discussing solutions for a short-term shelter.

Josh Meek

Meek said that he believes an animal shelter will be needed in the future, but that the investment does not make economic sense currently.

Instead, he wants to focus on educating pet owners about Frisco’s pet registration program, and when the timing is right, the animal shelter should be a collaborative effort between the surrounding cities and counties.

Place 6 candidates

Sadaf Haq

The candidate said she wants to educate pet owners of available resources to ensure responsible pet ownership.

She also believes a tri-city animal shelter, in partnership with Prosper and Celina, would be beneficial to Frisco.

Brian Livingston

The Place 6 incumbent said he, along with other council members, decided an independent animal shelter was not a good decision, after reviewing the capital expenditure and operating expenses. He said he would rather partner with pet stores to educate on responsible pet ownership and chipping.

He said it is not necessary for the city to form an animal advisory board, as suggested by others. It would be “unmanageable” to form a “city committee for every issue that arises," Livingston said.

Sai Krishna

This candidate has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Brandi Addison. Brandi is a freelancer covering all things Frisco. She graduated from Texas Tech in December 2018, and soon after, began her career as a reporter in West Texas. She recently moved back to D-FW, which she calls home.

brandi.d.addison@outlook.com BrandiDAddison
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