After a three-year long stalemate between Passion for Paws Memorial Animal Shelter and the City of Nixon, an agreement was reached on April 4 for the shelter to relocate. As part of the agreement, neither party was willing to reveal the new address. However, the new building will be privately owned and is in the process of being built. The shelter was given a 90 day move out notice and has until July 4 to vacate the previous locale.
“We are very happy to announce a new beginning for Passion for Paws,” Patsy Virgil Scherrer, Passion for Paws president, said in a written statement.
Scherrer and a handful of other activists began shopping the idea of a no-kill shelter to city council in 2013 as a humane solution to the city’s former rampant stray dog problem. Nixon approved the project and built the shelter in 2014. Since its opening, the shelter had been located off South Rancho Road next to a baseball field.
In 2016, the city began seeking grants to help refurbish the baseball field near the shelter. It was when the city reached out to Texas Parks and Wildlife for grant funding that the problems began.
“They saw the shelter and informed the city that it was not in compliance by being on their land,” Former Nixon City Manager Manuel Zepeda said at a council meeting in June 2016. “So, now we’re in a dilemma.”
Upon inspection, Texas Parks and Wildlife noticed that the shelter had been mistakenly built on land owned by them. The city was given a choice between purchasing additional land of the same value on behalf of Texas Parks and Wildlife or move the shelter to a new location. Nixon chose the latter.
In July 2017, the city offered to move the shelter, free of charge to Passion for Paws, to a larger property off Highway 80. Scherrer agreed to the terms on one condition: the city pay for a new air-conditioned building with kennels. Scherrer’s proposal would’ve cost the city double what it was allotting to move the shelter, and the plan was subsequently scrapped.
After that, the issue spun into a proverbial “he said, she said” between the two groups. The city claimed it received a “leave us alone” notice from Scherrer’s attorney.
“We didn’t get a counter offer, we got a ‘leave us alone,’ so that’s what the city did,” Nixon City Attorney Eddie Escobar said at council meeting in March 2018. “We would have been opened to a counter offer in writing.”
Scherrer said at the March 2018 meeting that they didn’t mean to end the negotiations, and both parties left the meeting with the intent of “moving forward” toward a resolution. Just over one year later, that resolution has finally come forward.
“We are looking forward to the move,” Scherrer said. “It’s bigger. More room for the dogs to exercise. It has several shaded trees there, that is a plus. We will have kennels in there with dog runs.”
Scherrer said the shelter had a “jump start” on the new location and it was just a matter of “getting everything under control” before signing an agreement.
Passion for Paws has set up a GoFundMe page to help with construction and moving costs. The shelter will have to move two buildings and fence, purchase six new inside/outside kennels with dog runs, add insulation for the building, move an electric pole and meter loop and install a new septic system. She hopes to raise $20,000.
In the written statement, Scherrer thanked the shelter’s attorney who helped her throughout this dilemma.
“At this time, Passion for Paws would like to take a moment to thank our shelter attorney Angela Dickerson of Seguin for all that she has done to help our shelter,” Scherrer wrote. “We are very blessed to have her.”