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'Dogs will die': Contract dispute between City of Waco, Humane Society could lead to changes at local shelter

Posted at 6:20 PM, Apr 24, 2024

MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas — A contract dispute has the City of Waco and the Humane Society of Central Texas at odds. If the two sides can't reach a deal, it could lead to big changes at the local animal shelter.

  • Right now, the Humane Society and the Waco animal shelter share the same building, but it's owned by the City of Waco.
  • Without meeting contract agreements, the Humane Society would have to leave the Waco facility.
  • Former President of the Humane Society of Central Texas says if they leave the site, the no-kill status will no longer be enforced.
  • The City released a statement saying they are open to negotiations.


"Without us on campus, the Humane Society of Central Texas — no on the City of Waco Animal Shelter Campus. Dogs will die, and we can't let that happen," Patricia Meadows said.

Patricia Meadows recently resigned as President of the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of Central Texas. She says she resigned in order to speak freely against the City of Waco after failed contract negotiations.

"We want a deal that works for them as well, but one that really works for us," she said.

"These contracts are five years, and five years — there's costs of goods increasing, inflation in every which direction you can think of."

Right now, the Humane Society and the Waco animal shelter share the same building, but it's owned by the City of Waco.

The city takes in the animals and ensures medical care for them — the humane society assists with adoption matching and social services.

"We have a big responsibility to our community to our animals to keep up that no kill status, without us there on campus, that no kill status will go away,” Meadows said.

Brooke Farrel, also with the Humane Society, says to reach a fair deal, they need funds to continue that mission. Otherwise it could have a negative effect on Central Texans if they're looking to bring home a pet.

"We would expect a rise in financial burden on folks, we regularly do low cost adoptions, name your price adoptions,” Farrel said.

After asking for a lump sum, the city denied the Humane Society's request.

25 News reached out to the city regarding the current contract — City Manager Bradley Ford released this statement:

“The City of Waco and the Humane Society negotiated the current contract in 2021, and in 2022, it was signed by the President of the Humane Society Board and then presented and executed by the Waco City Council, effective until 2027. The facility currently operates under this contract’s terms.

In support of the Humane Society’s purpose, both parties agreed to a continued review of the contract terms and have been discussing various concepts and ideas. The City proposed a performance-based contract earlier this year to provide financial support for services performed by the Humane Society due to a reduction in revenue the Humane Society has been receiving from the public.

In response, on February 20, 2024, the City received a request for a lump sum contract from the Humane Society and a letter stating that if an agreement was not met, the Humane Society would issue a notice to vacate the shelter and the contract.

It is the city's responsibility to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and its allocation toward the needs of the city. Upon review of the lump sum request, the City notified the Humane Society that their demand could not be met. The City is unaware of any new terms or revisions to the proposed contract. Although we don’t agree with the representations made by the Humane Society over the past few days, we are always available to meet with our partners for the benefit of the pet population. The City considers the negotiations open and ongoing.”

Without resolve, The Humane Society of Central Texas would have to search for a new facility.

25 News Reporter Dominique Leh did ask the Humane Society how much money they're asking for, and they said they are open to contract negotiations.