Despite the “dog days” of summer heat, the Laredo Animal Protective Society (LAPS) pressed forward with the “Pooches on the Patio” pet adoption drive. The event was held at the parking lot of the Border Foundry Restaurant and Bar located at 7718 McPherson Road. Initially, LAPS arrived to the location with over 30 dogs, ranging from little puppies to the more seasoned of canines, looking for a “forever home.”
Unfortunately, the doggie mobile unit used to transport the pooches had technical difficulties; the generator that powers the air conditioning unit used to keep the dogs cool would not ignite. This led to most of the dogs being returned to the shelter prematurely and only seven bow-wows were left at the site.
As Laredo’s only “no-kill” shelter, LAPS continuously puts on adoption drives in an effort to keep their ever-growing animal population in check. Being a “no-kill” establishment does have its challenges as no matter how noble a cause, everything still depends on money to survive.
Prior to 2012, the non-profit did not have to worry much about finances as the City of Laredo would cover the monthly expenses, at a cost: many dogs and cats were euthanized on a monthly basis. Ultimately, disagreements between city leaders and shelter management led to a divorce. Since the split, LAPS has marched on leaving the euthanizing behind and focusing on finding families for all of the shelter residents.
Monica Mondragon is the newest Executive Director of the shelter; she is a few days shy of her third month at the helm of the day-to-day operations. Mondragon was not part of LAPS in 2012, but appreciates that the shelter is a “no kill” foundation. Mondragon added that she was “very fortunate to have come in at the right time” as she could not have been involved with LAPS knowing that “some of [the animals] were going to be put down just to make space.”
Mondragon stated that so far, her tenure as director has been “exciting” and “rewarding” but also reported that it is not “easy” as the shelter consistently runs short on funds and “struggles to make it every month.” She informed that the monthly budget ranges from $11,000 – $13,000 and with expenses including food, medicine, spay, neutering, vaccinating, paying employees, water, and electricity. Mondragon added that overhead tends to spike during the summer due to a higher number of animals arriving to the shelter.
“We’re very blessed, as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are a huge help,” Mondragon said. She added that LAPS also gets a lot of support from FFA students and the Junior Honor Society, just to name a few.
Even though the struggle of making ends meet is real, Mondragon keeps a positive attitude: “We do struggle but it is definitively worthwhile as anything worth doing is worth struggling for.” Mondragon added, “We’re very grateful to everyone who adopts and helps us.”