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  • Who is Highland Lakes SPCA?


Highland Lakes SPCA was founded in 1999 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by a group of folks who wanted to rescue homeless dogs from the Central Texas region and care for their health, rehabilitation and then to ultimately find these dogs a forever home uniting them with a newly adopted family.   Initially HLSPCA started out as a foster only organization but over the 17 years has grown into it's own  location with a kennel facility, outdoor pens, walking trails and staff and resident caretaker.  An active and passionate group of volunteers works tirelessly supporting HLSPCA and its mission.


  • Since you have "SPCA" in your name, is HLSPCA associated with any other SPCAs, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)?

The ASPCA, founded in the1800s, is not your local dog shelter like HLSPCA. However many Americans still confuse the ASPCA with their local SPCA and it's easy to see why.  The ASPCA is not related to local SPCAs, despite the similar names, and money given to the ASPCA will not necessarily go to a donor’s local shelter.  The fact is that there are hundreds of organizations with SPCA in their name across the United States, but they generally standalone in name and are not affiliated with each other.  Generally, SPCA stands for the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and  a lot of people, including us, think its a good way to let the public know that this is an organization dedicated to helping and preserving animal life.  We recommend that no matter which SPCA you interact with, that you get to know them, their mission and how they positively affect your community.


  • Are you a shelter?


So much more than a shelter.  An animal shelter is a place where stray, lost, abandoned or surrendered animals, mostly dogs and cats, are brought because there is no where else to take them; these places are oftentimes funded by local governments.  Although we do have a kennel facility where many of our rescued dogs stay at nighttime,  at HLSPCA  we are a different kind of rescue operation for three reasons:  1)  we are funded  by private donations,  2)  we hand pick our dogs from various sources, like municipal shelters and 3) HLSPCA provides an exceptional collection of support facilities for our rescued dogs:  nighttime indoor kennels, daytime large outdoor pens and extensive walking trails. We see that all of the rehabilitative needs, medical and social, of our rescued dogs are met.  We are much more than a  shelter; HLSPCA is a privately funded RESCUE OPERATION.   HLSPCA  has a  "No-Kill" policy where rescued dogs are admitted into sanctuary, a place of refuge and safety,  until we can find them a forever home.  We also have a select group of foster families who will provide special, focused care in the environment of a human home.


  • What are HLSPCA's funding sources?


HLSPCA is primarily funded by people like you, the public, through donations or by attending Fundraising Events we host throughout the year, so mark you calendars!  The majority of our supporters are from the Central Texas region.  Occasionally we receive small amounts of monies through the application of grants in Texas.  But by far we rely on you, our supporting public, for our year in and year out funding.  Without you, HLSPCA could not serve Central Texas and rescue homeless dogs in so much need of our care.


  • What do you mean by "No-Kill"?


Once a dog is admitted into HLSPCA, they will never be euthanized for space limitations or capricious reasons of inconvenience.  Unless there are medical or behavioral issues that develop deeming a dog unadoptable (which has never happened), dogs will stay in our shelter until they find their forever homes.  In our 17 year history, only once has a dog been euthanized due to an irrevocable medical condition, discovered shortly after initial admittance and under supervision and advise of a licensed veterinarian.   Under these very sad instances, we actually felt honored to be the ones providing the loving care for this animal.


  • Can you spay/neuter my dog?

We ensure that all of our dogs in our care are spayed/neutered before they are available for adoption.  In general, we do not offer spay/neuter services to the general public who already owns a dog.  However, for our neighbors in need, we are now very happy to offer a program where an HLSPCA Donor can Sponsor a Spay/Neuter for our neighbors who demonstrate financial need.  We are working with a fellow nonprofit, PetPALS, a low-cost Spay/Neuter clinic, to deliver this service to our community.


  • What are your hours?


We're pretty much here around the clock, but like most organizations, we keep regular business hours during the week and we're open on Saturdays and Sundays also.  Since all of our visitors come to see us with a scheduled appointment, we will find a time that works best for you and for us, no matter what day it is.   See Contact Us for more information.


  • Where is your location?


We do not advertise our physical location for a variety of very good reasons.  See About Privacy/Our Physical Location.  You will learn our precise location after we've chatted and scheduled a visit to Meet & Greet an available dog.  We are so happy to have our public come visit us but we schedule them during daytime hours so everybody knows when you will arrive.   We like to keep our environment quiet and stress free so our dogs know they are in a secure place.  They have all had different journeys which has led them to us and we try to create an environment of home for every one of them.


  • I have lost my pet, what do I do?


Get into action!  We have detailed a step-wise plan of action to put into effect once you have discovered your beloved pet has gone missing.  See We Can Help You/Lost & Found to see the complete list of things to do with resources to use.  If you have an overall plan of action, chances are very good that you will be reunited!


  • I have found a lost pet, what do I do?


There are a lot of similar things you do if you lose or find someone's  pet, so you might review We Can Help You/Lost & Found again for similar instruction.


CAPTURE and CONTAIN.  Go slowly, deliberately and calmly when approaching what appears to be a lost pet.  Never, ever put your personal safety at risk. Attempt to capture and contain the animal with care, remember, this critter is probably very scared and possibly disoriented.  If you see a stray cat or dog, try to capture and contain the animal if circumstances permit. Always approach stray animals slowly and cautiously while speaking in a calm, gentle voice. You can also use food to coax a frightened animal into approaching you.  Ideally, dogs should be secured using a leash or contained in a fenced yard. A belt or piece of rope can be used as a slip lead in an emergency, but keep in mind that these items are not appropriate as a routine means of controlling a dog. Most cats do not like to be held for any length of time, so stray kitties are best confined inside a cat carrier, secure box (with air holes), small room of your house or temporarily in your car (as long as the car is well ventilated and not too hot).


CALL THE AUTHORITIES.  Never put yourself in harm’s way by attempting to capture an animal that is behaving suspiciously or  aggressively.   If you cannot safely approach the animal or if it runs away, call your local animal control or police department immediately.  Be sure to give the dispatcher the exact street address where the animal was last seen.  Contact folks like us, we'll rebroadcast to our own networks as well.  Repeated information is not a bad thing here.


POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Get the word out you've found a lost dog; post a pic if you took one.  Post on your own Facebook page, local animal welfare groups; you would be surprised how this information and go viral.  And yes again, post on Craigslist!


CHECK FOR ID. Once you have contained the lost pet, check to see if the animal is wearing an ID tag. If so, you may be able to immediately contact the owner and return the pet to him or her.  If the pet is wearing ID, but you are unable to immediately make contact with the owner, you may choose to hold onto the pet for a few hours and wait for a call back from the owner. If you choose this course of action, it is still advisable to immediately file a “found” report with your local animal shelter in case the owner calls or goes there to search for the pet. If you are unable to hold the pet, you can either take it to your local animal shelter or call your local animal control or police department to pick it up.


RE-CHECK FOUND LOCATION.  If you are keeping the animal for a few hours or a day or overnight, return to the place where you found the dog, there might be signage from a concerned and worried owner.


SCAN FOR A MICROCHIP. If the pet is not wearing an ID tag, the best course of action is to either take it to your vet or a local animal shelter or call the animal control/police department to pick it up and transport it to the shelter. The shelter staff will scan the animal for a microchip. If the animal is chipped, the shelter staff will be able to immediately look up the owner’s contact information by calling the microchip company or accessing the microchip database online. Although it may be tempting to keep a lost pet and try to find the owner yourself, it is absolutely essential that the animal be scanned for a microchip.


TAKE TO A SHELTER.  Take pets with no ID to an animal shelter. If the animal has no ID tag or microchip, its best chance of being reunited with its owner is generally at an animal shelter. The shelter is the one obvious place where owners are likely to look for lost pets. While most shelters maintain a database of “found” reports, these reports are often inaccurate due to the subjectivity of the person describing the animal. Many people are not familiar with breeds and coat colors and may not be able to give an accurate description of the animal they have found. One acceptable alternative would be to post a picture of the found animal in the shelter’s computer database if the shelter has software with that capability. This would allow you to hold the lost pet, while still allowing the owner to find it at the shelter via a photo.


Just remember, as worried as you are for this lost pet to find its owner, there is certainly its owner who is more worried than you!


  • What do you need for donations?


Just about anything you can think of for a dog, we can certainly use.  Any of your extras, such as dog leashes, beds, collars, yes, we can use.  We have our Wish List of items that we need for daily use at the shelter.  Make a copy of this list and take it with you when you shop and we can make arrangements to pick them up.  There are so many ways you can support HLSPCA in our mission, by donating goods or monetary donations.  See our Donate section to see all the ways you can help.


  • Do you offer financial assistance to pet owners for sick or injured dogs?

HLSPCA does not offer any financial assistance to pet owners for sick, injured or animals in need of spay/neuter.  We can however recommend local veterinarians and  low-cost spay/neuter clinics in our Central Texas area which may be able to help.


  • How can I help HLSPCA?


So glad you asked!  There are many ways you can help us out, either in giving your valuable time by Volunteering to take care of our dogs, helping out at weekly Adoption Events, or attending or helping out at a Fundraising Event.  You can support us by donating dog related items from our Wish List, or donating by purchasing dog items we need for daily life.  Finally, you can Donate Now: monies which will go directly to our direct hands-on dog care.  All methods are equally appreciated.


  • Are donations tax-exempt?

Yes, we are a 501(c) (3) recognized non-profit organization by the IRS.   Our Tax ID is  74-2923659.




  • Can I come by any time to visit your dogs?
  • Nope.   We require an appointment to come see our dogs for very good reasons: 1) our neighbors and 2) our dogs.   See Contact Us to see how to contact us and we'll further explain why we don't publish our physical address.  Visiting a dog is all a part of the adoption process, How To Adopt A Dog, and we describe every step in this process. You will want to get to the Meet & Greet if you want to visit a dog, and we want you to come out!
  • I saw a dog I'm interested in on your website, how can I see this dog in person?


Oh we're so happy!  This is when things get exciting.  Again, you need to Contact Us to setup an appointment to come out and see your perspective pup.  This is just one step of many steps in the adoption process, so we ask you to review everything in How To Adopt A Dog.   But just to fast forward you, you'll be jumping in at the Meet & Greet.


  • What kinds of dogs do you have available?


Glad you asked!  We've got all sorts of dogs available for adoption, see Available Dogs to see our current crew, which by the way, changes frequently as dogs are adopted and as dogs are admitted into HLSPCA. At any one time, we may have 12 - 20 dogs staying at the shelter.  These dogs typically are mixed breeds and we do our best to describe them to the closest breed they represent.  We run the gamut of sizes, anywhere from little dogs around five pounds to medium to bigger dogs up to 80 or more pounds.


  • Where do your animals come from?


Our pups come from all over Central Texas.  We work closely with Austin Animal Center, Marble Falls Animal Control, Lampasses Animal Control and even going east toward Gonzales County.  As soon as there's room available for us to take on another dog, we go out into our community to find them;  there is always an unending supply.  We go out once if not twice a week to rescue dogs. Because we work closely with municipal animal controls, they frequently will reach out to the rescue community (that's us) and call us to come get a dog, because the dog needs special close attention during a rehab of an injury, or frankly because they have a dog which is close to being euthanized.  Let's be honest here, NOBODY likes or wants to euthanize an animal.  So its a win-win, the big animal controls don't have to euthanize an animal and we gain a pup that we can care for and find their forever home.  Because we are smaller than the county animal control shelters, we are able to give that focused, special attention to a critter in need.  It makes us feel good when we truly 'rescue', and it should make you as the adopter, feel really GREAT when you rescue a dog.


  • When I get this dog home, how will it behave around my other dogs?  My other cats?


It's really difficult to say, please remember HLSPCA is but  a temporary stopover in the journey in the life of this critter.    We do our very best to socialize all our dogs with as many canines and humans as possible, to prepare them for the transition to their forever home.   However, we can never guarantee that their behavior won't change.    That is why we feel our Meet & Greet is so very important, and it gives you  an opportunity to bring other members of your family along, either human, canine, or yes, sometimes even feline (in a carrier PLEASE!).


And because we are a dog-only facility,  we cannot tell you how the dog will behave around cats.   But there is something we can do.  We can work with you to schedule a home visit to test the dog with your pets, dogs and cats.  Now although the behavior exhibited on that visit will be a good indicator,  please understand it does not guarantee that the dog won't show different behavior later down the road, either positive or negative.   We feel that  the commitment made to the dog should be treated as a lifelong responsibility, taking the ups with the downs and understanding that there is, and always will be, work involved with accepting a shelter dog into your home.


See After Adoption for more comments on assimilation of a rescue into your home.  Know that we are here, we are always here to help you through these hopefully, temporary rough  patches.


  • Why do you charge for adopting a dog?

Almost all rescue groups we know charge for adopting a dogs, frankly we have to charge an adoption fee in order to help defray the costs of taking care of our dogs. Your adoption fee helps the Highland Lakes SPCA pay for food, shelter, and medical care for all of its animals in our adoption system.  See What Our Fees Cover in the adoption process.


  • Is there an age limit for adopting a pet?


You must be 17 years of age or older to adopt a pet from the Highland Lakes SPCA.


  • What does my adoption fee get used for?

Again, your adoption fee helps the Highland Lakes SPCA pay for food, shelter, and medical care for all of its animals in our adoption system.  See What Our Fees Cover in the adoption process.


  • I see your dogs at Petsmart every Saturday, can't I just go there to adopt one of them?


We're so glad that you came by to visit us!  We love to go into the community to introduce our pups to the public!  They get seen around town at the Places We Go; you can see when we'll be out in the public if you visit our Calendar to get a schedule when we are out and about.  But this is just the initial step in getting to know our Available Dogs, by visiting them at various places.  We want to make sure you are sure about this pup, so we ask that you go home and think about it, then Contact Us to schedule a visit, the Meet & Greet, where you can visit one-on-one in a private setting.  It's just the first and very important step in our Adoption Process.


  • What do I get when I adopt a dog from HLSPCA?


You're getting a companion that will bring unconditional love, joy and happiness to you for a very long time!  Okay, but you do get a lot of other stuff, we don't launch you both without being fully equipped for the journey ahead.  We will hand off to you a set of important documentation about your dog's social and medical history and microchip information.  We will work with you to get the microchip credentials appropriately transferred to you.  All this information you will need to retain and also pass onto your own veterinarian.  You will also get a small bag of the food your dog has been eating so you can gradually transition them into their new diet.   Lastly, as you and your new pet ride off happily into the sunset, and we will post you and him/her on our HLSPCA Facebook page.


From a few days to a week, you will also be receiving in the regular mail another packet, with some of the previous information from Adoption day repeated, but with additional information, coupons packages from the good folks at Petsmart and PETCO, referrals for vets, and other goodies you might find interesting.  When there's a quiet time, please go over all the information you've received from us to get is all sorted out.


  • What is your return policy?


Once adopted, if for some reason, one of our dogs is not working out at their new home and the owner feels they cannot go forward with the relationship, we will take them back in that first month.  We work hard in our Adoption Process to ensure that the people-to-pup match up is solid, but unexpected situations happen, life happens.  We don’t want folks giving up an HLSPCA dog back to animal control, we’re here to help.  We're hopeful we can work something out for everybody's satisfaction. See our After Adoption discussion to further understand what can happen after you bring your new family member home.


  • If I don't like the dog can I return it for a refund or select another dog?


Contact Us as soon as you suspect that you have possibly made an error in selecting this dog.  There are things we can do to help you through this initial 'rough patches'.  We work so very hard at the Adoption Process because we want to make sure the match-up is rock solid. We do not hurry you along in this very big decision, so hopefully with our rigorous process it will never come to this state. If the situation deems that the dog was not a right fit for you and your family and we will work with you to make every attempt to find another pup that is a better fit.   However, we do not give refunds.


  • Why should I "adopt?"  What about buying a dog from a pet store or on the internet?


Adopting a rescued animal is a heroic and heartfelt act of love and kindness on your part; it demonstrates that you understand the need in our society to take care of these innocent critters and that you are 'stepping up' to answer that need.  You are saving a life.  Bravo for you!   When someone buys a puppy  from a pet store, they are unknowingly supporting PUPPY MILLS, which are large-scale breeding operations that put profit ahead of animal welfare.  Female breeding dogs are forced to produce litter after litter until they can no longer breed at which point they risk destruction.  Many puppy mills dogs have never been out of their cages, have never felt grass under their feet, have never been hugged in a way that makes them know that they are cared for.   By saying NO to a pet store pet, NO to buying dogs from the Internet, you’re saying NO to animal cruelty and abuse.



  • Can I volunteer at HLSPCA?
  • YES!  Volunteers are the core of HLSPCA's success throughout it's 17 year history.  There are so many ways to help us out from doing a shift at the ranch with the dogs which might entail walking or playing in their large outdoor kennels,  helping out at Adoption Events, attending or helping out at Fundraisers or supporting our other donation programs behind the scenes.  See Ways to Volunteer to see an overview of how you can help.  Then see WeCanHelpYou/VolunteerTraining to see the Application, Orientation, Training and Enrichment phases of being an HLSPCA Volunteer.
  • Please Contact Us and say you want to volunteer!
  • Can I volunteer if I am younger that 17 years old?


Well, that all depends.  We encourage families to come out as a group to help us with our daily dog activities;  volunteers aged 12-17 years of age are welcome to volunteer when accompanied by a parent or  legal guardian.   This age group is not permitted to handle animals directly but may assist in many volunteer activities.  We do not permit children under the age of 12 to volunteer in any capacity.


ALL volunteers handling dogs are required to go through a multi-part dog handling training series, overseen by our staff and volunteer training coordinator.  This training is to get people acquainted with HLSPCA's policies and procedures on how to handle dogs coming in and out their kennels and pens, feeding, walking, caring for the dogs, and dog commanding in general.  We strive for a consistency of handling that can carry on after the pup has left our care.  Also, consistent handling doesn't confuse the dog, or send mixed signals of what we expect from them.  We want all our dogs to be well-mannered along the guidelines of the AKC (American Kennel Club) Canine Good Citizen program.


Under any circumstance, all volunteers must go through Volunteer Training.  All volunteers handling dogs directly must be 17 years or older.  Children between the ages of 12 -17,  of trained volunteers are encouraged to come out and assist with canine care, under direct supervision of their parents or legal guardian.  As a part of the Volunteer Application process, parents with children of age 12-17 are required to sign a release waiver for children under the age of 17 interfacing with our dogs.  Again, we do not permit any children under the age of 12 to volunteer.


  • Is there any compensation for being a volunteer at HLSPCA?

There is no monetary compensation for volunteering at HLSPCA. You will however receive the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping save dogs from imminent death from animal control shelters and helping us reduce the number of unnecessary animal euthanasias in Texas.


  • Why can't youth volunteers work directly with HLSPCA with or without adult supervision?
  • Highland Lakes SPCA is a non-profit organization run mainly by volunteers.  Volunteers are not considered employees and thus are not covered by our insurance or under our workers compensation.
  • Are there activities, other than trail walking, that I can do with the dogs?
  • You betcha!  We need you folks to interact with a dog one-on-one for a considerable duration of time in their pens on a daily basis; this is important work for the welfare and socialization of the animal.  See being a  PlayPal in our Ways To Volunteer section.  Just Contact Us and say you want to be a PlayPal.
  • Do you have to apply to be a volunteer?
  • Yes.  We want an official record of each and every volunteer and if in particular you would like to have hands-on care on our dogs, we require you to go through a multi-part training sessions accompanied with our staff or volunteer coordinator for Volunteer Training.  We won't let you participate in dog handling care until you feel that you are ready, so we all work together to get you comfortable and  up to speed, so to speak.
  • Contact Us if you want to become a volunteer and we'll send you the necessary paperwork to get things going.  We are so grateful that you are stepping up to volunteer in our Central Texas community for such a worthwhile cause!
  • Do you accept court-ordered volunteers?
  • We do accept, at our discretion, volunteers performing community service as directed by the Texas court systems.


  • Is there a fee to surrender my dog?


Highland Lakes SPCA currently does not charge an owner surrender fee for owner-surrendered dogs.  We will however, be happy to accept a donation to help us in defraying the costs of taking care of your dog. We will also require current veterinary documentation demonstrating that you dog is up-to-date on all his/her vaccinations and in reasonable medical condition.  Obviously, we would prefer to accept dogs in good health;  however,  as resources permit, occasionally we accept dogs requiring some medical attention.


  • Why will you not accept any dog for surrender?


We would love to save every dog that we can, but due to space and financial constraints we do unfortunately have a limit to what we are able to admit.  HLSPCA also reserves the right to perform a behavioral and temperament assessment of your dog at time of surrender, to evaluate him/her for suitability of adoption.


*Although we might be unable to accept every single request to surrender a dog we would still encourage you to Contact Us, as we may have recommendations on another rescue organization that might be able to assist you.


  • Who will be allowed to adopt my dog?


As with all our rescued dogs, HLSPCA  will screen all applicants to find a suitable home for your surrendered dog. We have a rigorous adoption process that we feel ensures the best match-up for a forever home for all of our dogs.

Copyright@2019 Highland Lakes SPCA P.O. Box 1275 Marble Falls, Texas 78654  830-693-0569  |  To rescue, rehabilitate and secure loving and healthy forever homes for homeless dogs.