Million Dollar Indoor Gym or Animal Shelter?

If it weren't for a small sign at the front gate, it would be hard to tell a fenced in building off FM 510, is the Cameron County Animal Shelter.

Action 4 cameras weren't allowed inside the gates because workers said it's a quarantined facility.

However, even from outside the chain link fence, no barks could be heard and there was no sign of dogs being prepped for adoption.

Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos said it's time for a new animal shelter.

"It's not only outdated but it's obsolete, Cascos said. It doesn TMt serve the purposes of a county our size - it did maybe 20, 30 years ago - but this shelter is long overdue."

According to the county's health department, the shelter took in over 2,200 animals from October 2010 to September 2011.

Of those, nearly 1,900 were euthanized.

Animals are kept a maximum of three days, and then put down.

Cascos said that last year the county borrowed $23.6 million for different projects.

County Commissioner Pct. 2 Ernie Hernandez said that in reviewing those, he found projects that could be sized back in order to lend funds for the shelter.

One in particular, he said, is the $1.3 million indoor gym for precinct 1.

"If I can build (an outdoor gym) facility that cost less than $100,000 that serves the purpose, why do they have the need to build this $1.3 million facility that we're going to have to maintain for years?" Hernandez said.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Sofia Benavides said that the indoor gym is needed in her precinct because it will service hundreds or even thousands of children, especially during the hot summer months.

She agrees that a new animal shelter is needed but said the plans for the gym are 90 percent done, and it will help keep kids off the streets.

Cascos adds that commissioners are still considering the issue and they will have to check if the county can legally relocate some funds from certain projects to go towards the animal shelter.