WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — On Wednesday, volunteers and staff at the Williamson County Regional Animal shelter got a big surprise – a $900,000 surprise. 

"That's still hard to process for me, but it means a lot,” said Cheryl Schneider, the shelter’s director. 

Originally, Schneider applied for a $99,000 grant through the Petco Foundation. But the organization decided to award the shelter nine times that amount. 

"We'll be able to accomplish a lot with this,” said Schneider. 

"The amount of money that we awarded them is just a testament to the work that they've been doing,” said Rene Moreno with the Petco Foundation.

He said they score each organization that applies for the grant money. With their 97 percent lifesaving rate, the Williamson County shelter had the second highest score out of the thousands of applicants. 

"Their score was so strong, we said, 'You know what, you all need more money,'” said Moreno. 

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is almost done building its 17,000-square-foot expansion that will double their space for housing dogs and cats. Schneider said this will put them at the size they probably needed to be at 10 years ago. Even with that limited space, she says it’s saved more than 42,000 lives since 2007.

"The work that they're doing, as well as the financial resources that they have available, all that gets crunched into this algorithm to then determine this life-saving impact rating,” said Moreno. 

PHOTOS: Williamson County Animal Shelter adopted pets

Schneider said they will now be able to renovate the outdoor kennels to partially enclose them and add more space, so they don't have to bring those dogs inside and add to the crowded shelter every time the weather turns too hot or cold. 

"We have a long list, we always have needs and that is one thing, shelters always have needs,” said Schneider. 

A Petco Foundation representative told KVUE they're giving away $14 million, split among 500 organizations across the country like the Williamson County shelter. 

Two organizations got the top $1 million prize. They’re located in Edinburg, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. 

Moreno said that money comes from people like you donating at each of the stores. 


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