Guardian Angel of Loving Pets

In recent years Denton, Texas was desperately in need of a new facility for animal rescue and adoption, but without sufficient city funding they needed someone from the community to step forward and make the initial commitment to launch the project.

As is the case in so many Texas communities, that commitment came from a car dealer family, the McNatts – Jim and Linda. Here is the story of how one dealer family came through for their hometown in a very important way.

Jim decided to honor Linda for her dedication to animal rescue, especially cats. The opportunity arose when he was approached by Denton Animal Shelter Foundation, Inc. (DASF) Chairwoman Bette Sherman concerning the need for a new municipal animal shelter.

The current Denton city shelter is 34 years old, outdated and out of capacity. It has a service area of approximately 200,000 people and yet holds only 114 animals. The city is not under obligation to provide adoption services; therefore taxpayer funding was not available for an updated adoption and care facility. However, DASF obtained a public/private partnership agreement with the city to build a new 15,300 square foot animal control municipal facility which includes a state-of-the art-shelter and on-site veterinary clinic. The city agreed to purchase six acres of park land and match private funds raised by DASF. Of the $5.0 million total cost, DASF raised $2.0 million specifically for the shelter and clinic areas. Due to Jim’s efforts, $30,000 in matching grants were received from Toyota Corporation.

As a surprise to Linda, Jim generously agreed to donate $500,000 for the entire new building to be named the Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center. The new building is surrounded by park and recreation land which will include walking trails and playgrounds. The building itself will be a significant addition to the Denton community and will be a model of modern shelter design which emphasizes healthy and attractive animal habitats, making shelter pets more adoptable and thus saving more lives.

The Denton City Council has recognized the enormous contribution of the McNatts as well as that of DASF. The foundation board has noted that Jim played a key role in the success of the capital campaign by being a lead donor early in the process. His generosity allowed DASF to attract other major donors and complete the campaign early.

Additionally, the McNatts provide on-going support to DASF and to the current shelter on programs that increase adoptions. Recently, their support in the national ASPCA $100,000 Rachael Ray Challenge was integral to DASF/ Denton shelter’s final ranking of 6th in the nation.

Throughout Texas there are essential institutions named for automobile and truck dealers and their families. There are schools, stadiums, libraries, parks, hospitals…and soon there will be the Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center in Denton to confirm once again that franchised dealers more than any other group of Texans are essential to the fabric of the state and the communities in which they live.