Austin Animal Center reported today a 91 percent live animal outcome rate for 2011 making the City of Austin officially a No-Kill City.
Since February 2011, the City shelter and its rescue partners have consistently saved the lives of at least 90 percent or more of the animals entering the shelter. This allowed the City to average more than that live outcome benchmark for the entire year, making it the first major urban city in Texas to do so. (View the full 2011 Live Animal Outcome report, 78 KB PDF.)
The City’s work to achieve this goal began in March 2010 with the implementation of the City Council approved No-Kill Plan which was developed to reduce animal intake and increase live animal outcomes.
“Despite the busy mating season, an extreme summer, a major disaster in Bastrop County which brought an influx of lost pets into the city, and a major move to a new Animal Center we were able to stay on course to save as many animals lives as possible,” Chief Animal Services Officer Abigail Smith said. “This is a true testament to the entire community’s compassion for the lost, abandoned, sick and injured animals that end up in the shelter system.”
Throughout 2011, the center saw an increase in adoptions, foster homes, volunteers and spay /neuter surgeries which all contributed to making this community no-kill.
“We are very fortunate to have incredible support of so many rescue partners, such as Austin Pets Alive!, The Austin Humane Society, EmanciPet, Animal Trustees of Austin, and dozens more, in addition to our very caring community and hundreds of volunteers and staff at the Austin Animal Center,” Council Member Mike Martinez said. “Austin could not have achieved and maintained this goal without them, so thank you Austin.”
As part of the No-Kill Plan, the City implemented several successful public awareness campaigns that brought attention to the various animal welfare issues. In addition, the Animal Services Office has increased its outreach and programming efforts.
The most recent program offered the community free pet identification that included a tag and microchip. About 900 pets were tagged and chipped over two days.
Pet identification is another key component to saving animals lives. If the lost animal can be identified it has a better chance of finding its owner and avoid entering the shelter altogether. The City will offer future pet I.D. programs in an effort to continue to save animal lives.
The City’s homeless pet population remains an ongoing challenge for the City. The City’s new Austin Animal Center opened in November 2011 and operates at capacity daily.
“The City will continue to monitor the capacity issues at the Animal Center and we will work with staff and our partners to find ways to stay ahead of this curve,” Assistant City Manager Bert Lumbreras said. “I know this year the staff will continue to find solutions to keep saving as many of these pets’ lives as we can.”
In November 2011, the City of Austin entered into a temporary license agreement with Austin’s Pets Alive!, a non-profit animal rescue group to operate the former shelter, Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., as an adoption site for City shelter animals that are at risk of euthanasia.
In 2012, the City will remain focused on the no-kill equation which focuses on animal adoptions and fostering; volunteer support; spay/neutering of pets in the community; tagging and micro-chipping owned pets; and a continued effort to work closely with all of its partners and the community to keep Austin a No-Kill City.
The Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. More information about Austin Animal Services programs can be found at www.AustinAnimalCenter.org or by calling (512) 978-0500 or 3-1-1 for animal issues after hours.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701