Current Shelter Capacity

The meters below reflect current shelter capacity. Owner surrenders must still make appointments and depending on shelter conditions, intake of any animal is not guaranteed.

Color Coding Legend: Green = Intake Open | Yellow = Intake Limited | Red = Emergencies Only


Capacity FAQs

How is capacity calculated?

Our shelter is divided into public and nonpublic areas. Our capacity focuses on the public areas.

Medium/Large Dogs

Kennel Building # of Kennels Avg # of Dogs Per Kennel Total for Capacity Calculation
000s 44 1 44
100s 20 2 40
200s 20 2 40
300s 36 1 36
400s 48 1 48
500s 36 1 36
Lobby 4 2 8
    Total 252
Why did the capacity number change?

In the past, we have included half of our nonpublic building, the 600s, as overflow for our capacity, equaling 272 kennels. However, this has proved unsustainable.

Part of our mission as a municipal shelter is to serve as a safety net for community animals who need urgent assistance that other shelters are not obligated or required to take in. This includes but is not limited to pets requiring rabies quarantine, pets of owners who have been hospitalized or incarcerated, pregnant/nursing mothers, animal cruelty/medical cases and animals involved in open court cases.

With this in mind, we have adjusted our public kennel capacity to reflect what we can sustainably accommodate—from 272 to 252. 

Why does the average number per kennel vary?

You might notice that the average number of dogs per kennel varies between buildings. This is because of one of our measures to help with rapidly and constantly fluctuating kennel space—animal pairing. Our Animal Care staff work diligently with playgroups to find pairings of dogs comfortable being housed together. This is of course, dependent on their temperament and may change at any time for the safety and wellbeing of the animals.

Sometimes animals come in together and are already familiar with each other, so they share a kennel. This also impacts the average number per kennel. 

Why are crates not being used?

Previously, we have used crates as an emergency measure to temporarily house animals due to overcapacity (overcrowding, natural disaster, etc.). This practice was rare and very taxing on both the animals and Animal Care staff. Shelters are already a stressful environment for animals and that’s in the best of circumstances. Adding crates into that equation means loud, cramped space with no room for animals to relieve themselves or move about freely. Sheltering in crates also means that staff are at greater risk of injury and exhaustion due to the excessive amount of work that comes with the practice.

In times of overcapacity, we often receive donations of crates to house animals. Although these are generously given in an attempt to help, we can no longer house animals in crates. This is in response to a recent audit of the Austin Animal Center recommendation to “ensure the health and welfare of animals and shelter staff is protected and to minimize the risk of infectious diseases in the shelter.” This minimizes the risk of the spreading of infectious disease in the shelter.

What can I do to help with overcapacity?

Adopt! Foster! Help our city with efforts to spay and neuter a rapidly growing animal population! Advocate for animals at our shelter who need extra help finding a placement! Our Urgent Placement list is a living document of animals who need your help to find them a forever home. The primary goals of this list are to:

1. Identify the dogs that have significant barriers to adoption and facilitate their placement into appropriate foster or adoptive homes. 
2. Notify stakeholders of which dogs could potentially be at risk of euthanasia if absolutely necessary (following normal city ordinance process of euthanasia notices).

Ultimately, we hope animals who enter our facility are only with us for a short time as our goal is to place all adoptable animals in forever homes through adoption, foster care, or rescue partner groups.