Austin Pets Alive! Saving Lives at Additional Central Texas Animal Shelters
Non-Profit Organization Helps Town Lake Animal Center Achieve 88 Percent Save Rate for Second Consecutive Month
AUSTIN, February 15, 2011 –Austin Pets Alive!, a non-profit dedicated to saving the lives of companion animals, is proud to announce their expansion into other communities in Central Texas. Over the past two months, the group has begun pulling animals at-risk of euthanasia from shelters serving Williamson County, Bastrop and Lampasas, in addition to the 202 animals they took in from Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) in January.
“I am so appreciative of APA! expanding their reach to save animals’ lives throughout Central Texas,” said Cheryl Schneider, Director of Williamson County Animal Shelter. “In addition to helping our euthanasia rate decrease, the organization is now reaching out to areas who did not have a rescue group like APA! to help get animals out of the shelters alive. Most of the area rescue groups also pull primarily from TLAC, which leaves a lot of animals behind and more than likely dead in the outlying shelters.”
Austin Pets Alive! has also begun mentoring rescue groups throughout the country on how others can make a bigger impact in decreasing the kill-rate at their local city shelters. Members of Foothills Animal Rescue in Scottsdale, Ariz. visited Austin this past weekend to visit the APA! facility and learn about innovative and creative tactics for increasing exposure and adoptions at their own shelter. Additionally, Yelp Baton Rouge, which APA! met with last year, has been successful in reducing Baton Rouge’s euthanasia rate by 30 percent in just one year.
The group says there is still work to be done in Austin at TLAC, and they will continue to have a significant impact at the city shelter. However, with no-kill advocate Abigail Smith beginning her position as Austin’s Chief Animal Services Officer in March and the shelter having its second month in a row of an 88 percent save rate, APA! feels comfortable helping other communities as Austin nears its no-kill goal.  Specifically, the euthanasia rate for dogs in January was only 10 percent, with cats close behind at 14 percent, leaps and bounds from where the shelter was just one year ago, with euthanasia rates of 21 percent for dogs and 24 percent for cats.
“APA has always been committed to saving every possible life at TLAC, and although we lack the resources today to save the most behaviorally-challenged dogs on the euthanasia list at TLAC, we are hopeful that we can keep growing,” said Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director and head veterinarian at Austin Pets Alive!. “I envision that someday APA! will open a facility with behaviorists that can focus on rehabilitation of the very fearful and most neglected dogs that we haven’t had the resources to save yet. Unfortunately, with an expected cost of $300,000 per year to create and maintain, that is major undertaking for an organization of our size that will require dedicated donors.”
In late December 2010, the city declined Austin Pets Alive’s proposal to run the adoption program for TLAC and chose to hire a no-kill shelter director instead. However, the organization is excited to work with Smith and will continue to support TLAC in becoming the country’s largest open-intake no-kill shelter.
About Austin Pets Alive!
Austin Pets Alive! is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to promoting and providing the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals. The organization’s purpose is two-fold: to provide the services needed to save the lives of the thousands of pets killed every year at city shelters and to prevent them from getting there in the first place.
 According to the plan passed by Austin City Council in March 2010, the city will be considered no-kill at a euthanasia rate of 10 percent.