At the November 10th City Council Meeting, the City and APA came to an agreement to have APA run an adoption program at the old Town Lake Animal Center (Austin’s Animal Center, AAC, has moved to Levander Loop).
We would have loved to have publicized the move more before now so that everyone could have been a part of this exciting transformation of a facility that will never kill again. We had been asking the City for a written agreement since February 2011 but unfortunately we didn’t have any documented terms from the City until just a few weeks prior, so we were never 100% sure that it would actually happen and thus didn’t want to publish anything.
We were thrilled when we did finally get written terms, but they contained an item that we weren’t expecting – that APA would be required to take any animal that the City directed us to. Unfortunately, the only group of animals still dying unnecessarily at the City shelter on a regular basis is large breed dogs with behavior challenges like dog to dog reactivity, anxiety, fearfulness, and hyperactivity. APA does not yet have a large enough behavior program to handle all of the City’s dogs with behavior issues and the concern was that we would be given dogs that we can’t handle without enough support from the City to really offer proper care for everyone’s safety. Even though we are pushing to see a Behavior Program implemented, taking on more dogs with behavior issues than we can’t handle could cripple our dog program. It was difficult for us to negotiate in such a short time frame the terms that our Board of Directors required but we finally came to an agreement on Nov 10th.
So, unfortunately, we were not ready to move into the TLAC space as soon as AAC moved out on the 11th, but the good news is that we’re moving in this week. Not a moment too soon, because AAC, with less cage space at their new facility, is already full.
The contract between APA and the City will last for 12 months, with the option to re-negotiate for 6 more months if the City’s adoptions don’t pick up next year. We will only be housing animals that we pulled from AAC at this facility.
Because we didn’t get the contract until the last minute and weren’t able to fundraise to run this facility, the City is paying APA $12,000 per month to minimally operate the adoptions facility this year. That enables us to hire 1.5 dog adoption counselors per day and a cleaning crew. We are actively fundraising to raise enough for cat counselors, more dog counselors, and a reception position.
We’re very excited about this partnership with Austin and Austin’s commitment to maintaining a no-kill status. We are so proud of where we are now as a City and we are excited about the future when even big dogs with behavior challenges are saved as well.
Adoptions will begin at the TLAC facility on Friday, November 25th. To help get more dogs into homes to relieve the overcrowding at AAC, we will waive adoption fees at the facility all weekend.