- Who is Austin Pets Alive!
- What are we doing?
- Which pets do you save?
- Is Austin no-kill?
- Why are we expanding into Central Texas if Austin isn’t No Kill yet?
- Has any other city achieved No Kill status?
- Where will all the pets that are saved go?
- What do we need?
- How can you help?
- What programs does APA! offer?
- Is every animal spayed/neutered before adoption?
- What are APA!’s funding sources?
- Are donations tax-exempt?
- Is APA sustainable?
Who is Austin Pets Alive!
Austin Pets Alive! (APA!), founded in 1997, is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping the killing of Austin’s adoptable dogs and cats.
Today, we are a grassroots group of volunteers, led by Emancipet founder, Dr. Ellen Jefferson, who want to see the end of the killing of the homeless pets in Austin, Central Texas, and the entire country. APA is leading the charge towards No Kill by energizing the public and breaking down myths about sheltered pets. APA believes that actions speak louder than words and is backing up the No Kill rhetoric with lifesaving programs designed to save the animals most likely to die at kill shelters.
What are we doing?
In 2008, APA embarked on a bold and aggressive initiative to make Austin a No Kill City as fast as possible. APA began building the resources needed to create a “safety net” for the pets of Central Texas and their owners. By looking at the reasons why animals are killed in shelters like the Austin Animal Center (AAC), APA was able to create specific lifesaving programs that address those issues head on. These programs are innovative and in some cases the only examples in the US.
From 2008 through 2011, Austin Pets Alive was focused solely on making Austin a no-kill city by targeting only those animals at AAC. Now that we are so close to Austin’s goal, we have expanded our reach. We will be actively rescuing pets from surrounding shelters in order to make an entire no kill Central Texas. APA is starting with dogs and puppies and working our way up to cats and kittens.
In addition, we are meeting with other groups from around the country, like from Baton Rouge, San Diego, and Scottsdale, to advise them on our model to help them increase live outcomes in their shelters.
The key feature to our work is that we took the initiative to think big and work hard to save ALL the animals at our shelters. That has been our defining characteristic. We are anti-status quo.
Which pets do you save?
In order to not duplicate the work of any other groups, APA focuses solely on the healthy and treatable pets who have no other options and will be killed the next day. We wait until shelters and other rescue groups pull who they can for their adoption programs, then we pull from the rest at their last hour.
We also build programs to save the demographics of pets that are constantly on the lists of shelters to be euthanized and usually take more work to make ready for adoption: puppies with parvo (we have an 88% save rate for puppies we treat), underage kittens, cats with ringworm and dogs with behavior issues. We will continue building new programs until we can save all of the healthy and treatable pets.
Is Austin already no-kill?
While we have crossed over the 90% save rate in Austin, there are still large dogs with mild behavior problems who are not making it out of AAC alive. See this page for Austin’s progress.
APA helped create and lobby for the No Kill Plan, passed by City Council in March 2010. That plan has 38 different programs and policies, many of which have not been implemented yet because the City is waiting for the new shelter director to implement them.
Even though the full plan hasn’t been implemented yet, massive improvements have been made to AAC’s live release rate, which is now solidly in the 80% range. The City’s plan calls for a 90% live release rate. When APA started rescuing pets in 2008, the City’s save rate was around 50%.
One big item in the No Kill Plan was to outsource the adoptions program to a nonprofit, in order to better utilize volunteers and fundraising to save the City money during these hard economic times. The City released a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the summer of 2010. APA submitted a proposal, but the City declined and has opted to give that responsibility, along with the mandate to be no-kill within 18 months of passing the no-kill plan, to the new shelter director.
Why are we expanding into Central Texas if Austin isn’t No Kill yet?
APA’s main focus is still the Austin Animal Center. However, as we get closer and closer to no kill, the pets being killed are getting more and more expensive to treat – mostly because of behavior issues. APA would like nothing more than to work with those animals. However without a partnership from the City or other source of significant funding, that is out of our reach for now.
APA’s behavior program is still being built and we have little room for pets with behavior issues. One of our goals for 2011 is to continue building up our behavior program so that we can take more pets with these issues. We estimate that it will cost $300,000 per year to have a fully-functional behavior program that can handle the rehabilitation of Austin’s behaviorally-challenged pets.
While we are building up our behavior program, we are able to take pets from surrounding shelters without behavior issues who would otherwise be killed.
Has any other city achieved No Kill status?
Yes! Cities both larger and smaller than Austin have met this goal, which proves it’s possible. However, we believe that Austin will soon be the largest no-kill city in the US. Check out Ithaca, NY, Richmond, VA, Reno, and Calgary. Follow no-kill news for all of the latest information on no-kill cities and cities on their way.
Where will all the pets that are saved go?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has published statistics that illustrate that there are more homes seeking out new pets each year than we previously believed. In Austin, the number of new homes opening up for pets is about 74,000. We’ve already proven that the City of Austin has the capacity to adopt the 9,000 adoptable pets per year who were being killed before we started to rescue them. We believe that surrounding communities will have similar capacities.
What do we need?
We need donations to secure equipment, vehicles, and assist in the medical workup of each animal. We need supplies like food, water, toys, and towels. We need volunteers and fosters to implement this ambitious vision, and we need the community to be aware of what we are doing.
How can you help?
What programs does APA! offer?
APA!’s core programs are:
- Rescue – We take the animals directly from the euthanasia list from shelters of Central Texas and put as many as we can in foster homes until we can place them.
- Off-Site Adoption - Having many adoption locations throughout the community is the key to our high adoption rates.
APA! has implemented many lifesaving programs over the years and currently manages the following.
- No-Kill Handbill – APA!’s daily e-mail newsletter which includes articles about lost and found pets, animals in need, news and information about APA! and the No-Kill millennium campaign, upcoming animal welfare events and more
- PASS (Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender) – a small scale hotline in an effort to intervene at the point of animal surrender. We counsel people on their decision to surrender their pets and try to work with them to find better life-focused solutions.
- Healthy Dogs, Healthy People Program – We take dogs that have been at AAC for over one month to our adoption locations in an effort to give them more opportunities for placement. They join our own APA dogs for exposure and exercise on the Lady Bird Lake running trail where they can be “checked out” for a good run with joggers.
- Bottle Baby Program- We have built a “station” for orphan babies who need milk supplemented so that we can combine resources rather than rely on many different foster homes and individuals. The babies are housed here until they are “weaned” and then sent to foster for proper socialization. Our goal is to save all the underage babies who enter the shelter each year.
Is every animal spayed/neutered before adoption?
Yes! APA! provides a complete medical workup including spay/neuter on every animal before adoption. This lessens the financial burden on the adopter, and ensures that placed animals do not contribute to more pets in our community.
What are APA!’s funding sources?
We work partly from fees for service (adoptions) and part from public support. We are growing our capacity to fundraise using grants as well as through partnerships with the shelters we serve. We do not currently receive any funding from government entities or national humane organizations.
Are donations tax-exempt?
Yes, we are a 501(c) (3) recognized charity by the IRS. Our tax ID is 74-2893360.
Is APA sustainable?
Yes, we are using proven methods of fundraising as well as using best business practices to create efficiencies and ensure success. Our amazing volunteer team of business managers and nonprofit gurus are establishing a model that is self-sufficient as possible, with additional support coming from the community. To ensure that we do not operate beyond our means, we have a scalable model that can be modified as needed to accommodate our cash flow.