We just wrapped up our third full month at the Town Lake Animal Center location and would love to share our life-saving successes.
Just 3 months of using this location as an overflow facility for the City of Austin has resulted in 355 adoptions! And in these three months, we were able to save 117 more dogs from the City of Austin’s Animal Center than in the same period last year!
Here are the adoption numbers by month:
Nov 25th – Dec. 31st:
In November, the city of Austin contracted with Austin Pets Alive on the day that the City moved out of the old Town Lake Animal Center. We were offered a stipend, set by the City at $12,000 per month, to care for the estimated increase in number of animals we agreed to house as overflow. The contract had a minimum of 30 dogs and a maximum of 60 dogs. We have chosen to operate near capacity at 60 dogs. The financial arrangement was made because there was no time to fundraise to cover it ourselves due to the late contract date.
We are paid $12,000 per month to operate the facility, a figure that was determined by Abigail Smith, Chief Animal Services Director for the City of Austin, as it was how much she said it would cost her to staff it (11am-7pm daily but no additional care for walking, cleaning in the morning or medical/behavioral care for the animals) and we were asked to do it as a safety net for overflow during the transition.
The TLAC operations in actuality costs us about $18,000 per month (without our amazing volunteer corps, this number would be much higher) and the City compensates us at $12,000. We supplement the fee paid by the city with privately raised funds and adoption fees. The $18,000 per month operational costs do not include any medical care we provide to the animals which runs about $100 per animal and is our burden, not the city’s.
Since at least 50% of the animals housed there are from the last group of animals to survive their stay at the City shelter, the large dogs with behavior problems, our adoption fees are often heavily discounted and we offer training packages, at our expense through local trainers, to adopters. We also pay to have these pets undergo training and behavior modification through local trainers at our expense as well.
In this three month period, we have adopted out 355 dogs and cats at a cost to the City of $39,000 ($3,000 for the last week of November, and $12,000 in the months of December, January, and February) for an average cost of $110 per animal saved.
(The City is also covering the costs of utilities at TLAC, which run about $8k/month.)
Regarding our request to use the whole TLAC facility for our operations when we lose our headquarters in May, the answer is simple. We are asking for use of the vacant space because we are certain No Kill is at immediate risk if we are unable to continue saving the same number of lives from Austin that we have been caring for at our Manchaca facility. The number of Austin lives we saved prior to having the Manchaca building was much lower (Austin had a live release rate of only 81% when Austin Pets Alive had no building to house the programs compared to the 92% it has today) and the city does not have the same programs anywhere else in the city to save the difference should APA’s numbers decline as a result of the loss of Manchaca.
(In our proposal, we have offered to pay for the increase in utility costs that may occur when using all of the space so that Austin taxpayers won’t have to pay anything for us to save lives of animals from outside Travis County.)
* Cat intake at Austin’s Animal Center this winter was at an all-time low so very few cats have needed rescue from AAC. With the start of kitten season this month, we expect the need for us to rescue cats from AAC to increase dramatically in the warmer months.