Since we’ve announced our request to the City of Austin to use more of the Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) space while we search for a new building, we’ve received some questions that we’d like to answer publicly.
1. Is APA asking the city to subsidize their work in saving animals from outside Travis county using taxpayer funds?
– No, APA has never asked the City to spend one dollar on animals that come from outside the city. Although APA receives some funds from the City to operate the TLAC facility as an overflow kennel for City of Austin animals, the funds received only partially cover the costs of operating that overflow facility and do not cover any costs associated with bottle baby kittens, at-risk cats, medically ill and injured animals including puppies with parvovirus, off-site adoptions, or any other program APA has created to save lives.
2. Is APA asking the city to cover the increase of utilities’ cost at TLAC, which will be needed when they start using all of the space? I’ve heard that could cost $14,000 per month.
– We expect the actual increase in utility costs to be much, much lower and have offered to negotiate any increase in costs to the city.
3. Is it true that APA is going to bring 4,000 animals from San Antonio to TLAC?
– This is completely false.
- APA has contracted with the City of San Antonio to set up a San Antonio Pets Alive in San Antonio that finds homes for pets in San Antonio. That group (under the umbrella of APA for 501c3 purposes) is responsible for finding homes for the 4,000 animals. The group has already saved and rehomed hundreds of animals locally in San Antonio. There was never an agreement to bring them to Austin although when APA has empty space, some select puppies that would otherwise die have been brought to Austin. This will not continue when puppy and kitten season starts in Austin and will not decrease our impact on lives saved in Austin.
- When Dr. Jefferson was in front of Council talking about our expanded use at TLAC, she was talking about pulling easy to adopt animals from the five county area and was very specific to name the counties – Williamson, Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, and Hays. This is considered the Greater Austin Area by most city officials.
- The contract with San Antonio has nothing to do with the proposal Dr. Jefferson made to the Austin Health and Human Services Committee. In fact, the proposal made to the director of the Austin Animal Services, specifically stated that we would not bring San Antonio animals to the TLAC facility.
4. How is this changing what APA is doing?
– We’re not changing anything. We’ve been rescuing from all over central Texas for over a year, and during that entire time, Austin was at a 92% live outcome rate which is over the city wide goal of 90%.
5. We understand that no puppies, kittens, cats, small breed dogs, and friendly large dogs are dying in Austin but why is APA saving animals from the greater Austin area when dogs with behavior problems are still dying at the city shelter?
- We estimate that about 30 dogs per month are killed at the Austin Animal Center because of behavior problems that could probably be fixed with the right resources. Those resources are expertise, space, and manpower to safely handle them while undergoing rehabilitation.
- We have steadily increased our programs that target dogs with behavior problems that you can read about on our blog as saving these dogs is one of our top 2012 goals, just as it was in 2011. We do not pull large dogs with behavior problems from any other shelter so there is no competition from outside Austin within this group of dogs.
- In 2009 we saved 174 large adult dogs from AAC, in 2010 we saved 343 large adult dogs from AAC, in 2011 we saved 376 large adult dogs, and so far in 2012, we have saved 134. We are steadily increasing the number we can accommodate even though we are pulling easier to handle/house/adopt animals from other counties.
- To handle the volume increase in large dogs needing some behavior modification/rehabilitation, we would need a behaviorist on staff, a facility that is designed to not let them deteriorate (doesn’t have to be fancy- just functional), enough staff to walk them twice a day without endangering the public, as well as to provide exercise and training for at least 1-2 hours per day. This is expensive and we conservatively estimate the cost to be about $500 per animal. We are committed to saving these dogs and we will need financial help to get there. It would cost us $180,000 to just care for the dogs that we are not yet able to get out of the shelter alive.
6. Does your proposal mean that no other animal rescue groups could use the TLAC space?
-Absolutely not! We’d love to work together with other animal rescue groups in the TLAC space – there is plenty of it.
7. Why are we asking for help?
–We are asking for help 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 when we lose our building. The number of Austin lives we saved prior to having a building was much lower and the city does not have the programs in place to save the difference should our numbers decline.
8. What has APA done so far with life-saving at the TLAC space?
– We’re so glad you asked!
In our first quarter, we adopted out 355 dogs and cats from the City of Austin and saved an additional 117 dogs compared to the same period last year. Please see our Report Card for more details.
9. Where are the specifics of the proposal?
–View our proposal to the City of Austin here.