The City of Austin’s Animal Advisory Commission recently created a Working Group to focus on Austin Animal Center’s shelter space concerns. The Commission held a Special Called meeting this past Monday to discuss the findings of the Working Group as well as hear APA!’s quarterly report. At Monday’s Animal Advisory Commission, APA! President and CEO, Dr. Ellen Jefferson presented. Below is a summary of her comments to the Commission.
Austin Pets Alive! is the largest city of Austin Animal Services partner in lifesaving and the largest subsidizer of the city’s budget to serve Austin animals.
APA! takes animals that have medical and behavioral issues that require a higher cost per animal than the average healthy animal and care. APA! focuses on these animals in an effort to have a measurable effect on the live release rate at Austin Animal Center (AAC).
In June alone, of all the animals that were transferred from AAC to any partner, APA! took 77% of those animals and over 200 times the number taken by the other brick and mortar shelters in Austin.
APA!’s cost to care for the animals pulled this past quarter was approximately $500,000 - $750,000. These numbers are currently being validated through an external agency and will be reflected as accurately as possible in future reports.
APA! receives no funding from the City of Austin but through a license agreement does receive use of the Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) facility, which on the rental market could reasonably expect to receive about $8 per square foot per year in rent for the use (kennel), the condition its in (deteriorated), and the location it is in which, at best, is $100,000 per quarter. APA! therefore contributed between $400,000-$650,000 last quarter alone to subsidize the city’s budget to serve Austin animals. That is just for the animals we’re taking in from AAC, not for the other work we’re doing in the community.
APA!’s mission is to eliminate the unnecessary killing of shelter animals. Over the last 10 years of this license agreement, the role of APA’s support at AAC has shifted away from lifesaving and into serving as overflow for Austin Animal Center, which was never the intention of the license agreement that was drafted 10 years ago. That’s what we’ve been trying to re-negotiate for the last five years. What that means is that Austin Pets Alive! is serving many animals that should not be at risk of euthenasia in the city’s publicly-funded shelter.
AAC has received an increase in budget of more than $10 million since the original license agreement was signed, and many supports have been put in place over the years by the Austin City Council. APA! is 100% committed to continuing to serve as a safety net for animals that cannot be saved through taxpayer dollars and is currently negotiating a license agreement that more accurately reflects the mission of APA! and the responsible utilization of all the funds put towards animals, whether they are donated or taxpayer-funded.
You can find the complete 2nd Quarter Report from APA! to the Animal Advisory Commission here.
You can watch the complete meeting here.