Group Aims to Make Austin "No-Kill", Unhappy with City's 50 Percent Euthanasia Rate
AUSTIN, November 29, 2008 – A local nonprofit working to make Austin a "no-kill" city says it has rescued nearly 700 animals from the City of Austin's Town Lake Animal Center. Nearly all of the animals pulled had been slated for euthanasia by the city shelter. The group has placed them in permanent and foster homes.
Austin Pets Alive! is averaging nearly 140 successful pet adoptions per month, making a dent in the overall percentage of animals killed at TLAC. In July, solely due to APA!'s efforts, Town Lake Animal Center reaped the benefits of its most successful month: the number of dogs euthanized decreased by 25 percent.
Austin Pets Alive! volunteers work closely with Town Lake Animal Center. The city shelter euthanizes 30-50 animals per day. Each night, the next day's list of animals slated for euthanasia is prepared and APA! is given permission to see those animals that have no alternatives. APA! pulls the ones that are easy to place into homes through their offsite adoption program.
"We are thrilled that we are making a difference but for every pet we are able to save, we have to leave so many behind to die," said Dr. Ellen Jefferson, local veterinarian and president of Austin Pets Alive!
She said the organization is working on fundraising and marketing programs in an effort to raise awareness within the community. It has set an ambitious goal for 2009: opening an Austin Pets Alive! Resource Center to make room for the animals that are currently left behind. The Resource Center will also focus on helping people on the brink of surrendering their pet to the shelter.
"These goals are aggressive, but we are optimistic that we'll be able to expand our program as the word gets out about us," Dr. Jefferson said. "We don't believe the Austin community is happy with the number of animals we're allowing to die every year. We think Austinites want to do better than this and we are providing a vehicle to make that happen."
"People want to adopt pets, but they don't necessarily like going to the city shelter because they don't want to see the faces of the animals that might die." says Palmer Neuhaus, Volunteer Operations Director for APA!
Austin Pets Alive! remedies this problem by having several adoption sites throughout Austin and only bringing animals out that have already been pulled from TLAC. People looking for a location near them can find all sites and times at www.austinpetsalive.org.
APA! hopes to bridge the gap between the 12,190 animals that were euthanized in Austin last year and the 75,000 new homes that become available each year seeking a pet.
Austin Pets Alive! is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to making Austin a no-kill city. The organization's purpose is to help people help pets in two ways: to provide the services needed to save the lives of the more than 12,000 pets killed each year at the City of Austin Town Lake Animal Center and to prevent them from getting there in the first place. The volunteers of APA! believe Austin's kill rate of 50 percent is unacceptable and does not reflect the progressive spirit of its city's residents.