Austin Pets Are in Crisis. Supporting Families Through Partnership Is the Answer.
We must work together to keep pets with people and out of the shelter.
Here in Austin, 38,000 pets could be displaced by evictions in the coming months. Nationally, that number could be as high as eight million.
After speaking with American Pets Alive! and Human Animal Support Services project director Kristen Hassen, NBC shared this story about how the looming eviction crisis could impact overcrowded shelters by displacing the pets of families who lose their homes.
Austin Pets Alive!, the parent organization to AmPA! and AmPA!'s HASS project, is already seeing the effects of the financial strain so many families have faced during the pandemic. Our APA! Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender Facebook page is currently receiving around 1,000 requests for help each month, with countless owners faced with the possibility of having to give up their pets.
We help as many of these families as we can. But the situation for our community's pet owners is growing increasingly dire. It will get much worse as more families are evicted.
APA! is currently working with the City of Austin to renegotiate our partnership agreement so we can focus even more of our efforts on innovation and progress to support families and shelters in crisis. We want to ensure Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center can, with our complementary roles, develop our partnership to protect our city's animals and families.
We come to this partnership with deep experience. AmPA!'s Human Animal Support Services program leads nationwide efforts to develop and implement community-centered animal services programs to keep pets with people, and out of shelters.
What we have learned while bringing this model to hundreds of communities across the country, is this is never a solo effort. Success requires government shelters to partner with other organizations.
That means we and Austin Animal Center must work together, and be based together here in Austin, to ensure that the eviction crisis does not overwhelm AAC and lead to pets needlessly losing their homes, and even their lives.
For a decade now, Austin has been looked to as a model for how to save animals. We are the country's largest no kill city, and this is largely thanks to the longstanding partnership between Austin Animal Center and Austin Pets Alive!
Other communities look to us for guidance, and inspiration. This is, as it should be, a source of pride for our residents.
Now we need that partnership to sustain and evolve, to meet the tremendous challenges we face together, today, as animal welfare organizations and as a city.
Thirty-eight thousand Austin pets are in danger of losing their homes to eviction, in the coming months. Working together, in our shared city, we can face this.
We are proud to be the leader in animal welfare innovation and now we need a true partnership with our city, so together we can keep Austin pets with their families.