For the first time in 192 hours, the temperatures in Austin have finally risen above freezing for more than an hour. Some Austinites are thawing out while others are still without power, heat, and water.
Though we now have power and running water, APA!, like most of Austin, is under a boil advisory and faces a myriad of unknown plumbing and roof repairs. Even so, we know we are the only safety net that animals have right now, here in Austin and throughout much of Texas. Most urgently today, we are triaging heartbreaking situations in our community and in shelters across Texas to get animals to safety — and we are able to keep going because of you. Thank you for supporting our emergency response efforts.
Austin Pets Alive! is serving as the state-wide winter storm headquarters, bringing animals into our foster family from the streets of Austin to rural Texas shelters where there is no heat or power. In many Texas shelters adoptable pets, like this litter of chihuahua babies, were at immediate risk of being euthanized instead of kept warm from the cold. We’re helping organizations get animals to safety through transfer to Austin as well as transport out of the area.
One hundred pets and counting have been transferred from Texas to Chicago, IL, Salt Lake City, UT, and Cheyenne, WY so far. Even as snow melts, shelters and rescues in Texas will need more and more help as their repairs may take weeks to complete. Though we are able to continue caring for our pets onsite safely, our shelter is also anticipating long term HVAC repairs from rooftop units being exposed to freezing temperatures.
While our team is facilitating safe transports from shelter to shelter saving pets from the threat of needless euthanasia or even death due to the cold, we are also working on safety nets for those animals in our own community. Our Cold@ Emergency Response Facebook page is filled with animals like T-Bug who was left trapped in a snowy crate before a good samaritan saved him and, through the page, found a home. It is filled with posts from a worried, out of state relative trying to get her mother-in-law pet food before they starved. All these people are getting help in the knick of time due to the collaboration across this community of Austinites.
Our coordinated effort here and throughout the state is saving pets right this minute from the effects of the freezing cold, preventing pets from being needlessly euthanized by shelters that think they have no other option, and rescuing pets from the worst possible outcome possible.
Thanks to your support, our team has the resources we need to facilitate lifesaving at this magnitude. Your support has gone beyond Austin and Central Texas. Will you continue being the driving force of lifesaving?
Thank you for never leaving any pet behind, no matter the level of disaster.
As overnight temperatures remained below freezing, our staff, volunteers, and community members continue working around the clock to ensure there isn’t a moment when the animals are unsafe, and we still need your help to keep up our efforts.
What Austin Pets Alive! has been up against:
What actions Austin Pets Alive! is taking:
Our shelter at Town Lake (TLAC) continues to have power, which has warmed up our buildings and kennels. Because of this improvement, we were able to move the dogs that were in small kennels inside our administrative building back into a larger, familiar space as we continue to address other onsite needs. The generator we are using to heat the outdoor kennels runs on diesel fuel, and we are running low. If you are able to safely bring diesel fuel or our other immediate needs to TLAC, please email [email protected].
Water supply and damage continue to be our immediate focus. Last night a plumber was able to safely make way to TLAC and isolated the burst pipe near the cattery. However, seven additional leaks were found onsite, so the water continues to be shut off. This means we are likely to have substantial damage and lots of repair costs.
Will you make a gift today to get us through the rest of this crisis?
Since our organization began as an advocacy group in 1997, Austin and the surrounding communities have been our home base as we perform lifesaving work nationwide. We are able to keep a homebound focus through the emergency response Facebook group we created on Sunday. Here, stories of Austinites helping Austinites go on for scroll after scroll. Neighbors are providing food and warm shelter to humans and pets they’ve never even met. And it’s not just cats and dogs receiving help, it’s all pets from reptiles to birds to bunnies! We know the only way to get through unprecedented crises is by working together. And with your support, we'll do just that.
As snow and freezing rain fell last night, we woke up to another day of unprecedented winter weather in Texas. Nearly 3 million Texans remain without power, but thankfully our Town Lake shelter had power restored around 1 a.m. this morning. We are relieved and now we are focusing our attention on the other issues surrounding our shelter and the animals in our community during this crisis.
The generators that the APA! community provided kept our shelter staff and animals at a safe temperature until the power kicked on this morning. It is unknown if the power will remain on, so we are keeping the generators fueled and ready in case of another outage. Though the power has been restored, our top concern right now is water supply and damage.
Due to the pipe burst near the cattery, we still do not have running water at the shelter. There is an additional concern that the ice and snow that has accumulated on our roof and nearby trees will bring down branches, causing more leakage or damage. Our staff members’ latest creative pivot is putting snow into buckets to melt for water, but we are still in need of water to be brought to TLAC.
Our current top requests:
To see the full list of our current needs, please refer to this blog post. If you can safely provide any of these services/bring any of these supplies to our shelter, please email [email protected].
Your gift today ensures we can continue keeping our shelter animals and staff safe, as we protect the pets in our community during this crisis. Will you make a gift today?
Our staff continues to work around the clock and assist each other any way they can. Meanwhile, our volunteers continue to prove their dedication to animal welfare every day. Gregg, a longtime volunteer, drove to the shelter to bring us salt and assist with our generators. On the way, he got stuck on the dangerous roads and walked the rest of the way before spending the night at the shelter. The APA! team’s dedication to animal health and safety continues to be a priority during this ongoing crisis.
We’ve accrued many unexpected costs from this crisis, including: water damage, pipe repairs, hotel and emergency housing for staff, generators, and other challenges we encounter as the days go on. Your gift today not only will help us bounce back, most importantly, your gift guarantees we can continue saving lives no matter the circumstances.
Last night was yet another brutally cold night, and even more devastating with 3.9 million Texans out of power. I sincerely hope you, your family, and your pets are staying safe and warm wherever you are.
We are continuing our emergency response plan we enacted on Thursday — making our shelter as warm as possible via generators, decreasing the numbers of animals onsite, and triaging urgent situations in our community as well as shelters across Texas — and we are calling on everyone to protect the animals who need them most during this cold front.
Since 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning, we have been without power at our Town Lake shelter, and we are unsure when it will return. On top of the power outage, yesterday afternoon a pipe burst near the cattery.
Thanks to six generous community members who braved the snow and ice to bring generators to our shelter, we were able to restore power. Our animals and onsite staff are safe, but now there is no running water.
Our staff, that has been sleeping at the shelter and nearby hotels to ensure the remaining onsite animals are cared for, investigated the bursted pipe and had to shut off the main water to prevent further damage. At the moment, we are operating with only bottled water and have flood damage to address in the coming days.
Our immediate focus is to get a licensed plumber to TLAC today, collect bottled water for staff, gather cat food for community members, and keep the generators running with gas as it is unknown when the power will be restored to the shelter. If you or someone you know is a plumber and/or you can safely bring bottled water, cat food, or unleaded regular gas to our shelter, please email [email protected].
Yesterday when the generators we had on site were not working, we focused on moving our clinic animals, like our parvo puppies and this momma cat, to a warm space. Our clinic staff were able to take our most vulnerable animals from the clinic to a nearby hotel. This is yet another example of the ways our dedicated staff have had to pivot during this crisis, all while keeping animal health and safety a top priority.
The entire APA! team has been blown away by the support of our community during this historic winter weather. We are beyond grateful for every single one of you, and we still need your help to get through the remaining frosty days.
We hope you and your pets are staying warm and safe. Last night was brutally cold, with temperatures dropping to the single digits. Because of support from community members, volunteers, and staff, we did everything we could to protect the pets in our community from this unprecedented cold.
At around 1:30 a.m. this morning, our shelter at Town Lake Animal Center lost power. Due to the dangerous driving conditions, we have limited staff onsite, with some dedicated team members sleeping at the shelter overnight to ensure there is help available for our onsite animals. We have secured hotel rooms for other essential staff members close to the TLAC location to prevent dangerous travel.
Your gift today ensures that we can confidently continue our emergency response plan into the week, and covers these additional costs we have incurred while keeping our animals safe in the unprecedented cold.
Our animals are chilly, but overall doing okay. We are consolidating our onsite animals as best as we can into one area to preserve heat. However, some of the remaining animals onsite have contagious medical conditions such as our puppies with parvovirus or cat populations in isolation. Most of the 20 non-medical dogs we have onsite have been moved into conference rooms in our Davenport building administrative offices.
As animal health and safety is our number one priority, we are still utilizing different spaces of our TLAC location to prevent disease spread for the animals that cannot be moved offsite. This presents the additional challenge of keeping multiple buildings heated through generators.
The generators we purchased throughout the week have proven difficult to set up. We are looking for generators that do not need to be grounded to be donated or loaned to us in order to keep our onsite animals warm. Please email [email protected] if you have any of these generators you are willing to donate or loan.
If we are unable to access proper generators, we will continue moving our pets to emergency off-site locations. With your support, we can get the supplies needed to heat our shelter and keep our pets, and staff, onsite. Click here for our most current needs and help we have available for the community.
Today the temperatures remained in the mid to high-twenties and are only going to drop over the next 72 hours. Because of the support of APA! community members like you, we are able to continue doing everything we can to prevent animals from suffering in the cold.
We are continuing our emergency response plan we enacted on Thursday — making our shelter as warm as possible, decreasing the numbers of animals onsite, and triaging urgent situations in shelters across Texas — and we are calling on everyone to protect the animals who need them most during this cold front. Will you give today to ensure no pet loses their life to inclement weather?
As of Saturday evening, APA! has taken in 11 pets from Laredo, 1 dog from San Benito, 4 cats from Devine, and 5 dogs from Gonzales. Meanwhile, American Pets Alive! furthered its collaboration with shelters across the country to arrange safe transports including 30 pets from Tyler as well as assisting with transports as far as Chicago.
After the first frigid nights, we’ve received reports of animals all over the Austin area being left in the cold. Due to these reports, yesterday we added a new focus to provide the supplies needed to create shelters and heat for pets across the community. And thanks to the outpour of community members like you, we collected hundreds of blankets, crates, dog houses, warming devices, and other supplies that can be distributed to keep animals in Central Texas warm.
We are so grateful for our hardworking staff and volunteers that are braving the winter weather to continue our lifesaving mission by distributing the generous donations in addition to their everyday efforts.
As of yesterday, the City of Austin animal services were focused on responding to calls of neglect and have delivered a number of dog houses and blankets. However, their shelter is currently closed to the public and there is an urgent need for an active community response for supplies, temporary housing and foster. To request help for an animal in need or to help distribute supplies, email [email protected]. You do not need to be a registered volunteer with APA! as short term volunteer waivers will be available to fill out upon picking up supplies. Volunteers must be 18 or older.
We hope to literally blanket as many animals as possible in the next 24 hours, and we need your help to do so.
Thank you for your support and for never leaving any pet behind, even in this unprecedented Texas cold.
In addition to our preparations for the animals on our on campus, APA! is now asking for emergency donations this weekend of supplies to distribute in the community for animals in need during this cold weather crisis. APA! is hearing from many Austinites that help is needed with pets and community animals already starting to suffer out in the cold without precautions in place as the temperatures reach record lows this weekend. APA! is mobilizing volunteers to collect and distribute supplies to community members in need, as well as build shelters for outdoor animals at risk.
To donate supplies, APA! is asking those able to make a donation or to bring the following items to the Austin Pets Alive! Town Lake campus (1156 W Cesar Chavez) anytime between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday.
quilts or heavy blankets
elevated dog beds
To request help for an animal in need or offer to help distribute supplies needed, email [email protected]. You do not need to be a registered volunteer with APA! as short term volunteer waivers will be available to fill out upon picking up supplies. Volunteers must be 18 or older.
We're also continuing to urgently caution all Austinites to protect pets from the cold with these tips in our blog, which includes bringing pets inside, how you can help make outdoor enclosures in your yard and more.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Austin area. Sunday and Monday night, we are expecting the lowest temperatures recorded in Austin in at least 30 years! Those in areas not typically ever seeing single digits or a single snowflake are urgently preparing for this rare weather event - and we are no exception.
We have activated an emergency response plan for our shelter pets and people, and are yet again asking for your support as we pivot in an unprecedented time.
As important members of the APA! community, we are committed to keeping you aware of our preparedness plans, top priorities, and what we need from you:
Shelter Preparations: Thursday - Saturday
As you read this, our teams are moving kenneled dogs to foster homes as fast as we can. In addition to using upgraded kennel heaters we invested in last year, we’ll be enclosing our dogs to just the inside kennel space with coats and blankets on the coldest days and nights, as well as utilizing our wind-blocking materials (lowering the “party tent” plastic curtains, hanging blankets on the outside doors of the kennels, etc.) for extra insulation. For our non-domesticated campus cats, staff and volunteers are busy placing heated beds where they typically stay and converting unused kennels for them to have additional shelter options.
Shelter Preparations: Sunday - Monday
Come Sunday, we will be moving any unfostered dog either into our administrative building or into one row of kennels. We are renting and purchasing generators to concentrate more heat inside of that kennel row to get it as warm as possible and offer extra protection for the shelter in case of loss of power. These are all unexpected costs in addition to the heaters we updated just last year. For the barn cats, we will be adding heated mats to fend off the freeze. They will have cubbies with styrofoam insulation as well. Staff will monitor all of our animals closely throughout the day, and we will also add overnight staff at this point to help watch for mechanical issues or discomfort for both dogs and cats.
Assistance We're Providing
Yesterday, our American Pets Alive! team started calling small Texas shelters saving pets with very few resources, resulting in inadequate shelter or heat sources. We have started a list of pets who would truly suffer come Sunday night and we are triaging for help - either by pulling to APA! and quickly moving to foster or finding other, more resourced shelters to help take some in. So far, we know we have 4 dogs coming from Gonzalez, 4 cats from Devine, 2 dogs from San Benito and up to 3 from Taylor. Our partner shelters in Dallas, Leander, and San Antonio are taking some as well.
With your support, we can pivot to protect every animal in our community and make a significant difference in the lives of pets outside our shelter during this unprecedented Texas cold. We are calling on everyone to protect the animals who need them most during this cold front.
HOW TO HELP:
Thank you for everything you do for our most vulnerable pets. Stay safe and warm Austin!