A Letter From Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive!
Since 2008, Austin Pets Alive! has worked to provide a safety net for Austin’s most vulnerable animals. In the past 10 years, with the support of our community, APA! has saved over 50,000 lives and Austin has become the largest No Kill city in the nation. The American Pets Alive! (AmPA!) conference and the Maddie’s® Lifesaving Academy were specifically created in conjunction with Austin Animal Center (AAC), to reach a broader audience to share these tactics that increased lifesaving very quickly here in Austin. Our efforts began in Austin, grew to supporting all of Central Texas, and has now spread throughout the state of Texas, and beyond.
Just a few weeks ago, the day after the AmPA! conference, APA! and AAC hosted an all day Maddie’s Shelter Leadership Intensive where shelters and municipalities from most of the state of Texas were represented. Palm Valley Animal Center (PVAC) was the second largest intake shelter present, taking in roughly 32,000 dogs and cats per year. As a result of the Intensive, we have been able to work closely with PVAC as they work to rise above a 30% save rate. The fact that they were present and invested is a huge sign that they are striving to make change. We believe they can do it and we, along with Best Friends Animal Society, are working very hard to help them. And #ThanksToMaddie and their investment in the Maddie’s® Lifesaving Academy at Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center, we are now able to offer hands-on support to them.
Our Maddie’s® Lifesaving Academy Clinic Director, Cat Program Director, Neonatal Director, and both Leadership Directors (myself and Interim Chief Animal Services Officer Lee Ann Shenefiel) as well as some long term APA! staffers and volunteers, will be heading there next week, on March 12, to work on these first three strategies to increase live release immediately:
We know that there has been a lot of press around PVAC and we understand and applaud the need for change makers. Instead of putting their heads in the sand, PVAC is working hard to make that change, and we are excited to be a part of it.
The support APA! has received over the past ten years has made it possible to save over 50,000 lives and allows us to now empower communities beyond the Austin area. 2018 is going to be a better year for Texas pets!
Executive Director, Austin Pets Alive!
Maddie’s® Co-Director of Lifesaving Leadership