The hiring of the new director will absolutely determine whether or not Austin will reach No-Kill. Each and every one of you has the power to voice your opinion and influence the choice the city makes. Please make sure you are informed on where each candidate stands on the issue of making Austin a No-Kill community, and please write Assistant City Manager, Bert Lumbreras ([email protected]) to express your views on the candidates.
The city is very close to making a decision on who the new director of Town Lake Animal Center will be. There are four experienced candidates from all over the country in the running for the position.
Naturally, we are recommending Dr. Ellen Jefferson to be appointed to this position. But not just because she’s the director of our organization (we’d love to keep her!). Ellen already has a relationship with the staff at TLAC and a working understanding of how this city runs. She decided to apply for the position because she felt she had the closest understanding of how TLAC runs now and what needs to be done to reach No-Kill. Ellen is dedicated to increasing live outcomes as well as decreasing the intake of the shelter.
In addition to Ellen, we believe that Laura Hinze is qualified to take the position. Laura is committed to no-kill. She describes herself as an innovator, problem-solver and wants to set up programs that are proven to work. She believes that having a strong foster network is essential and the organization with whom she currently works is innovative and is part of the national no-kill movement.
Neither of the other two candidates, while they both have impressive resumes, has experience significantly reducing the kill rate at an open intake shelter. We were concerned about Julie Spears suggesting that we put up obstacles to adoption to discourage "impulse" adoptions and reduce returns. Other no-kill communities have found that removing obstacles to adoption increase their live outcomes dramatically, and their return rates do not skyrocket. We did not believe that Linda Haller's reasons for euthanizing will save 90% of the pets who go into the shelter, as she said she would euthanize for a bad upper respiratory infection and makes aggression decisions based on a standardized "test" (we believe these tests are good tools, but should never be used for life or death decisions).
Again, we strongly encourage you to write to Mr. Lumbreras ([email protected]) and express your opinion on who you’d like to see take on the position as the Animal Services Officer.