Today, Austin Pets Alive! has made the difficult decision to provide a 30-day notice to end our veterinary services contract with Laredo Animal Care Services (LACS).
When we began our partnership with LACS earlier this year, at the request of the Laredo city council and community, it was with the whole-hearted intention to help meet the city’s goals of providing medical care and practices that further saved lives. Every vaccine given and disease prevented, medical treatment administered, surgery conducted, and animal transported to another rescue partner was done to not only fulfill our contractual obligations but as a moral obligation to the pets being sheltered in the city. We heard from community member after community member how much it meant to them that their city shelter could become more aligned with the word “shelter” — providing true safety and care to pets that are lost, displaced or abandoned.
We’re very proud of the work we did alongside many of the dedicated LACS staff members. The last eight months have led to more than 1,000 spay/neuter surgeries (an approx 400% increase from the previous Veterinary vendor) and raised the feline live outcome rate to a historical high of over 70%. Dogs and cats that were once euthanized for having something as simple as a cold were treated and many have already been adopted.
Unfortunately, we were met with resistance from shelter leadership. Over the past few months as the changes required became more real, and hard, the goals of LACS shifted away from a lifesaving focus and back toward operating at a lower capacity for care and lifesaving. This approach means that thousands of animals who should live long healthy lives will continue to die in order to meet a regressive goal. We cannot in good conscience continue working under such a drastic diversion from the original goals the city council laid out for us to follow.
It hurts our hearts to leave so many pets and people behind but we believe that we have no other choice. Our true hope is that Laredoans saw that life saving was possible and that they will demand the changes necessary to be a humane city for beloved pets.
Dr. Ellen Jefferson
President and CEO
Austin Pets Alive!