Austin Animal Center faces staffing shortages due to COVID-19

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Animal Center notes the impact of omicron’s latest push on staffing levels, with 20% of employees currently absent due to COVID-19. This position is in addition to 28 staff openings, including six of the centre’s 19 animal protection officers.

Prior to the pandemic, AAFC asked community members to help retrieve and reunite lost animals with their respective owners. As part of this, animal protection officers prioritize service requests, with high priority calls including sick or injured animals, aggressive dogs or possible rabies exposures.

“We regularly ask the community to help us by trying to reunite found animals without bringing them to the shelter, even before these staffing shortages. It’s the best case scenario for the animal and it saves space at the shelter for the animals that really need us,” said Kelsey Cler, AAFC’s Marketing and Communications Program Manager, in an email. “Most free-roaming pets are very close to home; keeping them in their community increases their chances of being reunited with their families. We have several resources available to help people finding pets, including a reunification guide, text program, and lost and found reports.

AAFC offers the following advice to people who find lost pets in their neighborhood:

Benjamin M. Yerger