Austin Animal Center limits consumption because its kennels are full

Photo by Gabriel C. Perez/KUT

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 by Marisa Charpentier, KUT

Austin Animal Center is temporarily restricting admission starting Tuesday because the shelter is overcapacity. The city-owned animal shelter urges people to help by fostering or adopting pets from the shelter.

The shelter currently has more than 700 animals, including 67 dogs who are staying in wire crates because all the other kennels are full.

To help address the issue, the shelter is waiving adoption fees and hosting a Clear the Crates event on Saturday. Starting at 10 a.m., people can view the dogs available for adoption on the shelter’s lawn.

“Shelters nationwide are struggling,” Deputy City Manager Stephanie Hayden-Howard said in a news release. “We really need community members to foster or adopt a dog. Maintaining our no-kill status takes a village, and our city haven can’t do it without you. »

The Austin Animal Center became a no-kill shelter in 2011, meaning more than 90% of its animals are not euthanized. According to a memo from the city’s animal services office, 97.3 percent of animals arriving at the shelter are returned to their owners, adopted or transferred. This is the third time in its history that the shelter has had to stop accepting new animals, according to the city. The last time was in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

From Tuesday, the shelter will only take in animals in an emergency, such as if the animal is injured or poses a risk to public safety.

“We are temporarily restricting intake now to ensure that we can continue to provide the level of animal care that our community has come to expect,” Director of Animal Services Don Bland said in the statement. “When all the animals in our care can be placed in regular kennels instead of relying on temporary crates, we can open them up completely again.”

According to Monday’s memo, Animal Center employees have made efforts to avoid restricting admission, including hosting adoption events, waiving fees and posting appeals for families of reception, but more animals keep coming to the shelter than the staff can keep up with.

“Since January 1, 2022, AAFC has taken in 1,055 more dogs and cats than were adopted or placed in foster homes,” the memo reads. “On average, 28 more dogs arrive each week, and in August alone, AAFC welcomed 121 more animals than were retrieved, adopted, fostered or rescued.”

Austin residents who encounter an injured animal should call 311 and ask to speak to an animal protection officer, the city says. Do not bring the animal to the shelter. If you find a loose pet that isn’t injured, the city advises you to consult its guide to regrouping pets to find out what to do.

Austin Animal Center is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will reopen on Sundays from September 25.

This story was produced as part of the austin monitorreporting partnership with KUT.

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