Austin Animal Center limits intake due to overcrowding

According to Director of Animal Services Don Bland, individual situations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Residents can call 311 and speak to an animal protection officer for a decision. AAFC provided some examples of emergencies, such as injured animals, owner eviction, owner hospitalization or incarceration, and bites.

“Every kennel is full, many of our pets are doubled up as dogs in suites, 67 dogs are currently housed in temporary wire crates, and 54 dogs are in need of a public kennel,” Bland wrote in a memo to City Council. ‘Austin. “These animals are looking for their forever home and we implore the community to consider fostering or adopting a four-legged friend.”

This is the fourth time the AAC has had to suspend intake. It temporarily halted intakes in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and twice in 2016 due to overcrowding.

In June, Austin Animal Center announced it was waiving adoption fees amid overcrowding, a problem that was once mostly relegated to the summer months but has now become an everyday problem.

“We struggle almost year-round,” Mary Brown, Adoption Team Supervisor for AAC, told MySA earlier this summer.

As the summer progressed, Austin Animal Center reached 115% capacity in early July. Less than three weeks later, that number had risen to 142%, coinciding with an eviction event in which 40 dogs surrendered in a single day.

“We should be operating at 80% capacity to save space for cruelty cases,” Kelsey Cler, AAC’s marketing and communications manager, told MySA in early July. Cler said AAC is advocating for foster homes and adoptions, “to at least give us some breathing room.”

Bland’s memo mentions that since Jan. 1, the shelter has taken in 1,055 more dogs and cats than have been adopted or placed in foster homes. In August alone, AAFC welcomed 121 more dogs than were retrieved, adopted, adopted or rescued.

Benjamin M. Yerger