Austin Animal Center management responds after operations doubts

In a vote of eight to one, with two abstentions, the Austin Animal Advisory Board voted that it did not have confidence in the leadership of the Austin Animal Center. This, after hearing testimonies from volunteers at the shelter. The resolution says the head of the facility has yet to provide updates and data to monitor the city’s non-elimination status.

They also claim that the monthly reports are confusing and that the center violated the city’s lost catch ordinance. The resolution also said the shelter was alienating stakeholders and partner organizations, contributing to overcrowding, to name a few of the issues reported.

“Right now it’s awfully busy. We’re up about 50% up from last year at this time,” said Mark Sloat, program manager, Austin Animal Center.

Animal Services Chief Don Bland spoke exclusively to FOX 7 Austin and said this overcrowding they are seeing is happening everywhere. He said the raw economy helped.

“Are we in a space crisis? Absolutely. Is everyone in a space crisis? Absolutely,” Bland said.

Asked about his thoughts on the vote of “no confidence,” Bland responded by saying there is data proving good things are happening at the AAC.

“It’s always difficult. We all put our hearts into it. Animal welfare, you do it because you’re passionate about it. It’s very exhausting, you always have someone who thinks you don’t do it. not the way he wants,” Bland said.

Bland said 2020 hurt everyone, including the Austin Animal Center. He said the center still maintains non-killing status. The topic will go to city council, and Bland said he looks forward to a productive conversation.

“When the pandemic hit, there was no playbook for it. When the staffing shortage hit, there was no playbook for it. Everyone is navigating on the fly,” he said. he declares.

“For us to maintain a 97% live release rate with all of these factors is what I take from it that we’re doing a good job,” Bland said.

Benjamin M. Yerger