Austin animal center workers: the center is understaffed

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Workers and volunteers have said there is a hostile work environment inside the Austin Animal Center. They made the statements at the Animal Advisory Board meeting on Monday evening.

One worker said she took the risk of speaking out to draw attention to some of the challenges.

“I call for an immediate moratorium to be placed on the culling of long-term dogs under the guise of behavioral issues. This is nothing more than emotional blackmail, and not only does it not help our crisis space, but actually uses a ridiculous amount of resources that could be better spent elsewhere,” said Ashley Niels, who is a supervisor at the center.

Workers and volunteers said the shelter was understaffed. They feel management is not listening to their concerns.

We contacted Austin Animal Center for an answer. He declined to comment during the meeting.

In a statement on Tuesday, AAC officials said the shelter is taking the allegations seriously, while seeking additional resources to help increase membership.

Abby Varela, manager of AAFC’s animal care and behavior team, said in the statement that behavior issues can be “a significant issue” for some of AAC’s shelter dogs.

“As a municipal shelter in the City of Austin and unincorporated Travis County, we cannot function as a sanctuary and must make difficult decisions, also keeping in mind that being in an environment shelter for months is difficult for a dog’s well-being. ,” Varela said in the statement. “We understand the emotional toll this takes on staff and appreciate their advocacy on behalf of each dog.”

The center is looking for short-term foster families to house at least 20 medium and large dogs for at least a week due to overcrowding and high temperatures. The center said there was a lack of places to put these animals.

If you are interested in applying to be a homestay or host family, workers are available this week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help you through the process.

Benjamin M. Yerger