City Council Approves Austin Animal Center Audit

The shelter has had to deal with a large influx of animals and critical understaffing issues.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council recently approved an audit for the Bureau of Animal Services, which operates the Austin Animal Center.

In late July, council approved a resolution calling on the city auditor’s office to report on the shelter’s effectiveness and to bring in an expert in murder-free shelter policies to try to find solutions.

The resolution comes as the Austin Animal Center continues to deal with a large influx of animals and critical understaffing issues.

Since 2011, the shelter has been no-kill, meaning it is able to find adoptive homes for more than 90% of the animals in its care. However, recent overcrowding has put a strain on the facility.

“Despite commendable efforts by Animal Services Department staff, animal rights groups and volunteers to ease the pressure, the Animal Services Office has issued multiple media advisories and memos reporting a serious crisis of shelter space, and in one case in 2021, warned of the possible use of euthanasia,” the resolution read in part.

The resolution also notes that the last audit the city auditor conducted on the shelter in 2015 identified state compliance issues and ongoing challenges, such as insufficient facilities and resources.

The Austin Monitor reports that Craig Nazor, the chairman of the Animal Advisory Board, spoke at the July 28 council meeting to support the resolution. He said he believed the audit would help “keep our shelter the most humane and forward-looking shelter in the country”.

However, the Austin Monitor also reported that some citizens have expressed concern over the identity of the non-elimination policy expert, saying it would be unfair for the expert to have ties to Austin Pets Alive! .

The resolution directs the city auditor to provide details on the project’s progress and timeline by September 21.

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