Clear the shelters: Austin Animal Center needs adopters as campaign enters final week

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pretty much everything has changed at the Austin Animal Center in the past 18 months.

The shelter embraced new technology, adapted to the pandemic by offering virtual adoptions, and faced fluctuating interest in adoptions as people’s work habits changed.

But as different as the shelter looks from just two years ago, one important fact remains the same: it’s completely full.

A puppy available for adoption at the Austin Animal Center (Photo: KXAN/Harley Tamplin)

That’s why KXAN partners with Central Texas Animal Shelters for the Clear the Shelters Campaign, our annual adoption campaign to help find homes for homeless animals in our area.

“If you’re looking for a companion animal, we can meet that need,” said Don Bland, director of the Austin Animal Center. “Clear the Shelters Month is a great opportunity – come in.”

There are only a few days left in the countryside, but the Austin Animal Center is hosting a special adoption event on the last day of Clear the Shelters.

Adoption fees are waived for all animals on September 18 (Photo: KXAN/Harley Tamplin)

On September 18, the animal center opens two hours earlier, at 9 a.m., and adoption fees are waived for all animals – yes, even puppies.

Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on the shelter, Bland described it as “18 months of continuous change.”

“Bringing people here to adopt, foster, rescue, it was a bit more difficult, especially at the very beginning,” he said.

Dogs aren’t the only animals available for adoption (Photo: KXAN/Harley Tamplin)

Bland explained that more people working from home has led to an increase in foster care, which has given many animals a break from the stresses and strains of shelter life.

However, this trend did not last when many of these people began to return to work, he said.

“We have fewer foster homes now than at the very start of the pandemic,” he added.

The biggest lesson Bland said he learned from the pandemic is that not enough people in the area are microchipping their pets.

“We really need people to microchip their pets because even with the best pet owners, an animal can stray from them or stray away,” he said. “They can’t tell us where they live, but these microchipped can and these animals that are microchipped, it’s a free ride home.”

The Austin Animal Center is fully open with in-person appointments seven days a week.

KXAN has partnered with Central Texas animal shelters for Clear the Shelters, an annual adoption campaign and donation initiatives to help animals move out of shelters and into loving homes.

To see the list of animals available, check out the participating shelters below:

Benjamin M. Yerger