Concerns at Austin Animal Center lead to vote of ‘no confidence’ in management

One of the issues addressed by the commission was the violation of a mandatory three-day detention period for housed pets.

AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Austin Animal Advisory Board have approved a vote of “no confidence” in the leadership of the Austin Animal Center (AAC), the city-run shelter. The question now goes to the Austin City Council.

One of the issues addressed by the commission was the violation of a mandatory three-day detention period for housed pets. The purpose of this policy is to give owners time to find lost pets if they are in a shelter.

But director of animal services Don Bland told the commission last week that some animals had been adopted or sent to other shelters early.

Some commissioners fear that the City will be held responsible if animal owners come to claim these animals.

“It’s actually kind of a non-issue. No one has come forward missing their pet that we transferred at the start,” Mark Sloat, one of the field operations managers at the company, said on Tuesday. AAFC. “The only time we send them before those three days is if there’s a medical emergency. Sometimes it’s a mother about to have puppies. It’s not the right environment for puppies. It could be a medical emergency that we can send to a partner group.”

On Monday night, commissioners said the staff at the shelter were talented, but there were issues at the top. A former commissioner said Tuesday that the problems existed before Bland was hired.

“The two finalist candidates for the position of Head of Animal Services were inadequate and [we] recommended to open the process and return to an earlier process that included stakeholders,” said former commissioner Larry Tucker.

However, the vote of “no confidence” is only a recommendation. It will be up to the Austin City Council to direct the City Manager to make any changes to the leadership of the AAC.

A spokesperson for the shelter released the following statement on Wednesday:

“Austin Animal Center (AAC) is the municipal shelter for the city of Austin and unincorporated Travis County. The shelter has gone no-kill (meaning 10% or less of the animals in the shelter are euthanized) in 2011 through a community-led effort and has been at the forefront of large-scale no-kill boating in the decade since.In 2019, the city council raised the mandate to a minimum live release rate of 95%; AAC has consistently stayed above this rate and also stayed within budget AAFC’s overall savings rate for 2021 was 97%.

“We are committed to making Austin a kill-free city and have implemented several programs over the past few years to maintain the ban on killing,” said Don Bland, director of animal services. large dogs, fewer adoptions and fewer foster families/volunteers. are focused on continuing this important work in the months and years to come. »

If you find a pet on the loose, AAC says the best thing to do is try to find its owner by walking around the neighborhood and posting on Nextdoor and Facebook. Most pets are found very close to home and are more likely to be reunited with their families if they stay in the community. More tips can be found here.

If someone finds a sick or injured animal on a Sunday or believes their animal is at the shelter, they can call 311 or 512-974-2000 to be put in touch with an animal protection officer.

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