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Request that our city-funded TLAC facility be used exclusively to shelter Travis county homeless pet

The Austin City Council will meet this Thursday, May 24, to amend the license agreement between the City and Austin Pets Alive. In light of the last weeks crisis of overcrowding at the shelter, Travis County Animal Advocates is asking Travis County residents, rescue groups and animal advocates to write to the Mayor and City Council members to request that our city-funded TLAC facility be used exclusively to shelter Travis county homeless pets.

We need your support. Please email or call the Mayor and City Council members and, if possible, please come to the City Council meeting on Thursday, May 24, to voice your opinion on this important matter. Here is the letter sent by members of Travis County Animal Advocates:

As a member of Travis County Animal Advocates, I am writing to request that you consider the following four important points when you vote to amend the City’s temporary license agreement with Austin Pets Alive on May 24:

1. Please amend the agreement to allow the Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) facility to be used as an Adoption Center by all rescue groups.

As you may have heard, since March our City shelter has been experiencing record high animal intakes. The Austin Animal Center (AAC) has been managing TLAC as an overflow adoption site, and consistently has had to keep 50 to 60 dogs there to keep from having to euthanize them due to lack of space. We’d like to request that the amendment to the license agreement include available space for other rescue partners that have a need for kennel space. We’d like to see this great central location be kept as an offsite pet adoption location for all members of the community who can then come together to help Austin’s homeless pets find new loving homes. TLAC is a great City resource and has a long history in our community and we’d like to see it be kept as a City institution and resource for Austin’s homeless pets.

2. Please continue the language in the current license agreement that prohibits bringing homeless pets from other counties into the TLAC facility.

Our community is at risk today of not being able to sustain its No Kill status. From what we are seeing due to the high animal intakes and the level of adoptions dropping, it is going to be near impossible to maintain No Kill for May and possibly into the summer months.

Austin cannot afford to have pets from outside our community enter our facility and take potential adopters away from those pets that the City is trying to adopt out. We need all the available adopters in Travis County to adopt homeless pets from Travis County and not ones from San Antonio or the other surrounding counties that APA serves. We would like to see City Council go back to the original plan of using the TLAC facility as an Adoption Center for animals that come from the city shelter. Any rescue group or organization that uses our community’s TLAC facility should agree not to house pets from other counties at this site.

Now that the pets being pulled from the AAC by APA are no longer just pets on the euthanasia list but are highly adoptable pets, TCAA would like to see the TLAC facility used as a high-volume adoption site for all AAC Rescue Partners. The location and popularity of the TLAC site would increase the adoption rates for all our Austin pets, thereby leaving space for pets in need of medical/behavior work at the AAC.

The AAC has already begun working on medical and behavior programs for challenging cases, and is in desperate need of extra space in order to meet Austin’s goal of staying No-kill. By keeping the TLAC facility strictly for AAC overflow and for highly adoptable pets, this would help not only the city, but APA as well. APA has stated publicly on numerous occasions that they need to bring highly adoptable pets from other counties to fund their organization. While this may have been true when they only pulled animals from the euthanasia list, this is no longer the case now that APA pulls highly adoptable pets from AAC.

3. Please strengthen accountability and reporting requirements for animals housed at TLAC.

No-kill efforts require accurate tracking of animals for accountability of the community’s investment and to ensure No-kill goals are met. We propose monthly reporting of animal status to the Austin Animal Center that not only includes intake into the TLAC facility and adopted and fostered from the facility but also includes adoption “returns.” We would like the reporting requirement to include brief description of: sick animals in rehabilitation, animals euthanized and animals that died. These reports should be required from any rescue involved in using the TLAC facility.

4. Standardized health policies to reduce the risk of disease spread among animals and to protect the community adopting animals:

If an animal welfare group agrees to accept community budget and space allocations and is part of the community animal welfare plan, then they must follow the minimum standards of care established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) in the 2010 white paper: Guidelines for Standard of Care in Animal Shelters. These guidelines are the current national “Gold Standard”. This will aid in the control of communicable diseases, protect community adopters, and provide a healthy, safe environment for the animals.

In closing, I would ask that you, our City leaders, negotiate an agreement that best serves the interest of the Austin community and keeps only Travis County homeless pets in the TLAC location.

Thank you.

Below are the email addresses of all the council members. Please help us help Austin stay No Kill.,,,,,,

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