AUSTIN – A surprise inspection from veterinarians with the Texas Health Department on Monday didn’t fare too well for the non-profit Austin Pets Alive! at the city’s old shelter, the Town Lake Animal Center.
“They're still not happy with the kennels here. They believe the kennels are condemned. They don't believe the kennels are up to par to have animals in them,” said Faith Wright with Austin Pets Alive!.
When the city of Austin opened its new animal shelter in East Austin, APA! signed a three-year contract with the city to use its old facility, the more than 60-year-old Town Lake Animal Center.
APA! is credited with saving hundreds of animals from euthanasia, helping Austin reach the coveted "No Kill" status.
On Wednesday Chris Wilson with the Texas Department of Health said that on Monday inspectors took issue with the cracks in the walls of the kennels at the Town Lake Animal Center because those areas can harbor diseases and germs.
“They were talking about how we needed to either completely re-do the kennels, re-cement there and make them smooth impervious covers, or else bulldoze them down and build new kennel spaces for them. And obviously that's hundreds of thousands of dollars that we'd be looking at,” Wright said.
Austin became the largest "No Kill" city in the country, meaning that at least 90 percent of all animals coming through get live outcomes. Because the TLAC houses at least 500 animals through Austin Pets Alive! and is an overflow for the new Austin Animal Center, closing it could have devastating effects on the city, not to mention its "No Kill" status.
“If there were to be an issue with a state inspector that couldn't be remedied, we as a community would have a huge issue,” said executive director of the new Austin Animal Center Abigail Smith.
The Town Lake Animal Center is sitting down with cement companies on Thursday hoping to get estimates on what it will take to bring the kennels up to state standards.