Austin a step closer to "no-kill" shelter

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by STEVE ALBERTS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on November 5, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 9 at 1:33 PM

Inside a 25 foot silver trailer on South Lamar and Mary Street in South Austin, unwanted pets are getting a second chance at life. 

“If we hadn’t gone down there this poor guy would have been killed and put in a trash bag, “ says Lindsay McCay a veterinary nurse for Austin Pets Alive. “I just don’t think it’s very fair to put a dog like this in a dump.”

Red, a Pitbull mix, was scheduled to be euthanized Thursday morning at Town Lake Animal Center.  He wasn't alone. Shelly a Border Collie mix, and  Bitsy and Ridgy  two Chihuahuas were also scheduled to be put down. They were all saved by Austin Pets Alive.

“We walk around and we pick animals off the euthanasia list that we think we can find homes for,” said McCay. “It usually varies anywhere from five to 10 animals a day.”

The animals are  vaccinated, spayed and neutered, micro-chipped and put up for adoption. In 2008, more than 10,000 dogs and cats were killed at Town Lake Animal Center. Thursday, the Austin City Council moved a step closer to making Austin a "no-kill" city for animals.

In a unanimous vote, council members directed City Manager Marc Ott to save more dogs and cats from death.  City staff will work with members of the city's Animal Advisory Commission to prepare a plan. 
 
The plan calls for an adoption program with off-site adoptions seven days a week, and a large-scale foster program with low-cost spay/neuter services.It also recommends ending the killing of any healthy or non aggressive dog while kennels or cages are unused. The plan calls for a 90 percent save rate as a goal for Austin.

Dorinda Pulliam is Executive Director of Town Lake Animal Center. She says the shelter has made progress when it comes to euthanasia.

“Our euthanasia rate dropped significantly this year down to 32 percent to 7,000 compared to 10,900," said Pulliam. 

Still  for Lindsay McCay and other animal advocates, their mission won’t be complete until every animal has a second chance at life.

“It’s such a huge step for Austin to be making in the right direction to get out of the planning phases and start saving lives everyday.”

The resolution  will come back before the council in March.
 

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