Path to Austin's no-kill shelter still unclear

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by STEVE ALBERTS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on March 11, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 11 at 7:21 PM

Stray and homeless animals in Austin got a stay of execution from the Austin City Council Thursday. In a unanimous vote council members agreed to reduce the number of animals euthanized at the city's shelter.

Mrs. P, a Pit-Bull was on death row and deemed unadoptable by Town Lake Animal Center last year. But her life was spared, and she was adopted thanks to Austin Pets Alive -- a non-profit volunteer organization helping to stop the killing of shelter animals.

“She is the most wonderful dog that I have ever had,” said Marcia Zwilling.  “She is so sweet and smart.”

Mrs. P is one of 3,000 success stories that got a second chance. Thursday, the Austin City Council unanimously voted to give more dogs and cats second chances by passing a plan that begins to turn Town Lake Animal Center into a no-kill shelter.

The approval triggered a rare standing ovation. The vote adopts a host of recommendations that would reduce the number of animals euthanized at the center. It puts an immediate moratorium on killing animals in the shelter if there are cages available. In 2009, the shelter euthanized about 7,000 animals. The goal of the no-kill plan is to give Town Lake Animal Center two years to ensure that 90 percent of animals leave the shelter alive. 

“We don’t know all the answers,” said Dorinda Pulliam Director Town Lake Animal Shelter. “We don’t know how everything will shake out or what those pieces will look like when they come together, but we put ourselves on a path that is going to be good for animals.”

The plan also calls for hiring a non-profit to run the city’s animal adoption program and keeping Town Lake Animal Center open for six months after a new shelter is completed next year.

The city estimates the change will cost $1 million, but Austin Pets Alive maintains it will save the city money.

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