AUSTIN -- The Austin City Council will vote to expedite a master planning process of 37-acres of parkland around the Town Lake Animal Shelter called the Lamar Beach Metro Park.
Austin Pets Alive! wants to be part of that plan. The APA is a critical partner in maintaining Austin's no-kill status. Those who care for these animals at APA hope the City Council resolution will let them be part of the Lamar Metro Beach Plan, allowing them to stay in the heart of Austin.
While the barking of dozens of dogs fills the air at the old Town Lake Animal Center, 2-year-old Bear stands quietly in his kennel. He doesn't make a sound, and his sad eyes seem to show he knows he's lucky to have a second chance at life.
Austin Pets Alive! leased this facility in 2011. There are 162 dog kennels each holding a four-legged friend who almost faced euthanization. There's room for rescued cats as well.
"We provide the safety net for the animals that...there's no other program in the city to save them," said Executive Director Ellen Jefferson. She believes it's imperative the organization keep this downtown location so Austin maintains its no-kill status.
"We have a 90 percent or higher save rate which is the largest in the country," Jefferson said. "We have a lot of volunteers and fosters that need to get to us so if we move really far out of town it's going to be very difficult to get that same number of volunteers and fosters and they're critical to the save rate in Austin."
David Lundsted is chair of Austin's Animal Advisory Commission. He says the City Council resolution is just the first step in the planning process.
"What I hear is the decision for the plan won't be finalized until next summer. What I think they want to do is make sure Austin Pets Alive! has a place at the table as a stakeholder," he said. "That's why it's so important the city find them a spot at TLAC or somewhere else."
Jefferson says without a voice in the process, APA may never find a permanent place to call home. "We feel like it's critical that we get a seat at the table and then let the master planners do their work to see if it can all fit," she said.
There are other nonprofits that use this land, including the Austin Animal Center, the West Austin Youth Association and the YMCA.
The resolution would allow them to have a say in the master planning process as well.
Austin Pets Alive! took in 3,241 dogs and cats between Jan. 1 and June 3 of this year. In that same time period, APA adopted out 2,687 of those animals.
Go here to visit APA's website.