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Austin leaders vote to add no-kill practice to City's animal code

All animals, with few exceptions, must be taken to a rescue group before being killed or euthanized.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council voted Thursday on sections of an ordinance that make strides toward the No-Kill Movement. 

The No-Kill Movement is defined as a push toward the end of the killing of all non-irremediably suffering animals by the No Kill Advocacy Center. 

According to the Austin Monitor, which reports on Austin City Hall, the approved set of amendments to city code gives legal weight to certain no-kill practices that many advocates consider to be harmful to pets. The council passed the ordinance 8-2.

"Residents critiqued the city’s no-kill practices from several angles before council’s vote Thursday morning," Austin Monitor said. "Their arguments did not diminish no-kill but focused on how such a rigid policy can produce inhumane outcomes. " 

According to Austin Pets Alive!, the sections voted on state two important things:

  • Every animal, with the exception of animals that are irremediably suffering (meaning an animal who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting physical pain even with comprehensive, prompt and necessary veterinary care, as certified in writing by a licensed veterinarian according to the ordinance draft) must be taken to a rescue group before being killed or euthanized. 
  • Government-funded shelters will report metrics on the practices that result in lifesaving to the Animal Advisory Commission, which promotes collaboration between the City and interested parties relating to animal welfare in the city amongst other advisory topics. 

Austin is known for its progressive waves and is now making another step toward change with this vote. 

For almost a decade, the Austin Animal Center has saved more than 90% of the animals they have taken in, making Austin the most “lifesaving” city in the nation for the past five years, Austin Monitor reported.

Austin Pets Alive! considers this as "a giant step forward for the animals of Austin and all of those around the country too." 


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Austin Pets Alive! states that every government-funded shelter knows how to catch and kill because it is codified in laws at the local, state and federal level. 

"We at Austin Pets Alive! believe that the vote today is another example of the amazing leadership we see at our city council and we are especially grateful to Councilmembers Leslie Pool and Ann Kitchen, as well as their co-sponsors Mayor Adler and Councilmember Kathie Tovo, who took the lead on pushing for a sustainable, measurable no-kill Austin," said Ellen Jefferson, executive director of Austin Pets Alive! "We also thank Councilmembers Alter, Casar, Ellis, Flannigan and Garza who voted yes." 

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