Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Some of you may not know that Austin's pound currently kills more than 13,000 dogs and cats each year as it has for decades. That's why we founded FixAustin.org with the goal of reducing Austin's shelter killing through the use of cost-effective, proven programs that have effectively and dramatically reduced shelter killing in other communities across the country.
So we're very, very pleased to announce that on Friday, October 17th from 6pm to 8:30pm, FixAustin.org is hosting a major event for those who care about Austin's homeless animals. That evening at Austin City Hall, we'll host "The Road to No Kill Austin," a public-policy forum on ways to dramatically reduce Austin's killing of companion animals.
The event will feature presentations from a few of Austin's brightest minds in animal welfare, and the keynote presentation will be delivered by national no-kill expert Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center.
UPDATE: Ready to reserve your free spot at the conference? Please let us know you'll be attending by filing out our reservation form here.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 2:01 PM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Our friends at PetConnection.com wrote an important blog today about adoptions at animal shelters--- or the lack thereof. The blog makes two really important points.
First, when shelters blame the public for everything (not enough spay/neuter, too much breeding, irresponsible pet owners, etc.), they put themselves in a position against the public. So what would happen if shelters asked the public for help instead of blaming them for all that is wrong?
Second, if we increased the percentage of pets adopted from shelters rather than other sources from 21 to 24%, no more homeless dogs and cats would be killed at municipal shelters.
Think about it. That's not an intimidating task. But it takes a seismic change in attitude and direction--- a major challenge for shelter bureaucrats across the country (and Austin is no exception).
Read the PetConnection blog by clicking here.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 8:59 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Some people like to suggest that the FixAustin.org management team "talks the talk" but doesn't "walk the walk." That's because some people don't know what they're talking about, and would rather hurl uninformed insults than confront the reality that Austin's staggering shelter killing (one every 12 minutes this decade) is not inevitable.
Rather, it is the predictable result of Austin's pound management's lack of focus or interest in increasing adoptions. Let's just put it this way: if Austin's animals shelters adopted out homeless pets to the same percentage of citizens as Reno's shelters did in 2007 (~4%), not a single animal would have been killed at Austin's pound.
But let's get back to the whole "walk the walk" thing.
We would like to introduce you to Sophia. She's just about the sweetest little German Shepherd you'll ever meet in your life. With her piercing black eyes, she's already figured out when humans want her to be calm (inside, preferably in your lap, says Sophia) and when they want you to run around and have fun (outside on the lawn). And at just 2.5 months, she's already mastered the science of going to the bathroom outside rather than inside--- no small feet in the puppy world.
Speaking of small feet, Sophia has none (small feet, that is). Hers are big (and clumsy), and the back ones have six toes. And she endearingly wraps her front feet around your arms when she's being carried. "Safety first," she says.
You can probably tell that we love Sophia. We really do. She's going to make someone a really happy dog owner. Could it possibly be you?
Update: Sophia has been adopted. Woohoo!!!
Posted by Fix Austin! at 11:24 PM
We're delighted to pass along an e-mail we received this morning from no-kill expert Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center. The NKAC will be hosting a No Kill Conference in Washington, D.C., in May 2009, and we're honored to report that FixAustin.org founder Ryan Clinton has been invited to participate in a panel discussion of shelter-reform advocacy at the conference.
Please join us in D.C. in May 2009. You can find out more, and register for the conference, by clicking this link. Below is the e-mail from the NKAC:
I wanted you folks to be among the first to know about our May 2009 No Kill conference in the nation's capital and hope you will choose to join us. The No Kill Advocacy Center is teaming up with the Animal Law program at George Washington University Law School to bring together the nation’s most successful shelter directors and the nation’s top animal lawyers. They will show you how to create a No Kill community and teach you how to use the legal system to save the lives of animals.
Learn from animal control/shelter directors who are now saving over 90% of all animals using the building blocks to No Kill success—programs and services that have had results in both urban and rural communities—to increase adoptions, reduce length of stay, increase redemption rates, rehabilitate animals, and much, much more.
Learn from animal law experts who have challenged our legal system to help animals: Whether it’s drafting model laws, fighting breed specific legislation, eliminating the gas chamber, filing impact legislation, or protecting condemned dogs, learn how to use the legal system to save the lives of animals.
Learn from activists fighting entrenched and regressive shelters in their own community as they show you how to launch successful campaigns for reform.
Register today for a No Kill conference unlike any you have ever been to.
This is a must attend conference for animal lovers, activists, rescuers, shelter directors, shelter staff, humane society board members, lawyers, paralegals and anyone who wants to be a force for change.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 2:54 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
For animal lovers who haven't read a great deal about the No Kill Advocacy Center, the ASPCA, HSUS, and PETA, it can be difficult to understand why the animal-welfare groups don't "just get along." Well, the short answer is because they are different: they have fundamentally different philosophies and institutional interests.
Today, we found a very well-written blog about the difference between the old guard (ASPCA, HSUS, and PETA) and the new guard (NKAC) that really helps explain the current status of animal welfare in America.
Please take a moment to read the No Kill Revolution's current blog here.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 11:49 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday morning, Fox 7 news invited FixAustin.org founder Ryan Clinton to talk about the results of shelter-reform efforts in Reno, NV, and Austin, TX. As Ryan explained on the show, Reno doubled its adoptions and cut its kill rate in half in just one year. During the same period, Austin's shelter killing increased 11% and its adoptions declined almost 4%. It was a bad year for Austin, but a great year for Reno's homeless pets. As Ryan summed it up on the show, "We have a lot to learn from Reno."
To watch the segment, just click here.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 9:44 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
For those of you who haven't heard, AustinPetsAlive! is saving the lives of animals each day! If you are looking for a place to donate your time, talents, money or home, APA! wants to hear from you. APA! has many ways to contribute, and I encourage you to visit the APA! website to see what activities best suit your abilities. A few of the opportunities are highlighted below.
Posted by LMM9169@gmail.com at 9:06 PM
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Today, the Houston Chronicle's Editorial Board wrote about the need to reduce Houston's horrific, 80% animal-shelter kill rate. In the editorial, the Editorial Board publicly demanded that the City of Houston look to the No Kill Advocacy Center's Nathan Winograd to lead Houston's shelter-reform efforts.
This should not be a momentous occasion. The No Kill Advocacy Center is largely responsible for dramatic reductions in shelter killing in other cities. Today, the nation's lowest-kill communities are Ithaca, NY, Charlottesville, VA, and Reno, NV--- all cities whose efforts were led or inspired by the No Kill Advocacy Center's no-kill sheltering method.
Yet for some reason, Austin's press doesn't seem to get it. The Austin American-Statesman has on several occasions bashed those who question Austin's shelter killing, and this week, the Austin Chronicle wrote an otherwise very informative and powerful story that unnecessarily took several shots at Nathan Winograd.
So what gives? Frankly, we don't know.
But we are glad to see the Houston Chronicle's Editorial Board take a stand in favor of a progressive effort to reduce shelter killing based on empirically proven methods that have reduced shelter killing in communities across the country. We will continue to hope that Austin's press will someday follow.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 6:40 PM
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Much has been said (here and elsewhere) about the fact that mandatory spay-neuter ordinances do not work to reduce shelter killing--- and often actually increase shelter killing due to increased owner-surrenders.
The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association recently chimed in against a proposed ordinance in Chicago. Their conclusion paragraph is damning:
"You do not hear an overwhelming call for mandatory spay/neuter laws from animal health professionals because many of the proposed benefits simply cannot be substantiated. Mandatory spay/neuter laws have had a mixed result in reducing the number of unwanted pets, placed an undue and unenforceable burden on police and animal control officials, reduced vaccination compliance for rabies, and unintentionally restricted access to healthcare for pets. The idea that mandatory spay/neuter will change a gangbanger’s behavior or that dog bite injuries will vanish is absurd. At the end of the day, no progress will be made on gang behavior or pet overpopulation and honest tax payers will be forced to give up yet another right in making health decisions for their pets. This ordinance may seem like a quick-fix for aldermen seeking solutions to challenging problems, but the reality is that it will not fix the problems they are looking to resolve. This ordinance will, however, create a nightmare for those who have to abide by it--veterinarians, police officers, animal control officials, public health providers and honest law-abiding taxpayers. Laws should be designed to solve problems, not create more. The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association recommends that this proposal be allowed to die and welcomes a chance to help the city and citizens of Chicago and Illinois craft well written, meaningful and thoughtful animal legislation."
Read the full ISVMA letter here.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 2:43 PM
Thursday, July 31, 2008
For years, Town Lake Animal Center, supported by the ASPCA's "Mission Orange" effort, has opposed bringing TLAC animals to off-site adoptions at high-foot-traffic areas throughout the City.
As recently as February 2007, "Mission Orange" released a statement to the Austin American-Statesman defending TLAC's "lack of an offsite adoption program" because, according to "Mission Orange," the animals being killed at TLAC are not "desirable and placeable."
Boy is the ASPCA wrong.
A wonderful new effort by Austin Pets Alive, led by Dr. Ellen Jefferson, is blowing the doors off of the blame-the-animals excuse for shelter killing. They have rescued over 100 dogs off the TLAC "kill list" (we assume the ASPCA would call this the "undesirable and unplaceable" list) in just a few short weeks.
Take a look at APA's awesome new off-site adoption program. Take a look at the "undesirable" puppies finding new homes. They look terrible, don't they?!?
To see FixAustin.org volunteers Ryan and Tom helping find homes for the "undesirable" pets saved from TLAC, click APA's photo site here.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 9:55 AM
Friday, July 18, 2008
FixAustin.org is delighted to announce our new partnership with non-profit animal-adoption group Austin Pets Alive to help reduce the needless killing of homeless pets at Austin's Town Lake Animal Center. Like FixAustin.org, Austin Pets Alive is dedicated to reducing the killing of Austin's sheltered pets through the use of innovative programs and policies that are already working to reduce shelter killing in other communities.
Today, we're asking our supporters to volunteer to become foster parents for animals saved from the TLAC kill list. FixAustin Fosters would provide loving care for fostered homeless pets, and Austin Pets Alive would provide multiple weekly adoption events to give those great pets multiple opportunities every week to find a new loving home.
We believe that Austin Pets Alive's great work--- in proving that off-site adoption events can dramatically increase shelter adoptions--- will eventually help tear down the walls of bureaucratic resistance to reform at Austin's animal shelter. At the same time, we can help save the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of wonderful pets every year. And if that were not enough to convince you, we're also giving away free FixAustin.org t-shirts to any of our supporters who fosters a homeless pet through Austin Pets Alive's foster program. Just tell them you're a FixAustin Foster to make sure you get a free t-shirt.
To learn more and sign up to become a FixAustin Foster through Austin Pets Alive, please click this link: http://www.austinpetsalive.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 4:25 PM
Friday, July 04, 2008
We've been amazed by the attention that our Austin v. Reno report has received. The report has been downloaded more than 6,800 times from readers all across the country, it has been talked about on national animal-welfare blogs, and we've been contacted by animal-welfare advocates from California to Florida for advice on how to achieve shelter reform through public advocacy.
We've also been interviewed on local and national radio. The nationally syndicated radio show "Animal Wise Radio" interviewed FixAustin.org's Ryan Clinton on live national radio this Sunday to discuss FixAustin.org's efforts, its goals, and the Austin v. Reno report on shelter-reform efforts in each city. To listen to the roughly twenty-minute segment, just click this link: http://www.fixaustin.org/page
Local radio station KUT also interviewed Ryan in a story about Austin's shelter adoptions. You can listen to their brief interview here: http://kut.org/items/show/13146.
You can help Austin's homeless pets too!
1. Listen to the radio segments and tell your friends about them.
2. Tell the City Council to implement the no-kill method at Austin's animal shelter by clicking here.
3. Donate to FixAustin.org's no-kill efforts by clicking here. All donations over $50 get a free FixAustin.org t-shirt!
Thanks and best regards!The FixAustin.org Team
Posted by Fix Austin! at 11:41 PM
Thursday, May 08, 2008
We're delighted to tell you about an amazing new program in Austin. Dr. Ellen Jefferson, founder of Emancipet (Austin's lost-cost spay-neuter provider) is taking on a new project: creating a Resource Center that will keep pets in homes, redirect pets away from Austin's pound, and remove animals from Austin's pound before they are killed. We believe that if anyone can pull this off, it's Dr. Jefferson. Please wholeheartedly support her new effort to reduce the killing of Austin's pets. Here is a recent letter from Dr. Jefferson about her new endeavor:
| How is it possible that a city like Austin is still killing over 50% of the animals in it's shelters?|
It is unbelievable but true: dogs and cats just like yours and mine are still dying in Austin.
As city council elections are pending, please think about getting out to vote.
Laura Morrison and Randi Shade both took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to come hear about Austin Pets Alive! last night. I am truly amazed that they found this to be a high enough priority to listen with the election so close. They both are concerned about Austin's animals and want to see Austin be a leader in the animal world.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 11:30 PM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
One of the methods proposed to reduce shelter killing in Austin is a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. As you may already know, the nation's leading shelter expert, Nathan Winograd, has repeatedly written that such ordinances do not work. See, e.g., http://www.nokilladvocacycenter
Nonetheless, a very vocal supporter of mandatory spay/neuter ordinances in Austin has touted King County, Washington, as proof that mandatory spay/neuter ordinances work. Specifically, he reports that King County has a 0% kill rate, and provides this website as evidence: http://www.kingcounty.gov
What I found is that the actual statistics from King County's website reveal not success, but instead a common shelter-management lie: by labeling all killed animals "unadoptable," King County is able to report a 0% kill rate of adoptable animals. Meanwhile, its shelter continues to kill 40-50% of the animals it takes in each and every year. If we use that standard, then basically every shelter in the country is successful and wonderful because they are able to define away their killing by calling all animals they kill "unadoptable."
In fact, if we use King County's formula for calculating a kill rate--- that the relevant figure is the percentage of "unadoptable" animals killed, then Town Lake Animal Center too has a 0% kill rate because TLAC (like King County) defines all animals it kills as "unadoptable." Thus, using the same logic, TLAC is a shining example of perfection in animal care WITHOUT a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance-- even though it too kills roughly half of the animals it takes in each and every year.
In truth, neither King County nor Austin is an example of success. They both kill about 50% of homeless pets each year. That's because neither a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance nor TLAC's management has succeeded in ending the killing. On the other hand, every shelter that has fully adopted Nathan Winograd's methods HAS ended the killing. Here is a link to his method: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter
In Winograd-led Charlottesville, Reno, Ithaca, Ivans County (UT), and Orange County (VA), open-admission municipal pounds are killing less than 10% of ALL animals. And in Winograd-led Philadelphia, where the kill rate was 90% just three years ago, they are expecting a 20% kill rate in 2008.
In King County, on the other hand, they are generally killing 40-50% of all animals. That puts King County in the same category as Austin. Here are King County's kill figures:
2006: Total Killed (4331) / (Total Disposition (11259) - Dead on Arrival (381)) = 40%
2005: 4666 / (11990 - 392) = 40%
2004: 5436 / (12413 - 437) = 45%
2003: 5935 / (12701 - 493) = 49%
2002: 6142 / (13649 - 660) = 47%
2001: 6300 / (14588 - 983) = 46%
2000: 6069 / (14735 - 1336) = 45%
1999: 6061 / (14640 - 1378) = 46%
1998: 6432 / (14743 - 1318) = 48%
These figures clearly demonstrate that a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance is not the answer to Austin's animal-killing problem. The real solution is to adopt the methods of the cities that have ended shelter killing--- not those who have failed to end shelter killing. If we are serious about saving animals, we have but one choice: adopt the Nathan Winograd method in full.
Posted by Fix Austin! at 3:49 PM