Thursday, May 08, 2008

Austin Pets Alive! Resource Center: The Future of Austin's Pound?

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:

Dear Austin,

How is it possible that a city like Austin is still killing over 50% of the animals in it's shelters?

ImageIt is unbelievable but true: dogs and cats just like yours and mine are still dying in Austin.

Just today I read about a young husky mix with a wonderful temperament and good behavior, who will likely get euthanized because he won't be given the opportunity to get adopted.

I am tired of being heartbroken every day for these animals wishing I could do something more for them. Aren't you?

For those of you that don't know me, I founded EmanciPET Spay/Neuter Clinic in 1999 because I believed that spay/neuter was the only answer to the problem of too many pets being euthanized in our animal shelters. I still believe that spay/neuter is an integral piece if the No Kill recipe. EmanciPET is doing a great job getting over 80,000 animals fixed in and around Austin. However, I no longer believe that it is the only piece needed to create a No Kill city. One reason is that there are now statistics that show that there are many more homes available for a new pet each year than the number of animals we kill in animal shelters. Spay/neuter is still a cornerstone but there is more that needs to be done.

As I have gotten to know the shelter system better over the years, I have come to realize that a community like Austin could have a shelter that does better in terms of life saving. Does that mean that I think Town Lake Animal Center is bad? No, I actually think that the fact that the city funded shelter is charged with animal control rather than animal welfare makes it impossible for our city to think in terms of "no kill". Austin is lucky enough to have a Humane Society that saves about 2500 animals a year. While this is definitely admirable, we need more animals saved.

I recently joined Austin Pets Alive! as President because I don't want to wait for our city government to change the mission of TLAC. I don't want to wait the years it will take to build a new city shelter that might be able to save more animals. I am not the only one that doesn't want to wait- the 13,000+ pets killed each year don't want to wait either. I believe Austin Pets Alive! is the organization that can make this happen.

Austin Pets Alive!'s mission is to promote and provide the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals in Austin. APA! has been creating smaller safety nets for pets for 10 years. With that mission in mind and the massive amount of work that needs to occur to get Austin to No Kill, I am asking you to help Austin Pets Alive! create a facility that can temporarily shelter all the animals that need our care so they don't have to go to TLAC. Help us create the facility that will implement life saving programs. The Austin Pets Alive! Resource Center will focus on prevention, retention, and adoption with innovative, efficient, and most importantly life-focused procedures.

Please join me in solving this problem NOW. We can do it. Our organization is run solely by dedicated volunteers. The amount of time and energy our dedicated volunteers are spending on this project is astounding. We need more people to help. If we all pitch in, I have no doubt that Austin, over every other place in America, can become No Kill in a very short period of time.

I am bringing to the table the background and expertise to implement the operations. I need you to help APA! by donating for a building, volunteering to help implement these life saving programs NOW, and spreading the word so that all of Austin knows about our plans. There is hope for these pets, we just have to unite and make it happen. Let's stop the daily killing of 30+ animals at our shelters.

Ellen Jefferson, DVM
Austin Pets Alive! President

PS With as little as a $50 donation, we can save one animal today and find it a new home using our PASS program (read below). With a bigger donation, we can continue to grow our fund to move into a facility where we can actually shelter animals and not rely solely on foster homes.

Read about some of the programs that are already in place with Austin Pets Alive!:

1. Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender- a program run entirely on foster/volunteer time that gives owners a chance to place their pet using our adoption locations such as PetSmart and Petco. This creates outlets so animals don't have to go to TLAC where they will likely die.

2. Thanks to APA! and the working relationship we have with Town Lake Animal Center, the TLAC long-stay adoption dogs get a chance at off site adoptions before their time is up. We are able to take these animals, that would be euthanized due to time constraints, out to get adopted.

3. Rescue- due to the wonderful (but very few so far) foster homes we have, we have been able to take puppies and dogs from TLAC that would normally be euthanized for minor skin problems. Our foster homes give them the time they need (we provide the medications) and they are good to go in as little as 2 weeks (and highly adoptable!). We know that by choosing animals that would be slated for euthanasia, we can decrease the number of animals killed at TLAC.

Just imagine how many animals Austin Pets Alive! could save with a facility!

Click here to get involved!

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.