We have to believe that at one point, the Austin Chronicle played the role of City watchdog, a role necessary given the Statesman's conservative predisposition to avoid angering City leaders. This story shows, yet again, that the Chronicle has abandoned that role on Austin animal-sheltering issues in favor of attacking community advocates who lend their voices to Austin's lost and homeless pets.
It is worth noting that the Chronicle did not contact FixAustin.org to verify facts for this story, and it is therefore unsurprising that the reporter gets the order and nature of the events wrong (e.g., the City's memo admitting the possibility of an animal incinerator was in response to e-mails following two shelter-staff presentations, not a website posting purportedly leading to council phone calls). But the Chronicle's inaccurate portrayal of the facts is less important than its spin.
FixAustin.org's statement reported two things: (1) the planned new animal shelter will have 20 fewer "adoption" kennels for dogs, and though the shelter staff argues their larger size will allow for greater capacity, that claim is difficult to believe given that shelter staff leaves 100+ cages empty as it kills healthy pets every day at TLAC; and (2) shelter staff is still considering building an animal incinerator at the East Austin site.
All of those assertions are true. The City is planning fewer cages in the dog "adoption" area at the new shelter. The current shelter management does leave over 100 cages empty as she continues to order the killing of healthy pets at TLAC. And the City is still considering building an animal incinerator at the new shelter site in East Austin.
Given the veracity of FixAustin.org's statement, it is just plain odd that the Chronicle's headline is that the charges were "rejected." They weren't; they were confirmed.
If the Chronicle at one point provided a critical eye on city government, it doesn't anymore--- at least not on animal-sheltering issues in Austin. It now provides the role of pound cheerleader. And that's a shame for the roughly 10,000 lost and homeless pets who will be killed there this year--- especially given that more progressive shelters around the country no longer kill animals at the terrible pace that Austin does.