Monday, October 26, 2009


Every day, Austin Pets Alive rescues as many dogs and cats as they can from Town Lake Animal Center. But make no mistake, they leave some behind and they hate it. Thankfully, there’s something you can do to help this Tuesday: On October 27th at 6pm at the Rosewood Zaragosa Neighborhood Center (2800 Webberville Road), we need you to speak for those being left behind.

At Tuesday’s City-called public meeting, the City wants your input on what it should prioritize at the shelter. We need you to advocate for Austin Pets Alive’s efforts to increase “live outcomes”—more adoptions, transfers to rescue groups, and animals returned to their homes. We want no adoptable healthy or treatable dog or cat left to die today.

Believe it or not, there are powerful forces in our community who believe that the animals left behind are not worth trying to save—that they should continue to be “humanely destroyed,” day after day, while we exclusively focus on long-term goals. On the other hand, we think every healthy and treatable dog and cat who enters the shelter should have a chance to leave alive today. We’ve got the data to prove it can be done and Austin Pets Alive has the know-how to do it. In fact, Austin Pets Alive is already singlehandedly responsible for over 96% of the increase in live outcomes at the shelter this year over last. What we don’t have is the City’s buy in, and that’s where you come in.

We need the City to hear from you that even while it continues to employ long-term strategies, it must increase efforts to stop today’s shelter killing. For decades, the City and some other groups have focused exclusively on the latter, leaving shelter animals to die day after day. We need you to help us make Austin Pets Alive's short-term “live outcomes” strategies the City’s #1 focus today, while we continue with our already well-funded, well-planned long-term strategies to reduce intake tomorrow.

Please attend Tuesday’s meeting to advocate for Austin Pets Alive’s efforts to increase live outcomes now. We are unwilling to continue turning our backs on the dogs and cats left behind, and we need you to be their voice.

See you there,
The Team

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Animal Advisory Commission Holds TLAC Violating State Law

Tonight, the Austin Animal Advisory Commission unanimously voted that Town Lake Animal Center is failing to comply with Texas law's mandate to humanely separate sick and healthy animals.

We were particularly struck by a comment from the Animal Commission's Chairperson, Larry Tucker, who said:
“With a $5.5 million annual budget, you would think that shelter Director Dorinda Pulliam could at least treat the animals humanely before they are killed. But we discovered that the shelter is routinely and inhumanely confining sick and healthy animals together, in direct violation of State law.”
We are saddened but unsurprised that TLAC is not treating animals humanely. Read more on the story here:

Monday, October 19, 2009

We Don't All Want the Same Thing

In a conversation with an aide to an Austin City Council member today, we were told again that we should all get along--- because we and the shelter manager who has presided over the unnecessary deaths of over 100,000 homeless dogs and cats "all want the same thing."

How do we say this nicely? Um... No. You are wrong. We do not all want the same thing.

We want our community to become a No Kill city by implementing the proven, cost-effective policies and programs that have led to dramatic reductions in shelter killing in communities all over the country. They want to continue the status quo policies and hope (against all rational thought) that continuing to do the same thing, over and over again, will effect a different outcome.

We want an off-site adoption program that will bring the wonderful, healthy and happy impounded dogs and cats to the people of Austin. They think that there is no point to having off-site adoptions because no one wants the dogs and cats that don't get adopted at the shelter anyway.

We want a foster program that will expand the capacity of the shelter by saving young kittens, young puppies, and dogs needing a little extra TLC to get adopted. They want to rely on old excuses and to blame the public for the deaths of all animals at the shelter.

And, perhaps most importantly, we want a shelter manager who embraces proven, cost-effective life-saving methods and rejects long-disproven myths to justify killing dozens of dogs and cats every single day. They... well... do not.

So can we please stop saying that we all want the same thing? We do not, and saying so doesn't make our disagreements go away. Worse yet, saying so fails to recognize that there are different paths from which to choose. The path of respect for every life and the path of bureaucratic resistance. Those are different paths, and they lead to different places.

So please stop saying it: We don't all want the same thing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is the Mueller Redevelopment Austin's Most Pet UN-Friendly Neighborhood?

When the City of Austin released plans for its own, master-planned community at the old Austin Mueller Airport, a lot of people (including us) had reason to be excited. Mixed-use neighborhoods, parks, wide sidewalks and front porches were promised--- the kind of neighborhood we would all like to be a part of.

But then came the great animal-shelter debate of 2007. The City's shelter management decided it would be best to move the animal shelter away from its prime, central location in the heart of Austin's vibrant downtown in favor of a site in an industrial area on the City's eastern outskirts. At the time, we wondered why the Mueller Redevelopment wasn't being considered for the new shelter because it was city-owned property, being designed as a mixed-use, walkable development. What more could we want for the new animal shelter? Why Mueller was "off the table" was a question we didn't learn the answer to until years later: As is turns out, the leaders of the master plan lobbied the City Council against including the animal shelter in its design. Mueller 1, Animals 0.

If that wasn't enough to be pissed off at those who designed the Mueller Redevelopment, we've now discovered that the leaders of the neighborhood have also decided to ban all owners of pit bulls from the neighborhood. In Section K-2 of the Mueller Redevelopment's Rules and Regulations, there it is: breed discrimination in the worst form. The rules expressly ban ownership of a "pit bull terrier."

It is truly remarkable that in a City as progressive as Austin, the leaders of the City's own master-planned community have fallen to ignorance (at best) when it comes to breed discrimination. Anyone who has taken a moment to do a little research could have learned that pit bulls are among the best dogs you'll ever own, once considered America's Nanny for their calm, steady stewardship of families and children. Mueller 2, Animals 0.

So who would be banned from the Mueller Redevelopment based on its leaders' ignorance? Well, we could start with former Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. Throw in Helen Keller and General George S. Patton. Celebrities John Stewart, Jessica Alba, and Brad Pitt are also banned from living in the Mueller Redevelopment. Geez, come to think of it, I guess we're in good company.