Thursday, February 18, 2010

Call Off the Dogs! The Austin Humane Society's "Action Alert" Is False

Hello Animal Advocates,

For reasons we do not understand, the Austin Humane Society has embarked on a campaign to save the new animal shelter. Here's the problem: IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE SAVED. It is not on the chopping block. It is not being delayed. What they are communicating is pure fantasy.

Here are the facts: the shelter management asked the City Council to officially sign off on the construction contract for the new shelter in February 2010. But because the shelter management had neglected its duty to prepare a design for the future use of the current shelter as part of that process, the vote was postponed to the very next meeting (March 2010) to give the shelter management time to do their job and put together a complete plan as they have been repeatedly instructed to do by the City Council. That is all that happened.

Here is a second key fact: delaying the vote on the construction contract by one month will not delay the construction of the shelter. Construction will not begin any later as a result of the delay caused by the shelter staff in failing to meet their obligations.

Here is a third key fact: the shelter management is at fault for this delay. That's the same shelter management that the Austin Humane Society has publicly embraced time and time again. Why on earth would they bombard Council with incorrect e-mails given that their own ally caused the delay?

Don't believe us? Then listen to Austin's Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, a proven and dedicated advocate for Austin's animals, who released this statement:

"Dear Sirs and Madams,

Thank you for your emails. We truly appreciate your concern for our new animal shelter and the welfare of our animals in Austin.

Unfortunately, and irresponsibly, you have been given incomplete, inaccurate or out of context information.

This council took no action, what-so-ever, to delay the construction of the new shelter. Any info to the contrary is simply false. Staff postponed an agenda item, to be brought back in March, regarding the construction of the new shelter. That item will come back and it will occur in March 2010. Construction will begin on time and the project will go as plan.

The reason for postponing the item is due to the fact that council gave explicit direction that our new shelter "will not" open without a full adoption facility in operation at the current TLAC site. The integrated plan to improve live outcomes will come before the Health and Human Service Council Sub Committee in early March and then to council at the very next available meeting. Once this occurs and all commitments have been adhered to, the item to proceed with the new shelter construction will occur on time.

This council remains committed to our animal welfare issues and we will continue to do all that we can to improve live outcomes and proceed with our, citizen granted, state of the art animal shelter. But we will do it with a comprehensive approach to achieve all of our goals in this regard.

Please feel free to forward this to the entire animal welfare community so all can be fully informed.

Any other info that is different from what has been provided only exist to serve a specific political agenda and should be corrected immediately.



So what should you do? First, ignore the Austin Humane Society's alert; they are just wrong on this issue as a matter of fact. Second, stop sending the Austin City Council e-mails complaining about the shelter being delayed when that is not remotely true. If anything, commend the Mayor Pro Tem and the rest of the Austin City Council for enforcing their mandate that an Adoption Center remain open at the current shelter location when the new shelter opens in East Austin.

With kindest regards,

The Team

Monday, February 01, 2010

Animal Animal Advisory Commission Passes No Kill Implementation Plan

GREAT NEWS! After a five-hour marathon meeting yesterday, the Austin Animal Advisory Commission passed an implementation plan to make Austin a No Kill City. The pillars of the plan are: (1) Rewriting the mission of Animal Services to embrace lifesaving as a core goal; (2) Partnering with Austin Pets Alive to operate the City's Adoption Program (including the operation of 4 off-site adoption locations 7 days a week); (3) Saving ALL existing buildings at the current TLAC site for adoptions purposes once the new shelter in East Austin is built; and (4) Enhancing community spay/neuter efforts by partnering with Emancipet.

This is a great plan and is endorsed by Austin's animal-welfare community and its leaders. The next step is to convince the Austin City Council to pass it. We'll post a link to the plan as soon as we receive a final copy.