Monday, April 26, 2010

No Kill Foot-dragging by TLAC Management

It has been a month and a half since the Austin City Council passed the historic No Kill Implementation Plan, which required the City's Animal Services Staff to issue a formal Request for Proposal ("RFP") from non-profit entities to run the Adoptions program at TLAC next year. Yet alarmingly, Animal Services has not released any information regarding the RFP, what it might contain, when it will be issued, or even a basic time frame for the process.

The public has a right to know: Why has the RFP not been issued? Has a deadline been set by which the RFP must be issued? If not, why not?

If the RFP does not go out soon, the City Council's will may be entirely thwarted by a shelter management that continues to embrace killing over obvious lifesaving solutions. Sadly, once again, it seems we are faced with a reluctant and stonewalling attitude by management to implementing the policies and procedures approved by Council on March 11th--- stonewalling that shows just exactly how right the Austin American-Statesman’s Editorial Board was when it wrote on March 18th:

…”the city needs to get moving on hiring a nonprofit to manage the city's animal adoption programs and make good on its promise to keep the current shelter open for at least six months (preferable longer) after the new one opens next year…For their part, Austin residents must continue their vigilance to make sure that Ott does not permit those directly overseeing the Town Lake Animal Center to again drop the ball on this priority…Austin has a good plan. But even the best plan can languish without a champion. And that is what Austin needs now.”

The citizens of Austin must demand that the City's Animal Services be accountable, and that the will of the people--- and the City Council--- not continue to be thwarted. Please take a moment to e-mail the Austin City Council and ask that the City issue the No Kill RFP immediately. You can e-mail all of them at once at this link:

Thank you,
The Team

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not Yet No Kill Austin

Just a quick note on the status of No Kill in Austin, Texas.

Last month, the Austin City Council enacted a historic list of No Kill programs and policies. Many of the policies were enacted immediately--- such as the ban on killing healthy, adoptable animals while cages sit empty at the shelter. But other, larger programs have not yet been implemented and will not be for many months.

So if you are thinking about surrendering your animal to Town Lake Animal Center because you think it's a No Kill facility now, please think again. It is not. In the month of March alone (two-thirds of which occurred after the No Kill vote), the shelter killed 441 animals. Please do not take your beloved pet to TLAC unless you absolutely have no other option.

So what are your other options? First, ask for help. There are great resources available to you to find solutions to common pet challenges. Here's one from the ASPCA on common pet behavior issues. Or you could contact Austin Pets Alive's Positive Alternative to Shelter Surrender program. Second, before surrendering your pet to a pound, please also contact local rescue groups in your area to see if they might help you solve your issues or find another home for your pet. You should also contact your local limited-admission no-kill shelters (like Austin's Austin Humane Society). Third, you should attempt to use other resources (like Craigslist) to re-home your pet, or your family friends, or church members, etc. Here's another site with helpful information on re-homing a pet from Best Friends.

The point is: TLAC is not yet a No Kill shelter. It will get there, but it isn't there yet. Please don't let your pet be another statistic by surrendering it to TLAC at this time.

The Team

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Keeping Them Honest: TLAC Grossly Overstating Owner-Surrender Increase

Hi folks,

Some of you may have seen news stories reporting an argument made by Town Lake Animal Center's management team that there has been a huge increase in animals surrendered to the shelter by their owners since the Austin City Council passed the historic No Kill resolution on March 12, 2010. It is appropriate for the shelter to let people know that the shelter is not yet No Kill and won't be until after all of the Council's No Kill reforms have been enacted. But it is not appropriate for the shelter to grossly overstate their case for a dramatic increase in owner surrenders, as the shelter is doing.

Here's the case being made by TLAC in the news: because owner surrenders over the 26 days following the No Kill resolution are up 46 over the same period last year, the resolution is causing an increase in owner surrenders. First of all, let's just say that any mathematician would giggle at the idea that because one thing happened after the other that the second was caused by the first. Mathematicians would also giggle at the idea that one could prove causation by statistics; to the contrary, one can only prove correlation by statistics.

But regardless, a plain look at the historical data demonstrates that TLAC is grossly overstating its case for the assertion that the No Kill resolution is causing an increase in owner surrenders. Why? Because the number of animals surrendered to the shelter by their owners was already increasing this year over last year before the No Kill resolution was passed. As a result, one cannot conclude that the resolution caused the increase because there was an increase both before and after the resolution was passed.

Please note that this is not to say that Austin going No Kill will not increase owner surrenders. That may happen when people think the shelter is a safe place. And given that intake is considerably higher in Summer months, we should anticipate a greater increase in owner surrenders this year over last year if the trend is already demonstrating an increase in owner surrenders. In any event, we make this point only to demonstrate that TLAC is grossly overstating its case now. The data simply does not prove what they claim.

Here's the data:
Change in Per-Month Owner-Surrenders from Last Year to this Year:

26-day Period After 3/12 Referendum (reported by KXAN): +46
March 2010: Not Yet Reported by TLAC
February 2010: Not Yet Reported by TLAC
January 2010: +37
December 2009: +29
November 2009: +36
October 2009: +31

The Team