It is a great time to be an advocate for lost and homeless pets in Austin, Texas. Last year, thanks to you--- the animal-loving community of Austin--- our City Council mandated that our municipal shelter implement proven and cost-effective programs and policies to dramatically reduce unnecessary shelter killing in Austin. And it worked. Since the Austin No Kill plan was passed in March of last year, our community's "kill rate" has plummeted, and more lives are being saved than ever before.
Through the combined efforts of Town Lake Animal Center and its placement partners (especially Austin Pets Alive), Austin's shelter is having great success. In December 2010 and January 2011, the shelter saved 88% of all dogs and cats surrendered to or found by the shelter. And in February 2011, that number jumped to 92%, the best "live outcome" rate ever in history of Austin's shelter. Thanks to you, Austin is quickly becoming the most humane city in the United States. And we also warmly welcome the shelter's new director, Abigail Smith, a proven leader in the national No Kill movement.
But now we have an even greater opportunity--- to help spread Austin's success to the rest of the State of Texas. Just days ago, State Representative Jessica Farrar of Houston filed a bill to comprehensively reform Texas's animal shelters. That bill, called the Texas Companion Animal Protection Act, goes a long way to protect companion animals at Texas's shelters.
- Bans the use of painful, unnecessary, and expensive gas chambers at Texas's shelters.
- Bans the practice of killing healthy adoptable animals "for space" when cages sit empty.
- Requires all animals adopted from Texas shelters to be spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
- Bans breed discriminatory adoption policies at Texas shelters.
- Requires shelters to collaborate with 501(c)(3) rescue groups to save animals.
- Bans shelters from selling live shelter animals to research laboratories.
- Requires shelters to honestly and publicly release their intake and outcomes data.
Simply put, this bill makes Texas's animal shelters treat animals humanely, respect their lives, and work smartly and efficiently to find loving homes for animals. But, like Austin's No Kill plan, it is being opposed by groups who would rather the public not know what goes on behind many shelters' closed doors.
Here's how you can help pass this historic bill. Please:
- Call, write, and/or e-mail your Texas Representatives and ask them to support HB 3450 (the Texas Companion Animal Protection Act). You can find out who your representatives are here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/. (Here is a sample letter if you would find it helpful: http://bit.ly/gBOliI)
- Call, write, and/or e-mail the members of the Texas House of Representative's Public Health Committee (who will be considering the bill), and ask them to support HB 3450. You can find the members' contact information here: http://bit.ly/huspbu
- Sign Change.org's petition supporting HB 3450 here: http://bit.ly/gtdGMp
- Forward this message to all of your animal-loving friends, family members, and colleagues and ask them to do the same.
Thank you, in advance, for your important help!
The FixAustin.org Team
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