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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Austin, TX

Austin is a city of 843,000 people located in the hill country of Texas. It is the capital of Texas and the county seat of Travis County, which has a total population of 1,024,000 people. The Austin Animal Center (AAC) is the municipal shelter for Austin and the unincorporated parts of Travis County. Field services are under the AAC Animal Services Department, although Travis County has an officer assigned to animal cruelty investigations.

AAC describes its admission policy for owner surrenders as follows: “The center is an open-intake shelter serving [] Austin and Travis County. We accept any animal from our jurisdiction that needs shelter regardless of age, health, species, breed or behavior, and no matter whether it is a stray or an owned animal.”  People who want to surrender an animal are asked to attempt to rehome it themselves first, and if that is unsuccessful to make an appointment.

Austin has a contractual public-private partnership with a private non-profit, Austin Pets Alive! (APA), which pulls a large number of animals from the city shelter. APA has a program called Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender to help people keep their pets or rehome their pets themselves. APA has a subsidiary, American Pets Alive!, that offers webinars and yearly conferences for shelter personnel and reform advocates.

The Austin Humane Society (AHS), a private non-profit, takes in some owner surrenders. AHS also has a large TNR program for feral cats which has served more than 30,000 cats since it was started in 2007.

In 2011 Austin became the largest city in the United States to report a 90% or greater live release rate, with AAC at a 91% live release rate for the year. APA collated the city shelter’s outcome reports for the fiscal year 2011-2012, and noted a 5% kill rate during that time.

In 2013, the ACC started posting detailed statistics on its website every month for cat and dog intakes and outcomes, with reports analyzing and comparing the statistics. For the entire year, ACC took in 17,921 dogs and cats, which is an intake of about 17 cats and dogs per 1000 people in the ACC service area. (This number would be higher if intake by APA and AHS were counted.) The live release rate for the year was 93%. The 93% figure is unchanged if the 93 animals who died in shelter care are included with euthanasias. AAC reported adopting out 7318 dogs and cats during the year and transferring 6272 dogs and cats to APA and to ACA’s rescue partners.

Austin, Texas, was originally listed by this blog on April 22, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 calendar year statistics.

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