Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: city of austin, EMANCIPE+, emancipet, euthanasia, no kill, no kill city, spay/neuter, TLAC, town lake animal center
The other day I was at Town Lake Animal Center for a meeting, and a sweet family came up to the front desk with a tiny kitten they found in their garage. When they handed her over to a staff person, they said, “Congratulations on being no kill now. We knew this little kitty would be safer with you guys since there’s no euthanasia anymore.”
The moment really took me aback. This family had heard on the news that in March, our City Council voted to ban euthanasia at the shelter as long as cages were available, and like many other hopeful animal lovers, they had assumed that meant TLAC was now “No Kill.” If only it were that easy.
Sadly, the moratorium passed in March has not ended euthanasia at the shelter. Every day, more animals come in, and with every cage already full, euthanasia continues every day. In short, our community is still producing far too many unwanted pets.
As you already know, ending unnecessary euthanasia will require reducing the number of animals entering the shelter, and increasing the number that leave alive. Austin has been making steady progress towards both of these goals for the last few years. Frustratingly, since the news of the moratorium started to spread, we’ve been losing ground on our race to reduce shelter intake.
Perhaps due in part to the misunderstanding caused by media coverage and mistaken beliefs about the shelter’s no kill status, shelter intake is actually up since the moratorium passed. Since March, about 800 more animals ended up at the shelter than in the same time period last year – mostly cats abandoned by their owners. (Click here for access to the data)
Thank goodness for the hardworking staff at TLAC and the dedicated rescue groups working to get animals out of the shelter alive. Remarkably, adoptions and transfers are actually up a little, which has meant that euthanasia has so far not increased with the uptick in intake. But that can’t and won’t last long if intake keeps rising.
At Emancipet, we are working hard to combat this new trend by advocating for spay/neuter and offering free spay/neuter as often as we can afford to. As owner surrender rates rise, we can’t afford for even one unwanted litter to end up at the shelter, competing for scant resources with the dogs and cats abandoned by their owners, many of which are adults and harder to adopt out.
Want to help? Here’s two easy things you can do right now that will make a difference:
- Tell 3 friends about Emancipet’s free and low-cost spay/neuter clinics and walk-in wellness clinics. Or, better yet – donate $50 so we can offer another family a free spay/neuter surgery.
- E-mail Sarah Hammond (firstname.lastname@example.org) at TLAC to volunteer to foster kittens or other animals in need.
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