City Saves Sterilization Program! by Amy

Today is a great day for the animals of Austin!  This morning, the City Manager presented his budget recommendations to the City Council, and he recommended no reductions to Animal Services.  This means that our free sterilization and microchipping programs will remain fully funded, as will the feral cat sterilization and medical care fund.

These programs are critical to maintaining our progress towards becoming a humane community – a place where no cat or dog is ever killed just for being homeless.  I am thrilled that our City Manager and his staff had the opportunity to hear from all of us on this issue, to help them understand what was truly at stake.  Ed Van Eenoo, Austin’s budget officer, indicated this morning that the results of the Town Hall meetings largely determined what programs were spared.  It is because of you, and your attendance at those meetings, your emails and calls to City staff and Council, and your signatures on petitions, that these programs have been saved.  You prevented the City of Austin from taking major steps backwards, and reducing investment in animals at a time when animals need us most.

The experiences of the last month have taught us a valuable lesson about our role in ensuring that our local government continues to invest sufficiently in animal services, and fulfill its responsibility to prevent animal homelessness and manage our homeless pet population.  The City must continue to provide for these basic, foundation services, which the non-profit animal welfare organizations like Emancipet will build on, so that we can collectively make the greatest possible difference for animals.

We do have a role to play in ensuring that ours is a community that is moving, every single day, towards ending unnecessary euthanasia. We will be doing more from now on to keep you informed of policy issues that impact animals, and we’ll be asking for your help from time to time.  I hope you’ll continue to stay involved – and that you’ll always be willing to make the calls and send the emails that will save innocent animals.


City Budget Update by Amy

It’s been a month since Austin City Manager Marc Ott released his menu of potential budget reductions, which included proposals to reduce and/or eliminate General Fund support for Emancipet’s free spay/neuter program.  Mr. Ott also requested widespread community input on budget priorities.

I want to thank you for the incredible job you have done fulfilling his request for input! You have let the City of Austin know that the free spay/neuter program, and other programs that save animal lives, should remain fully funded.  You have made this clear with the massive volume of e-mails, phone calls, and petition signatures, and your huge turnout at the Town Hall budget meetings.

Your support has been so inspiring and encouraging to our staff and our clients who rely on our services, and I believe you are making a difference. Mr. Ott mentioned recently that he has received more e-mails on this subject than any other potential budget reduction.  Because of you and your hard work, I feel optimistic about our chances to save this program, and about the future of animals in Austin.

While we have certainly made our feelings known, we won’t know the fate of this important program until Mr. Ott makes his official recommendation to the City Council on July 22.  We will continue to keep you informed of our progress on this and other issues that will impact animals.  Whether we win or lose on this budget issue, I am so proud to know that ours is a community where people speak up and speak out on behalf of animals.  Thank you so very much for everything you have done, and continue to do, to advocate for animals.