Austin Animal Center

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The Austin Animal Center is finally fully staffed: Tawny Hammond, who just moved to Austin from Fairfax, Virginia, has taken over as the city's new Chief Animal Services Officer. 

Hammond's new job involves getting to know her bosses on the Austin City Council, like East Austin representative Ora Houston. Recently, after meeting some of the staff, Hammond sat with Houston to learn about the specific animal needs of the council member's East Austin district. Hammond says she's learned some districts in Austin have a large number of homeless animals. 

Hammond says there are three things she wants to do in her new role.

KUT News

It's another busy day at the City of Austin's Animal Center.

This Monday there were 1,149 animals in inventory. About 600 were on site, the rest are in foster homes.

On her desk, Chief Animal Services Officer Abigail Smith has what looks like a police badge. It's there because she's a chief. But beyond that, Smith says it gets her access she couldn't get otherwise. "For example," Smith says, "it came in handy when we were responding to the Bastrop fires … Those were federally protected lines and you needed credentials to get through."

KUT News

Good morning. Austin’s in for a sunny and mild day according to the National Weather Service, with highs in the low to mid-60s.

Lead Story: Despite crowded conditions and a longer-than-expected “kitten season,” the Austin Animal Center finished 2012 with its “no-kill” record intact.

The city shelter ended the fourth quarter of 2012 with a 91 percent live outcome rate. The no-kill benchmark is a 90 percent live outcome rate.

City of Austin

The Celebration

The City of Austin’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march kicks off at 9 a.m.

The march will begin at the MLK statue on the University of Texas at Austin campus—near Speedway and West 23rd Street. Marchers will make their way to the State Capitol to see a Gospel music performance by Sweet Home Baptist Church Choir. Then, participants will walk down 11th Street to Huston-Tillotson University.

Several roads will be temporarily shut down to make way for the procession—including San Jacinto Boulevard on the UT campus, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between San Jacinto and Congress Avenue, Congress Avenue north of the capitol and 11th Street between Congress and Chalmers Avenue.

Austin Animal Center

Austin Animal Center is urging residents to “cast a ballot for companionship” on Election Day this Tuesday.

Tomorrow marks the final day of the center’s “Elect to Adopt a Homeless Animal” campaign, which launched on Thursday, November 1. As a part of the campaign, Austin Animal Center is waiving adoption fees for all dogs and cats. Adopted animals will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and equipped with a collar and tag.  

KUT News

The Austin Animal Center is once again deluged with dogs and cats – many of them separated from their owners due to the weather.

“It happens every time. Every single time there’s a storm, we just brace ourselves,” says Sarah Hammond, foster coordinator with the Austin Animal Center. “And sure enough, this is not any different. We were pretty much already running at capacity, so a spike like that is really hurting us.”

Hammond tells KUT News that the center took in 67 animals in the last day, before it even opened. Once their doors opened at 11 a.m., another 25 animals have been taken in.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Happy Labor Day! It will be a pretty hot one with an expected high of 100.

City of Austin Offices Closed – But Animal Center Open

It’s Labor Day and that means City of Austin offices are closed – as are recreation centers, senior centers and libraries.

But the Austin Animal Center is open today and is offering free adoptions. The center says they received lots of new pets in August but that adoptions were slow. It’s once again “severely overcapacity” and has no room for incoming animals. The free adoptions are being offered at the Austin Animal Center at 7201 Levander Loop and the Town Lake Animal Center at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez.

City pools, golf courses and tennis centers are also open today.

Trash and recycling collections will remain on schedule.

Governor's Office

No Vote on ‘No Sit, No Lie’

Austin’s Public Safety Commission decided to push back until August a decision on expanding the city’s “No Sit, No Lie” ordinance to the 12th Street and Chicon Street area.

The ordinance bans anyone from sitting or sleeping on streets near businesses, banks, and ATMs. Right now, it’s in effect downtown.

The Blackshear and Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association has been trying to bring the ordinance east of Interstate 35 in hopes of combating drug and prostitution problems.

But the Public Safety Commission isn’t convinced “No Sit, No Lie” is the best option.

KUT News

The Austin Animal Center is running a promotion throughout June, reducing its adoption fees for all animals to $20. Normally, it runs you $75 to adopt a pet through the city. The center is running the promotion in order to get more people adopting. 

Abigail Smith, Austin’s Chief Animal Services Officer, says even the full $75 doesn’t come close to paying for the care of an animal that gets dropped off.

“It’s hundreds of dollars when you consider the stray holding period, the intake vaccines that we do. This year we’re seeing a particularly bad flea season, so everybody is getting flea and tick medicine," says Smith. "There’s a very high incidence of heartworm dogs that come in here, and that’s extremely expensive to treat. So, $75, which is basically our standard fee, doesn’t even cover hardly any of it.”

Photo by KUT News; Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News; Photo by D.Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty

Austin Animal Center Achieves 90 Percent Live Outcome Rate

The Austin Animal Center put down 10 percent of animals in May, achieving a 90 percent live outcome rate. That is up two percent from this time last year, but down one percent from April.

The shelter took in more than 2,237 animals last month, including hundreds of kittens. The shelter expects to be just as busy this month.

Photos courtesy

Many people are enjoying a three-day weekend this Memorial Day. The City of Austin offices are closed, although city pools and golf courses are operating on a regular schedule today.

The Austin Animal Center is open today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  It’s holding an adoption special: $35 for all pets one year and older, over half-off its normal $75 fee. Pets five years and older are free. All pets are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Some 400 kittens are currently at the shelter, a “record number” according to Animal Services Foster Coordinator Sarah Hammond. “The mild winter and the abundance of rain have made for an explosive kitten season,” Hammond says, exasperating the crowding at the animal center. The Austin Animal Center is located at 7201 Levander Loop.  

Photo by KUT News

The Austin Animal Center exceeded their goal of adopting out 40 pets yesterday. And that means 23 animals did not have to be put down.

The Austin Animal Center announced on their Facebook page that 104 pets were adopted, reclaimed or transferred to other shelters yesterday.

The shelter was beyond capacity and needed to make room for new animals coming in.

The Austin Animal Shelter, which opened last November, already has more animals than it can hold. The city says it’s taken in about 140 more pets than this time last year, and is adopting out fewer animals.

But why does the newly built Austin Animal Center have less space than the Town Lake Animal Center, the city’s former shelter?  

City spokeswoman Patricia Fraga says when the Austin Animal Center was designed three years ago, organizers didn’t take into account that Austin would be a “no kill” city. “So, what’s happening now is we’re keeping animals longer,” Fraga says. “We’re not euthanizing animals for space, so we have animals that are living at the shelter longer than they would have previously.”

Photo by KUT News

The new Austin Animal Center, opened only in November 2011, is already well over capacity. And the city is asking for your input on what to do now.

While the new center has helped with the city’s ‘”no kill” goals – maintaining a 90 percent “live outcomes” rate for pets that pass through the shelter – it’s straining. And it’s not just seasonal, city officials say.

‘Since April the animal intakes at the city shelter are not leveling off and the Animal Services Office can not keep up with the high number of intakes versus those animals that are being adopted or rescued by the City’s partner animal rescue groups,” city officials write in a press release.

Image courtesy

Most City of Austin offices are closed this Presidents Day, but the Austin Animal Center is celebrating the holiday with an adoption special this “PAWSidents Day.”

Photo courtesy

The city-run Austin Animal Shelter has released intake, adoption and euthanasia data for the month of January. The Shelter had an overall “live outcome rate” of 92% (That’s the percentage of animals that were adopted, fostered, or otherwise cared for and not put down – a percentage in line with no-kill standards requiring a 90% or above live outcomes rate.)

A total of 1,133 cats and dogs were processed by the center in January, with close to half – 505 – adopted out by the city. 251 more pets were reunited with their owners, while another 288 animals were transferred out of the center for longer term care.

However, 83 animals were euthanized – 29 cats and 54 dogs. With dogs outnumbering cats in the shelter, that meant a 93% live outcome rate for dogs, and an 88% live outcome rate for cats.

Photo courtesy City of Austin

It was raining cats and dogs this week. And as a result of those storms, the Austin Animal Center is overflowing with lost pets.

Pets often respond poorly to extreme weather, and after heavy rainstorms blew through the Austin area, dozens of dogs and cats were taken to the Austin Animal Center. The City of Austin has taken note, stating:

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It wouldn’t be a weekend in Austin without a few street closures, but this one’s lasting a little longer than most. The city advises West 34th Street, between Medical Parkway and Lamar Boulevard will be closed for three months, as the city repairs pipes under the stretch of street.

The city has more information on street closures on their Special Events website.

For some time, the city has hovered above the 90 percent “live outcomes” benchmark animal centers must meet annually to be a “no-kill” shelter. And now it’s official: With a 91 percent live outcome for all of 2011, the Austin Animal Center is now officially no-kill.

The city’s animal rescue efforts have made big strides over the last few years, first with City Council adoption of a no-kill plan [PDF], and more recently with the opening of the new Animal Services Center in East Austin.