Update: Austin Animal Center initiates emergency plan, will not take in more animals

One of the many dogs now at Austin Animal Center, which is overcrowded from recent high intakes.
One of the many dogs now at Austin Animal Center, which is full from recent high intakes.

UPDATE: Austin Animal Center, already packed to capacity, has initiated its emergency plan. They have set up an emergency hotline for people missing a pet: Call 311 within city limits, 512-974-2000 outside Austin. Email Animal.CustomerRelations@atxad.org. Photos of strays are posted regularly at www.austinanimalcenter.org. The city also will deliver lost pets back to their owners of they can identify the animal through a photo, microchip or rabies certificate.

From the city:

The Austin Animal Center will be initiating its emergency operation procedures due to predicted continued rainy weather that could further strain its ability to house any more animals.

The AAC will not be taking in lost or stray pets for the next 24 to 48 hours due to rainy conditions. During this time period, May 27-28, AAC also will not be taking in any owner-surrendered pets. The City is asking for people who find a lost dog or cat to keep the animals in a safe environment until the Center is open for intakes.

The Center is preparing for a potential relocation of approximately 30 to 40 dogs from the Town Lake location should it become necessary. The AAC is at capacity due to the influx of animals during the past two weeks. …

The Austin Animal Center will be open for those residents who are looking for their lost pets and want to reclaim them and for those individuals who would like to adopt a pet, those that can foster a pet, and for volunteers. The Center will be open for these services through the weekend and on Memorial Day, May 30, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Earlier: Austin Animal Center is asking for help as shelter staff continues to try to deal with overcrowding from recent storms.

May is traditionally a high intake month, according to a recent release, “as pets are surrendered at the end of the school year as families prepare for summer vacations.”

On top of that, recent storms have brought even more dogs and cats (and rabbits) than usual into the shelter: between 60 and 100 each day for the past two weeks.

“Because we don’t euthanize for space or convenience this is a very challenging situation for us,” Chief Animal Services Officer Tawny Hammond said in the release. “We need to have kennel space to help incoming animals, many of them who are suffering from broken bones, mange, ringworm and other illnesses. We need our animal loving community to lend a hand at this critical time.”

To try to ease the space situation, the shelter is having a “Memorial Mutt Madness” promotion. Friday through Monday, adoption fees for puppies and dogs currently in outdoor kennels will be $20. This covers more than 200 dogs.

Austin Animal Center is overcrowded right now. Staff says many strays come in needing medical care, which further strains resources.
Austin Animal Center staff says many strays come in needing medical care, which further strains resources. (Photos from Austin Animal Center)

Reclaim fees for lost pets are being waived through June 1.

Other ways you can help:

Foster, particularly a medium or large dog. You can foster through the city shelter, one of its two main rescue partners (Austin Humane Society and Austin Pets Alive) or one of Austin’s many rescue groups.

If you find a stray animal, call 311 to report the animal, but keep it in your home if you’re able to. The shelter will notify owners if they contact the shelter. You also can post photos and information to the Austin Lost and Found Pets page on Facebook.

Leave kittens alone. The city shelter, Austin Humane Society and Austin Pets Alive are at critical capacity for kittens, with more coming in each day. People are encouraged to leave healthy kittens where they are. It’s not unusual for mother cats to leave their litters alone for periods of time. You can monitor the kittens to make sure their mother comes back to care for them.

Keep your pets secure during storms. Even the most loyal dogs and cats can get scared during storms and run away if they’re left outside or in less-than-secure yards. If your pet is lost, check Austin Animal Center regularly; all strays are brought to the city shelter.

Spread the word. Use social media to help AAC share photos of found pets and to let others know about the crowding at the shelter.

It's kitten season, which means the city shelter and its rescue partners are bursting with tiny cats.
It’s kitten season, which means the city shelter and its rescue partners are bursting with tiny cats.

Austin Animal Center, flooded with pets, waives or lowers fees and asks public for help

lost pet2
Do you recognize this dog? Austin Animal Center is posting photos of the large number of dogs and cats that have come into the shelter during recent storms.

Heavy storms always bring a lot of stray animals into the Austin Animal Center, and officials have put out an urgent call for help from the public to relieve over-crowding and maintain the city’s no-kill policy.

“We need help saving pets lives, now more than ever,” Chief Animal Services Officer Tawny Hammond said in a news release Wednesday. “The situation at the Animal Center today is serious; we are completely out of space for incoming pets right now. We have many beautiful, owned and well cared for dogs and cats sitting in kennels and cages waiting for their families to come and take them home.”

Shelter staff say they have taken in almost 150 animals in just two days during recent storms; many of the animals appear well cared for, like pets. Animals will be held for three days before being available for adoption or for rescue groups to pull. Anyone missing a pet is urged to check the shelter as soon as possible.

One of the many dogs that have come into Austin Animal Center during recent storms. Shelter staff is asking the public to help spread the word through social media so people can reclaim their pets.
One of the many dogs that have come into Austin Animal Center during recent storms. Shelter staff is asking the public to help spread the word through social media so people can reclaim their pets.

The city is waiving reclaim fees for spayed or neutered pets, and offering a discount for spaying or neutering for unaltered pets when claimed. Adoption fees are being lowered to $20 through Sunday, May 22.

They’re also putting out a plea for fosters, particularly for medium and large dogs, and urging people to spread the word about animals through social media, in an effort to reunite pets and their people. The shelter’s Facebook page is regularly updated with photos of animals that have come into the shelter, and you can browse adoptable animals. Fostering or adopting through the city’s two largest rescue partners, the Austin Humane Society and Austin Pets Alive, also can help ease crowding at the city shelter by opening up more spaces in those groups.

The shelter is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 7201 Levander Loop.