AUSTIN (KXAN) – Negotiations between Austin Pets Alive! and the City of Austin are at a standstill for a new long-term land use agreement that would allow APA! to continue operating in the city’s former animal shelter, the two sides told KXAN.
Since 2011 Austin Pets Alive! occupied the Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) on Cesar Chavez Street in exchange for welcoming thousands of at-risk animals to the city. The non-profit organization is helping the city in its goal of being “no-kill”. By City of Austin standards, “no-kill” means that at least 95% of homeless animals that enter shelters must leave them alive.
The city says its current rate is 97%.
The two sides worked under a short-term agreement, allowing APA! continue to occupy TLAC. However, that deal ends on November 23, and the organization says it may have to move its operations outside of city limits if the partners fail to come to an agreement.
“Significant changes in city animal services that put the sustainability of No Kill at risk, as well as the declining condition of the Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) property, create the need for immediate council action.” to make sure Austin stays No Kill now and forever â, we read an article on the APA website! September 15.
Austin animals alive! notes that Austin’s eventual departure is more than a threat. The organization plans to visit nine facilities next week; APA! says all are at least 20 miles outside of city limits.
In an interview with KXAN, APA! President and CEO Dr. Ellen Jefferson added: âWe recognize that there is a high probability that we will need to find another property and build elsewhere. “
At the heart of the disagreement between the two camps is the number of APA animals! will agree to take charge of the city, as well as the organization’s interest in helping at-risk animals outside of the Austin area.
âWe have helped shelters struggling with high death rates everywhere [Texas] for 11 years and in rare circumstances like Hurricane Ida, we take it beyond Texas, âsaid an Austin Pets Alive! spokesperson. âThis is nothing new. We are asking for our agreement to allow us to use the resources we have in our future building to treat any animal, even if it is not from the greater Austin area, which is currently not permitted.
In an additional statement to KXAN, APA! implied that the city was trying to micromanage it.
“ACL is not limited to only hiring Austin bands for their shows,” the statement said. “Here at Austin Pets Alive!” we’re just asking that we be given the same respect as other organizations that use city land.
The organization calls on the City Council to approve a new agreement with more favorable conditions for it, since “[city] staff will not accept the terms of the license agreement.
Austin Animal Center has a different perspective.
âThe current facility sits on City-owned land that was ultimately paid for with taxpayer money. APA! uses this land for free, in return for helping AAC and drawing animals, âsaid an Austin Animal Center spokesperson. “They are asking to help less the AAC and to use the same tax-funded property to help animals in other cities and states.”
She added: âThe current license agreement allows animals from a region of five counties to be housed at TLAC. But not animals from beyond this region.
We asked Austin Animal Center about their nonprofit partner’s claim that the city would risk losing its no-kill status if it wasn’t able to come to a deal with Austin Pets Alive!
“Austin will remain No Kill regardless of the outcome of these negotiations,” the department spokesman said. âWe are confident that the AAC will remain No Kill, first and foremost, because we are committed to doing the right thing for the animals in our community. We are also required by City Council to maintain a live score of 95%. “
Earlier this summer, the Austin Animal Center said it had no additional capacity to house animals and that staff were doubling the dogs in each suite. A June 25 memo from Director of Animal Services Don Bland said personnel may eventually need to resort to euthanasia.
Last week, the city’s Animal Advisory Commission voted unanimously to form a committee to oversee and oversee Austin’s no-slaughter policy. The city council’s audit and finance committee will need to approve the commission’s request to change its bylaws to make this happen.