Austin Animal Center Offers Cost-Free Adoptions for Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
By Melanie Faz
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Animal Center (AAC) partnered with Adopt A Pet to waive adoption fees for the month of October to boost dog adoptions.
AAC kicked off Adopt a Shelter Dog Month month with a partnership with the online platform Adopt a Pet. The initiative encourages the public to adopt large dogs and help address the shelter’s overcrowding problem.
“It’s really been a challenge for the shelter, and not just us but nationwide, that we’re really seeing a challenge with our large dog population,” program manager Mary Brown said.
AAC staff said 15% of shelter dogs in Texas never find a home. The shelter euthanizes some while others become known as “long stay dogs.”
The center had 339 large dogs on October 15, about 30 over its capacity. This means the center must limit its intake to emergencies only.
AAC was one of four shelters across the country selected by Adopt a Pet as partners to help address the nationwide overcrowding problem. The center is responsible for covering adoption costs and providing care packages with essentials for owners to take home.
“I think Austin Animal Center is actually doing a really good job of balancing this, [and] also trying to get the community involved in providing solutions,” Adopt a Pet director of animal welfare April Huntsman said.
Brown, the shelter program manager, said she believes the reason large dogs aren’t adopted as often as small dogs is partly due to weight and breed restrictions issued by some apartment management companies. Some owners have to pay a pet deposit fee along with a monthly “pet rent.”
Adopt a Pet and Austin Animal Center strive to relieve the financial burden of adoption fees and even provide post-adoption support. Huntsman said. AAC also offers post-adoption services to smoothen the transition for new pet owners.
“They have a behaviorist come out and talk to the person as they’re leaving and offer some, you know, tips and tricks for integrating the pet into the household,” Huntsman said.
To promote this initiative, the center will host its third annual Adoptober Fest on Saturday, Oct. 21 to invite the community to meet dogs eligible for adoption.
The festival includes an Adopt the Runway fashion show, where volunteers dress pets up in costumes to meet potential owners.
Volunteer Kayla Latham wore a pirate costume while she snapped pictures of dogs ahead of the event. She said she hopes their efforts will get more dogs adopted.
A pitbull named Kylee is one of the hundreds of dogs looking for a forever home. Staff member Analizia Valdez said Kylee is one of her favorite dogs.
“She is a super sweetie, she’s probably around two to three years old right now, and she’s a cuddlebug” Valdez said.
Adopt the Runway will be on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11:30 a.m. The Adoptober festivities will continue until 2 p.m. and will have vendors, food and a paw-tastic time.