Austin Pets Alive! Celebrates 11 Years as a No-Kill City
By Sloane Wick
Reporting Texas TV
“No-kill is a very interesting phenomenon. We were the first large city to have a no-kill shelter,” said Craig Nazor, Chair of the Austin Animal Advisory Commission.
“It’s one of these things where you decide to do it first before you actually know exactly how it’s going to work out because no one has done it before.”
A city is considered no-kill if its animal save rate is at or above 90%. This means 90% of animals who can be saved, get saved. Austin became a no-kill city in 2011 when it hit a save rate of 92%.
Neil Hay, Senior Director of Operations at Austin Pets Alive!, said more than 98% of animals in Austin are now saved.
“No-kill has been a journey and a chance to give animals a second chance…Every single animal deserves that chance,” Hay said.
The City of Austin website claims the Texas state capital is home to the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States.
“I’m so incredibly grateful to live in a city that supports and believes in a no-kill philosophy. It’s not every city. Austin is a special place,” Hay said.
As part of the celebration, people voted in an election for the new mayor of Pawstin, a pun on Austin and the word paw. The candidates were adoptable animals. Voters donated money in the name of their preferred animal, with all contributions going toward the care of shelter animals. The event raised more than $6000.
“It’s a fun way to say, ‘Hey let’s vote for this person.’ This old cat or this dog probably talks more sense than most of our politicians at times anyway,” Hay said.
The race was close with the dog party candidate, Fotis, and the cat party candidate, Mr M, separated by only $184 at the end of the night. However, with a final total of $1,582, Fotis, a six-year-old German shepherd became the first mayor of Pawstin.
Chris Summers adopted his dog, George, through Austin Pets Alive! George was hit by a car when he was only a few months old and now needs help walking. Because of his injuries, George was scheduled to be euthanized. However, an Austin Pets Alive! volunteer stopped the euthanization with less than a minute to spare.
“He was actually on the euthanasia table, waiting to be euthanized,” Summers said. “He was like mid-euthanization. He was like 20 seconds from being gone.”
George is now 12 years old. He has nearly 400 followers on a Facebook page which features other rescue animals that need adopting, and videos of him being physically active despite his mobility challenges. Austin Fit Magazine even named George one of Austin’s fittest dogs in 2015.
“If Austin hadn’t fought to have a no-kill environment established in the city, then George and literally thousands of other animals would be dead,” Summers said. “Everybody needs to have a no-kill shelter in their city.”
For more information about no-kill policies and to see animals available for adoption, visit the Austin Pets Alive! website.