Austin Animal Center creates urgent placement list

AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Animal Center has multiple medium/large dogs on an urgent placement list in hopes of getting these animals adopted as soon as possible.

Blitz, Binkles, Bella, and Okra are just some of the names posted on the Austin Animal Center (AAC) Urgent Placement List.

"This is trying to get placement for these dogs, so that, you know, euthanasia isn't on the table," said Kelsey Cler, Marketing and Communications Manager for AAC.

The AAC currently has 27 dogs on the list.

The list includes dogs who have longer shelter stays or certain behavior issues. These dogs are at the top to be moved out because there just is not any space at the shelter and they do not want to be forced to euthanize these animals just to make room. Cler with AAC says it feels like it could get to that point.

"We feel a little bit like we're in between a rock and a hard place. In April, we took in 71 more dogs than we got out. We're just not seeing the kind of fostering adoption levels that we have in the past, and it's led to essentially a bottle neck of medium large dogs," said Cler.

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Cler says the shelter has been at capacity for years and this is not where they hoped to be.

"Euthanasia is always a last resort and we have been doing a ton of things to try to avoid getting to that point," she said.

She says the Austin Animal Center has been waiving adoption fees since June 2023, offering monetary incentives to rescue partners to take dogs, and, just last week, the shelter sent 24 dogs to supporting facilities to make space. Unfortunately, she says it still is not enough.

The list is a last resort, but Cler says right now it is not a death sentence and the shelter is required to put out a 48 hour notice if that changes.

"We are really hoping that we don't have to go there," she said.

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The Austin Animal Center is still continuing its efforts. Right now it only has one location in East Austin, but staff is hoping to change that because cities of similar size have multiple.

Staff is also hoping city leaders approve a promising budget this upcoming summer in favor of the animal shelter. Until then, the plea for the public’s help continues.

"We haven't yet had to get to the point where we have to make those hard decisions. And we're really hopeful that we never get to that point," said Cler.