1. What is FixAustin.Org?
FixAustin.Org is a grassroots organization of concerned Austinites who aim to end the killing of lost and homeless pets at Austin’s municipal animal shelter. We believe that the best and fastest way to end the killing of Austin’s sheltered pets is to implement proven, cost-effective practices that have already ended shelter killing in other cities—like San Francisco, CA, and Ithaca, NY.
2. How can I join?
You can join FixAustin.Org by clicking here.
3. How can I help?
Visit our "How To Help" page by clicking here.
4. Isn’t Austin already a no-kill city?
No. While the City Council passed a resolution to become a “no-kill” city back in the late 1990s, it has not been successful. Austin’s pound, called Town Lake Animal Center (or “TLAC”), has killed an average of about 12,000 sheltered animals per year since 2000. Under the current shelter manager's administration, the shelter has killed more than 100,000 pets. In addition, since 2000, the percentage of animals killed at Austin’s pound has remained around 50% and the number of animals sheltered at the pound has remained almost constant. Over the same period, the pound’s budget has nearly doubled.
5. How have other cities reduced shelter killing?
The most successful method for reducing shelter killing at open-admission animal shelters is a ten-step program called the No Kill Equation. You can read all about it by clicking this link.
6. What’s going on with the new animal shelter in Austin?
In November 2006, Austin’s voters approved a bond package that provides $12 million for a new animal shelter. But in order for an animal shelter to attract visitors (and, in turn, adopters), the shelter must be located in a high-traffic, high-density, highly accessible location. That’s why FixAustin.Org, along with several other citizen groups in town (like the Central Texas Animal Alliance, and AustinAction.Org) are working hard to convince the City to build the new shelter at the site of the current shelter—on Town Lake in the heart of downtown. Regrettably, the same shelter management responsible for killing 70,000 pets since 2000 plans to close the downtown facility and move the shelter’s operations (along with our homeless pets) out-of-sight and out-of-mind—to an industrial area off of Airport Road just south of East 7th Street.
In October 2008, the City Council approved of a compromise plan that moves the main shelter to East Austin, but retains an adoption center on Town Lake Animal Center.
7. Is it true that rebuilding the pound on Town Lake is not feasible?
No, that is not true. According to the City’s own documents obtained under the Texas Public Information Act, it is entirely feasible to rebuild Town Lake Animal Center. In fact, the City projects that it will cost roughly the same amount of money to rebuild the shelter at its current site as it would to relocate the shelter to the City’s proposed site on the eastern outskirts of town.
You can review the City’s proposal to rebuild the shelter downtown by clicking here. You can also review the City’s proposal to move the shelter by clicking here.
8. Is it true that most sheltered pets come from East Austin?
No, that is not true. According to the City’s own records, the highest concentration of pets sheltered at TLAC come from Southwest Austin, not East Austin. None of the zip codes surrounding the City’s proposed site—near the intersection of Airport Road and East 7th Street—is even among the top 5 highest-intake zip codes. Click here to see all intake by zipcode.
9. Did Austin’s voters approve moving the shelter as part of the November 2005 bond package?
Absolutely not. The bond’s ballot language asked voters to approve $12 million to renovate the old shelter or build a new one. Nothing in the bond’s language indicated that the shelter would be moved. You can read the actual bond ballot language by clicking here.
10. Where is the current shelter located, and where is the City proposing to move it?
Austin’s current shelter, called Town Lake Animal Center, is located in the heart of Austin’s vibrant downtown community between MoPac and Lamar Boulevard. The address is 1156 West Cesar Chavez.
The City wants to close the downtown shelter and replace it with one in an industrial area on the eastern edge of our community, off of Airport Boulevard just south of East 7th Street. The address for the proposed site is 7201 Levander Loop. You can see a map of the proposed site with pictures of the surrounding landscape here.
11. What does the City plan to do with the current shelter site once it closes the downtown facility?
The City is keeping its plans for the site under a tight seal. But we do know that in February 2007, News 8 Austin reported that City officials offered the site to the federal government to build a new federal courthouse.
12. Is it true that Town Lake frequently breaches its bank and floods the current downtown animal shelter?
Not remotely. The pictures of “flooding” distributed by City bureaucrats to justify moving the shelter are so misleading that they should be considered “scare tactics.” The water shown in those pictures is the direct result of poorly designed drainage at the current sight, not actual flooding from the lake. According to everyone we know with knowledge of the shelter, it has never been flooded by waters from Town Lake.
It is true that the parking lot of the current shelter lies in the 100-year flood plain. But the buildings and almost all of the road leading to the shelter are in the 500-year flood plain, like many other public buildings such as Austin High and City Hall. And the City’s own documents project that the entire site can be raised above the flood plain for a mere $440K, roughly the same cost that the shelter management intends to spend on art at the new shelter. You can review the City’s cost projections for rebuilding the shelter downtown by clicking here.