Saturday, March 27, 2010

Austin City Council adopts "No-Kill" plan

The Austin City council voted unanimously March 11 in favor of a plan to reduce animal euthanizations, and also approved a $12 million contract to build a new animal shelter in east Austin. 

The ‘no-kill’ plan aims to reduce euthanizations to 10 percent of the animal shelter population, down from about one-third now. City staff estimated the euthanization rate could be achieved within approximately two years. The city proposed moving toward a no-kill shelter program in 1997.

The reduced euthanization plan involves about 35 ideas, including more free sterilizations, expanded foster care programs and off-site adoption programs. If implemented the plan would cost about $1 million per year, tentatively. Many of the measures could be implemented at no cost, and council members did not commit to allocating any funding.

As part of the plan, council members approved a $12 million contract to build a new animal shelter at the Betty Dunkerley Campus of the city’s Health and Human Services Department, located at 7201 Levander Loop.

The new facility is scheduled to be finished by summer 2011, replacing he Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St. Voters approved funding the new facility in a 2006 bond election.

City staff recommended keeping the Town Lake facility open for six months after the opening of the new facility.