2016 Year End Review

Jan 5, 2017 - 1:38 pm

Austin Animal Center is the City of Austin’s municipal animal shelter. Thanks to partnerships with Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Humane Society and more than 150 rescue groups, Austin has remained the largest No Kill community in the United States since 2011, saving more than 95 percent of the 17,000 pets who come through the doors each year.

In addition to housing and rehoming thousands of pets, Austin Animal Center provides the following services:

  • Animal Protection Officers respond to 30,000 calls each year, rescuing injured wildlife, enforcing animal laws and ordinances, and providing support and resources for pets and people in need inAustin and Travis County. Officers provide dog houses, food and even fence building supplies to help keep pets safely and humanely housed in their homes.

Officer David Ackerman saving a wounded owl

  • A team of four full-time veterinarians and 15 veterinary technicians complete spay/neuter surgeries and microchip morethan 5,000 animals per year and treat thousands of medical conditions and critical cases.
  • Outreach team members conduct free rabies vaccine clinics in the community, vaccinating and microchipping more than 1,000 pets last year.
  • Outreach team members also connect residents with resources available through Emancipet and Austin Humane Society for almost 11,000 owned pets and community cats to receive sterilization surgeries.
  • Austin Animal Center coordinates emergency response and management during weather events, including staffing temporary shelters for displaced pets and people.

Dogs enjoying playgroup

  • In addition to providing basic, daily care, an eight-person enrichment and behavior team takes dogs on walks, runs doggie play groups and provides daily, in-kennel enrichment activities for cats and dogs.

2016 Highlights

In 2016, more lives were saved than ever before! The live outcome rate for cats was 95 percent and 98 percent for dogs, making the total live outcome rate 96.4 percent.

  • 7,886 pets were adopted in 2016, which is a record for AAC and about 500 more than the previous year.

Beautiful kitty at the shelter

  • 4,715 cats, dogs and other animals were transferred to rescue partners, with Austin Pets Alive! taking 3,002 of the shelter’s most challenging medical and behavioral cases.
  • 2,760 animals were returned to their homes, and Animal Protection Officers returned an additional 700 dogs in the field, without having to take the dogs to the shelter.

Volunteer Cindy with Senior pup Dixie

  • 795 Volunteers contributed 53,797 hours of service. This is the equivalent of 26 full-time staff positions!
  • 900 foster families housed 2,500 pets and 65 percent of these animals were adopted directly from foster, without having to return to the shelter. Fosters contributed 81,830 hours of service, which represents 39 full-time staff positions.

Bunnies getting play time and socialization on the patio

Letter from the Director

The Animal Services Office is dedicated to sustaining Austin’s No Kill commitment of achieving live outcomes for at least 90 percent of the companion animals entering the center annually.

Chief Animal Services Officer, Tawny Hammond with a shelter dog

We are proud to share the 2016 annual report with you as there is much to celebrate. Despite having a challenging year of weather events that led to periods of high intake of pets, we achieved the highest lifesaving rate in Austin’s history, and no animals lost their lives due to lack of space or other resources. This is in large part due to the tireless efforts of volunteers, foster families and our important rescue and shelter partners. In times of space crisis, the community stepped up like never before, opening their hearts and homes to providing temporary safe places for pets in need, proving that No Kill is a community ethic.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Animal Services Office helped make Austin home to the largest No Kill municipal shelter in the country by achieving a record 96 percent live outcome rate. Animal Services maintains this level of lifesaving through its focus on
developing programs and policies that meaningfully support the needs of animals in its care and through robust partnerships with community organizations, rescue partners and volunteers.

Animal Care Supervisor, Robert Golembeski showing some love to a senior dog

Animal Services strives to maintain the human-pet bond through prevention, resources, and customer and rescue-friendly adoption and transfer processes. The goal is to keep animals in homes or get them back into appropriate homes as quickly as possible. With an annual intake of approximately 17,000 animals, the center cares for an average inventory of about 900 animals between facilities at Austin Animal Center and Town Lake Animal Center. Veterinary services staff perform over 5,000 spay/neuter surgeries to prepare animals for adoption and manage over 1,600 emergency cases. Customer service, rescue and foster staff facilitate live outcomes for more than 15,000 animals annually.

Our engagement-based Animal Protection Program receives more than 30,000 calls for service and defers more than four percent of potential center intake by returning pets in the field. This ensures animals get back home and also allows officers the opportunity to talk to residents about what is needed to keep animals safe and at home. Free and low-cost outreach programs serve more than 10,000 community dogs and cats with spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinate 15,000 against rabies. Services also were expanded to offer more opportunities for pet owners to easily get their pets microchipped.

Staff and Volunteers of Austin Animal Center

As the City’s population grows, so does the demand for services. Animal Services continues to seek partnership opportunities with Travis County and other incorporated municipalities to address animal welfare challenges and to service capacity issues on a regional level. The Animal Services Office will continue to focus on meeting the community’s animal services needs through an expansion of the foster program, improving the customer experience at the shelter, piloting neighborhood-level programs and finding innovative ways to connect community members with resources so that pets may stay in homes whenever possible.

Special Programs

  • The Humane Society of the United States selected Austin Animal Center to be a pilot city for its Wild Neighbors Program, designed to humanely mitigate conflicts between people and wildlife.
  • Austin Animal Center partnered with the Travis County Correctional Complex to provide dog care classes to inmates. This is the first partnership of its kind in Austin and Travis County, and four sessions have been held, with more planned for 2017.

Shelter dog getting some play time

  • The Austin Animal Center, through support from Maddie’s Fund, will provide adult dog foster training for leading shelters throughout the United States.Twenty four shelters will attend apprenticeships in early 2017 to learn how to start and run adult dog foster programs.

Tawny Hammond, Chief Animal Services Officer


To download a printable version of the Austin Animal Center 2016 Annual Report, click here.