No Kill: How Austin Did It
How It Happened &
What It Means for You & Animal Lovers Everywhere
Austin, Texas’s Drive to 90%
Saved
I. Why us?
II. FixAustin.org & The Austin No Kill Political
Movement
III. Austin Pets A...
I.
Why Us
Ryan inspired by common sense that
Austin could do better
• Nathan Winograd
conference
• Redemption
• San Francisco in 199...
Ellen inspired by common sense that
Austin could do better
• Heard FixAustin
• Enormous opportunity to fill
homes- AVMA
• ...
II.
FixAustin.org & The Austin No Kill Political
Movement
Austin, Texas in 2005
Foster program? No.
Off-site adoptions? No.
Official save-rate goal: 50%
Save rate: 50%
Number of an...
Austin, Texas in 2005
No Kill movement? No.
Animal-welfare stakeholder
Interested in No Kill? No.
Interested City Council?...
FixAustin.org Goals:
1. Achieve a 90% or Higher Save Rate of All
Impounded Animals
2. Rigorous Implementation of the Progr...
What did we do?
• Engaged in the Democratic Process.
• Professionalized Animal Advocacy in Austin.
• Cultivated Real Relat...
What did the political movement
accomplish?
• Informed and engaged the citizens of Austin
about shelter issues and the pro...
What did Austin Animal Welfare Look
Like in 2008?
• Had tried No Kill in 2000.
– Decreased euthanasia from 85% to
50%
– 50...
What did Town Lake Animal Center
look like annually 2002- 2007?
• 20,000- 25,000 annual
• Live outcomes were
static at ~11...
TLAC Year to Year Activity 2002-2007
24,663
10,916
27,163
24,357
25,489
24,807
23,960
14,055
12,343
14,304
12,887
12,466
0...
Austin Animal Center Pet
Population Snapshot 2007
67% of
cats killed
45% of
dogs killed
14,055
total killed
III.
Austin Pets Alive’s
Lifesaving Programs
Figure out which animals are dying,
then build a program to save them.
Have to understand “the
why” before you plan the
“how”
• Looked at Euthanasia
stats past and present
• in other words who ...
• Everyone thought it couldn’t be
done
• “Too many animals & not
enough homes”
– “Spay/Neuter is the only
answer”
– Should...
We Did Our Homework Before We
Started
• Who could step up to prevent these deaths?
– Rescue groups, shelters, spay/neuter ...
Made the Decision to Do It
• Choose the Plan:
– Gain consensus for long term ambiguous plan
– Political coup d’etat
– Save...
How will we accomplish our
Mission?
• Divide and Conquer the Mission with
Committees/Teams
– Recruited key members where w...
• Started rescue and
adoption in 2008
• No funding
• No facility
• All volunteer
Austin Pets Alive! in 2008
Where to start saving lives?
Developed clear rescue criteria to ensure measurable success
We started by saving the lives t...
Puppies!
Why were they
dying?
• Ran out of
Time
• Parvo/Diarrhea
• Mange
• Ringworm
• Injured
• Too young to
spay/neuter
Puppies!
How did APA save
them?
• Foster homes.
• Dedicated parvo
ward.
• Treat diseases and
injuries while
available for
...
Puppies!
What did APA
accomplish?
• Over 700 puppies
saved per year since
2008
• 85% parvo survival
rate
• Every single sh...
Small dogs!
Why were they dying?
• Out of time
• Deemed
“aggressive”
• Showed poorly in
shelter environment
• Terrified
• ...
Small dogs!
How did APA save them?
• Foster homes!
• Hold and Release
Evaluation Technique
• Fractures heal very easily
wi...
Small dogs!
What did APA
accomplish?
• Saved over 300 small
dogs from the “euth
list” per year since
Jan 2010.
• All shelt...
Kittens!
Why were they
dying?
• Too young to be
spayed/neutered
• Ringworm
• Seasonal
supply/demand
Kittens!
How did APA save them?
• Bottle-baby trailer to
handle mass feedings.
• Large-scale foster to
meet seasonal
suppl...
Kittens!
What did APA
accomplish?
• Saves 1,100 – 1800
bottle babies per year
from AAC
• All shelter kittens are
safe in A...
Cats!
• Why were they dying?
– Too many all at once
– Injuries/illness
– Ringworm
– Behavior
– Feline leukemia
Cats!
How did APA! Save Them
• High Volume Adoptions
– Many venues around
town
• Foster homes!!!
• Ringworm Ward
• Barn Ca...
Cats!
What was accomplished:
• All shelter cats are safe
in Austin now
• City of Austin built
Community Cat Return
Program
Large Breed Dogs!
Why were they dying:
• Least desired by
adopters
• Behavior
• Some medical
Large Breed Dogs!
How APA! Saves Them
• Play Groups
• Marketing
• Foster homes
• Canine Good Citizen
Program
• Shelter
• C...
Large Breed Dogs!
• MOST large breed dogs
are safe except dogs
with significant
behavior issues.
– Even though not 100%,
o...
What else worked?
Multiple off-site
adoption locations 7
days/week in high-
traffic locations
throughout city
All positive...
What has APA accomplished?
Austin Pets Alive has
saved over 23,000
dogs & cats
since June 2008.
IV.
The City of Austin’s Mandated
No Kill Plan
The City of Austin’s
No Kill Implementation Plan
1. Change the mission of
animal services = 90%
save rate.
2. Off-site ado...
60.00%
65.00%
70.00%
75.00%
80.00%
85.00%
90.00%
95.00%
100.00%
October08
November08
December08
January09
February09
March...
2005 2011
Foster program? No. YES!
Off-site adoptions? No. YES!
Official save-rate goal: 50% 90%
Save rate: 50% 91%
No Kil...
• This is an URGENT CRISIS every day!
– Every day animals come in to the shelter
– Every day animals are euthanized
– Ever...
Austin 2013
• FY2013 <2,000 euthanized, Largest No Kill City in the US
• APA adopted out- ~6000 in 2013
• Animals in Foste...
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
2009-2013 Austin Animal Center Year
to Year Activity
AAC int...
V.
Lessons: What It Means for You
& Animal Lovers Everywhere
“No Kill Equation” Austin No Kill Plan
Trap-Neuter-Release 
High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter 
Rescue Groups 
Foster Ca...
2. No Kill is achievable.
In Austin, it all started with a small group of people
who said enough is enough.
Even in one of...
3. No Kill is inevitable.
FixAustin.org was the first No Kill
political-action group in America.
Now there are hundreds.
4. No Kill is a choice.
You get to decide what role you will play:
(a) lead the lifesaving in your community;
(b) be an ob...
5. No Kill is fun.
(seriously.)
No Kill is love.
(the end.)
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
2014 how austin did it
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Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

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2014 how austin did it

  1. 1. No Kill: How Austin Did It How It Happened & What It Means for You & Animal Lovers Everywhere
  2. 2. Austin, Texas’s Drive to 90% Saved I. Why us? II. FixAustin.org & The Austin No Kill Political Movement III. Austin Pets Alive’s Lifesaving Programs IV. The City of Austin’s Mandated No Kill Plan V. Lessons from Austin: What It Means for You and Animal Lovers Everywhere
  3. 3. I. Why Us
  4. 4. Ryan inspired by common sense that Austin could do better • Nathan Winograd conference • Redemption • San Francisco in 1990’s • Tompkins County SPCA: First Open-admission “No Kill” shelter
  5. 5. Ellen inspired by common sense that Austin could do better • Heard FixAustin • Enormous opportunity to fill homes- AVMA • Measuring Impact – Stop measuring Inputs • Right thing to do • Spay/neuter doesn’t save the animals already at or entering the shelter. Martin Luther King
  6. 6. II. FixAustin.org & The Austin No Kill Political Movement
  7. 7. Austin, Texas in 2005 Foster program? No. Off-site adoptions? No. Official save-rate goal: 50% Save rate: 50% Number of animals killed: 14,304
  8. 8. Austin, Texas in 2005 No Kill movement? No. Animal-welfare stakeholder Interested in No Kill? No. Interested City Council? No. Shelter Staff Committed to No Kill Goal? No. Interested public? YES!
  9. 9. FixAustin.org Goals: 1. Achieve a 90% or Higher Save Rate of All Impounded Animals 2. Rigorous Implementation of the Programs and Policies That Had Worked to End Shelter Killing in Ithaca, NY, Charlottesville, VA, and Reno, NV. 3. Progressive and Compassionate Shelter Leadership
  10. 10. What did we do? • Engaged in the Democratic Process. • Professionalized Animal Advocacy in Austin. • Cultivated Real Relationships with Decision-makers and the Press. • Never, Ever Went Away.
  11. 11. What did the political movement accomplish? • Informed and engaged the citizens of Austin about shelter issues and the promise that lifesaving reforms can bring. • Created a huge “base” of animal lovers, volunteers, and advocates. • Put No Kill on the City’s agenda. • Helped inform and cultivate the interest of politicians and city leaders on the issue. • Helped set the table for what came next.
  12. 12. What did Austin Animal Welfare Look Like in 2008? • Had tried No Kill in 2000. – Decreased euthanasia from 85% to 50% – 50% euthanasia rate was static since 2001 • Massive Spay Neuter Efforts – 3 agencies = 25,000/yr – TNR • Wellness Clinics – Emancipet and ATA • Free Microchips • One No Kill Shelter (AHS): 2,000 adoptions per year • 80+ rescue groups- unknown # of adoptions
  13. 13. What did Town Lake Animal Center look like annually 2002- 2007? • 20,000- 25,000 annual • Live outcomes were static at ~11,000- 12,000 per year • Euthanasia fluctuated between 11,000 and 15,000 depending on intake numbers
  14. 14. TLAC Year to Year Activity 2002-2007 24,663 10,916 27,163 24,357 25,489 24,807 23,960 14,055 12,343 14,304 12,887 12,466 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 FY 02/03 FY 03/04 FY 04/05 FY 05/06 FY 06/07 FY 07/08 Live Intake Euthanized
  15. 15. Austin Animal Center Pet Population Snapshot 2007 67% of cats killed 45% of dogs killed 14,055 total killed
  16. 16. III. Austin Pets Alive’s Lifesaving Programs
  17. 17. Figure out which animals are dying, then build a program to save them.
  18. 18. Have to understand “the why” before you plan the “how” • Looked at Euthanasia stats past and present • in other words who was dying and why? – age, species, breed, reason Why was this mass euthanasia happening?
  19. 19. • Everyone thought it couldn’t be done • “Too many animals & not enough homes” – “Spay/Neuter is the only answer” – Should not divert funds from s/n • “No one wants these animals” because they are “unadoptable” • In fighting What was preventing higher live outcomes? Don’t dwell on the negativity
  20. 20. We Did Our Homework Before We Started • Who could step up to prevent these deaths? – Rescue groups, shelters, spay/neuter clinics – No Kill Shelter vs. No Kill City • Statistics – Know the euthanasia statistics • How many? What months? • Why were animals dying in Austin? – Species, Age • Is there any info about reasons animals are euthanized at local shelter? • What are we missing here? – Are there any programs out there in the world to address the reasons they are being killed?
  21. 21. Made the Decision to Do It • Choose the Plan: – Gain consensus for long term ambiguous plan – Political coup d’etat – Save the lives ourselves • Recognized need for a new entity to save lives- US! • Who will US be?– Austin Pets Alive • What will our mission be? – To make Austin a No Kill City • What is our main message? – This is an urgent crisis and we need to start acting like we did when Hurricane Katrina came –ACT NOW to save lives • How will we meet our mission? – By focusing ONLY on the animals already slated for euthanasia • Who will join us? – Met with Key Austin Stakeholders – Asked for support – Didn’t ask twice for help
  22. 22. How will we accomplish our Mission? • Divide and Conquer the Mission with Committees/Teams – Recruited key members where we could – Held Town Hall Meeting to go over plan and sign on volunteer team members • # of volunteers is directly related to amount of success – Created Action Items for each team • Be Smart! – Know what you need to have set up BEFORE you start saving lives. – Learn from our mistakes/successes so you don’t have to wait too long. – It took us about 30 days to start saving lives.
  23. 23. • Started rescue and adoption in 2008 • No funding • No facility • All volunteer Austin Pets Alive! in 2008
  24. 24. Where to start saving lives? Developed clear rescue criteria to ensure measurable success We started by saving the lives that we knew people wanted to adopt Then worked towards the next lowest hanging fruit If this dog/cat gets more marketing/training/medicine she/he has a greater chance of meeting the right person Lastly, working on hardest cases that have an apparent lack of homes Recognized need to emphasize adoptions as much as rescue
  25. 25. Puppies! Why were they dying? • Ran out of Time • Parvo/Diarrhea • Mange • Ringworm • Injured • Too young to spay/neuter
  26. 26. Puppies! How did APA save them? • Foster homes. • Dedicated parvo ward. • Treat diseases and injuries while available for adoption. • Foster until altered.
  27. 27. Puppies! What did APA accomplish? • Over 700 puppies saved per year since 2008 • 85% parvo survival rate • Every single shelter puppy in Austin is safe now.
  28. 28. Small dogs! Why were they dying? • Out of time • Deemed “aggressive” • Showed poorly in shelter environment • Terrified • Bad patients
  29. 29. Small dogs! How did APA save them? • Foster homes! • Hold and Release Evaluation Technique • Fractures heal very easily with little intervention or loss of function • “Sleepover” adoption meetings • Foster-until-adoption programs (online advertising)
  30. 30. Small dogs! What did APA accomplish? • Saved over 300 small dogs from the “euth list” per year since Jan 2010. • All shelter small dogs are safe in Austin now.
  31. 31. Kittens! Why were they dying? • Too young to be spayed/neutered • Ringworm • Seasonal supply/demand
  32. 32. Kittens! How did APA save them? • Bottle-baby trailer to handle mass feedings. • Large-scale foster to meet seasonal supply/demand. • Treat ringworm while available for adoption.
  33. 33. Kittens! What did APA accomplish? • Saves 1,100 – 1800 bottle babies per year from AAC • All shelter kittens are safe in Austin now.
  34. 34. Cats! • Why were they dying? – Too many all at once – Injuries/illness – Ringworm – Behavior – Feline leukemia
  35. 35. Cats! How did APA! Save Them • High Volume Adoptions – Many venues around town • Foster homes!!! • Ringworm Ward • Barn Cat Program • Feline Leukemia Sanctuary • City doubled adoptions
  36. 36. Cats! What was accomplished: • All shelter cats are safe in Austin now • City of Austin built Community Cat Return Program
  37. 37. Large Breed Dogs! Why were they dying: • Least desired by adopters • Behavior • Some medical
  38. 38. Large Breed Dogs! How APA! Saves Them • Play Groups • Marketing • Foster homes • Canine Good Citizen Program • Shelter • City increased adoptions
  39. 39. Large Breed Dogs! • MOST large breed dogs are safe except dogs with significant behavior issues. – Even though not 100%, only 2-3 per month die that could be saved with behavioral help and they die because of lack of space to keep them while training.
  40. 40. What else worked? Multiple off-site adoption locations 7 days/week in high- traffic locations throughout city All positive, fun, friendly marketing Empower Volunteers PASS Program Excellent Customer Service Consistent hours, locations, service Fast responses to on-line inquiries Efficient, convenient adoptions process Play Groups for big dogs
  41. 41. What has APA accomplished? Austin Pets Alive has saved over 23,000 dogs & cats since June 2008.
  42. 42. IV. The City of Austin’s Mandated No Kill Plan
  43. 43. The City of Austin’s No Kill Implementation Plan 1. Change the mission of animal services = 90% save rate. 2. Off-site adoptions. 3. Large-scale foster program. 4. Behavioral Rehabilitation. 5. Intake counseling. 6. Community cat spay/neuter & release. 7. Low-cost and free spay- neuter programs. 8. Provide advanced “euth” list to rescue partners. 9. Public awareness & new website. 10.Increase return-to- owners. 11. Moratorium on empty- cage killing.
  44. 44. 60.00% 65.00% 70.00% 75.00% 80.00% 85.00% 90.00% 95.00% 100.00% October08 November08 December08 January09 February09 March09 April09 May09 June09 July09 August09 September09 October09 November09 December09 January10 February10 March10 April10 May10 June10 July10 August10 September10 October10 November10 December10 January11 February11 March11 April11 May11 June11 July11 August11 Austin Animal Center Live-Outcome Rate Over Time
  45. 45. 2005 2011 Foster program? No. YES! Off-site adoptions? No. YES! Official save-rate goal: 50% 90% Save rate: 50% 91% No Kill movement? No. YES! Animal-welfare stakeholder interested in No Kill? No. YES! Interested City Council? No. YES! Shelter Management with No Kill goal? No. YES! Interested public? YES! YES! A Tail of Two Cities
  46. 46. • This is an URGENT CRISIS every day! – Every day animals come in to the shelter – Every day animals are euthanized – Every day you need to act to get them out as fast as you can • Focus on the power of one to reach your goal – People did this so people can fix this – All we need is one action from one person, over and over again. – Divide and conquer 2 Important Points if you want your city to be No Kill
  47. 47. Austin 2013 • FY2013 <2,000 euthanized, Largest No Kill City in the US • APA adopted out- ~6000 in 2013 • Animals in Foster at APA ~500-1,000 at any time • Active Volunteers at APA ~2,000 volunteer hours per week • APA has expanded beyond the City of Austin to other high kill shelters WHILE maintaining 93% save rate – Who would have thought we could?
  48. 48. 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2009-2013 Austin Animal Center Year to Year Activity AAC intake Euthanized
  49. 49. V. Lessons: What It Means for You & Animal Lovers Everywhere
  50. 50. “No Kill Equation” Austin No Kill Plan Trap-Neuter-Release  High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter  Rescue Groups  Foster Care  Comprehensive Adoption Program  Pet Retention  Medical & Behavioral Rehabilitation  Public Relations & Community Involvement  Volunteers  Proactive Redemptions  Management with No Kill Goal  1. No Kill was no accident.
  51. 51. 2. No Kill is achievable. In Austin, it all started with a small group of people who said enough is enough. Even in one of America’s largest and fastest-growing cities with a 20,000+ intake, and even in the face of exceedingly entrenched and powerful opposition. There were 3 “No Kill” communities in 2008. Now there are ~100.
  52. 52. 3. No Kill is inevitable. FixAustin.org was the first No Kill political-action group in America. Now there are hundreds.
  53. 53. 4. No Kill is a choice. You get to decide what role you will play: (a) lead the lifesaving in your community; (b) be an obstacle to lifesaving; or (c) stand on the sidelines while lives are lost.
  54. 54. 5. No Kill is fun. (seriously.)
  55. 55. No Kill is love. (the end.)
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