'We need our community': Austin Animal Center urging public to adopt, foster or volunteer

The Austin Animal Center is pleading for help from the public as the shelter remains in critical capacity, resulting in the majority of dogs being displaced. 

AAC posted a video on its Instagram account showing the current state of the shelter. 

The person behind the camera shows dogs in crates, when they would usually be in kennels, lined throughout the building's hallways. The shelter has had to place crates in unorthodox locations, including the conference room and even the truck port. Viewers can hear the animal shelter employee recording the video calling the truck port an "absolute last resort of where we want to house animals."

The video goes on to show an air-conditioned metal construction trailer located outside that the shelter has rented in order to house more dogs in crates. Footage of the dogs within the trailer show some obviously unsettled with the conditions. 

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Dog crates placed outside on the shelter's truckport

AAC has also had to repurpose kennels meant for cats to hold small dogs.

Rebekha Montie, the customer service program manager for AAC, says a lot of the dogs in the shelter currently are strays. The shelter is urging anyone who is missing a dog or knows someone who is missing one to check the Austin Animal Shelter. 

The shelter is also encouraging anyone who finds a stray dog to do everything they can to find their owners before bringing them to a shelter.  

"These animals have a better chance of finding their owners by staying in the community where they were found," Montie said. 

AAC says ways the public can help the shelter during this time are: 

  • Adopting: Adoption fees are being waived for the time being. To view available pets, click here.
  • Fostering: If you cannot adopt an animal, fostering one will help a crated animal rest somewhere comfortable. To apply to foster, click here.
  • Volunteering: AAC says more hands are always needed. To sign up to volunteer, click here. For those who are not current volunteers but are interested in walking dogs, the shelter allows the public to walk any "green dot" dog during regular hours.
  • Donating: The shelter says the most needed donations at the moment are crates and toys, especially Kongs and puzzle toys, which help with enrichment. For more donation information, click here.

AAC is asking the public to spread the word on the shelter's current situation, so more dogs and cats can be placed in loving homes. 

Read the full statement from Rebekha Montie:

"We’ve been overcapacity for months, and it seems to be never-ending. [We] have dogs in crates lining all of our back hallways and outside on our truckport. Not only is this hard on the dogs, but it also takes a huge toll on the staff and volunteers who come day in and day out to help.

Many are strays that we know have families out there, so we really need owners missing their pets to come to the shelter. We also need community members who find stray animals to do everything they can to find their owners before coming to the shelter. These animals have a better chance of finding their owners by staying in the community where they were found.

If you have ever had an inclination to adopt or foster, now is the time. We know that not everyone can take in another animals right now, so any and all support is appreciated. Getting the word out to your neighbors about all the stray animals, promoting animals for adoption – it all helps. No-kill is a community effort and we need our community."