Austin Pets Alive! no-kill status at-risk amid land agreement with city

When it comes to animals, for years, Austin has been recognized and known for its status as a no-kill city.

"No-kill is incredibly important to people, it's something that our city takes great pride in and we should," said Ellen Jefferson, president and CEO of Austin Pets Alive.

An example of this cause, would be Sapphire, who was recently hit by a car. "Sapphire was a euthanasia list animal, we will take those, we've always done that," said Jefferson.

But APA said that no-kill reputation is now on the line and their land agreement with the city is set to expire Nov. 23.

"All the animals entering the AAC, 95 percent of them need to leave alive, that is mandated by the city council. But we are the only mechanism that keeps that number that high," said Jefferson. "If we don't have a documented agreement there is no guarantee that over the next 75 years we will be able to keep no-kill."

The organization said they would have to move to another location as well. "There are no kennel properties that can be used for what we are trying to use it for, and there's no place in the center of Austin that you can build these kennels," she said.

The Austin Animal Center said the city's no-kill status is not threatened. It says they exceed the 95 percent survival rate right now, with a 97 percent live exit rate. It sent FOX 7 Austin this statement:

"Nationally, a City can claim that it is a No Kill community if it can maintain a 90% or better live exit rate. The Austin Animal Center is mandated by City Council to achieve a 95% live exit rate and, just last month, reported a 97.5% live exit rate. The City values its partnership with APA! and has been negotiating to ensure that the City's investment of tax payer dollars are focused on supporting animals found in the City's jurisdiction. The City is committed to maintaining No Kill status and will continue to do so no matter the outcome of negotiations."

Austin Pets Alive wants something on paper to confirm that Austin will remain no kill in the decades ahead. "If the city council wants to see us stay here and wants the no-kill agreement to be in place for the next 75 years, we have no choice but to ask them to act," said Jefferson.

Leslie Pool expressed support for finding a solution. She sent a statement to Fox 7 Austin that said:

"Austin is a committed no-kill city, with communities across the country looking to our policies and partnerships as the model for how to make no-kill work. Austin Pets Alive! is a critical partner in this effort, and I am committed to working with our City staff and APA! to ensure a healthy relationship that will be sustained long into the future."

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