AUSTIN, Texas - Austin will remain a no-kill city when it comes to animal intake.
Austin Pets Alive (APA!) and the City of Austin finally reached an agreement that will allow the nonprofit to continue to take in the city's overflow of pets. The city and APA! have been going back and forth about this for months now.
Dozens of people, including APA! volunteer Gregg Charalambous, showed up to City Hall Thursday hoping the two could come to an agreement on the future of the Town Lake intake facility.
"Helping them save lives has kept me there, and coming week after week. It 's been very therapeutic for me," Charalambous said, who added that he started volunteering at APA! for many reasons including therapeutic purposes. "These dogs have reconnected something in me that I forgot was there."
APA! has been critical in keeping Austin a no-kill city. The resolution was ultimately approved with a 9-2 vote, showing the majority of council supporting the deal.
"If this didn't go through then, Austin Pets Alive would have been forced to leave the property and find a different property to operate all of our operations," APA! president and CEO Dr. Ellen Jefferson said. "The bad news for the city would be there wouldn't be a legal agreement contracting Austin Pets Alive to continue saving animals. We'll do it, but I'm not going to be here in 75 years."
The agreement carves in stone a 75-year partnership between APA! and the city. It also now allows APA! to take in animals from other cities in Central Texas.
"The vote today removes the restriction that would have prevented us from helping other communities be able to reach their own no-kill status," Jefferson said.
With this, APA! hopes to expand their ideals to other shelters beyond Central Texas.
"We made Austin a no-kill city, we are keeping Austin a no-kill city and we are trying to make the rest of the country no-kill as well," said Jefferson.