AUSTIN (KXAN) — After weeks of high intake, the Austin Animal Center has no kennels left for new animals coming in and has gone into emergency mode.

In a last ditch effort to save the animals, AAC is partnering with Austin Pets Alive! and the Austin Humane Society and is waiving adoption fees. This applies for all the animals in all three shelters starting Friday, through the weekend.

Three animal shelter and rescue groups are teaming up to get 500 animals adopted this weekend (Flyer from Austin Animal Center)

The group has set a goal to get at least 500 animals adopted through the weekend.

“AAC is on target to take in a record number of animals this year — twenty percent more than last year and the most since 2014,” officials wrote in a press release Friday.

Jennifer Olohan, Communications and Media Manager said, “June of last year, I think we had about 1,500 intake animals, and this year, we’re already over 1,800.”

She added, they’ve been trying to be creative with “putting animals in hallways, offices, in crates, but it’s not how we want to care for them.”

The increased animal intake is not just growing in Austin. AAC said shelters across the nation are seeing the trend, and they don’t know why.

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Officials said Austin is the largest no-kill community in the nation.

Austin Pets Alive told KXAN, without the relationship between AAC and APA!, the City of Austin’s live release rate would be around mid-70%; whereas with our help taking in the animals that would be otherwise euthanized at AAC, the City of Austin has a live release rate of 98.5%.

How dogs and cats end up at these shelters

Olohan told KXAN, about 70 percent of the animals that end up at AAC are lost animals brought into the shelter by the public. That other 30 percent is primarily made up of owner surrenders.

She said about the strays, “the majority of those animals are picked up less than 1/10 of a mile from home, so if you’re finding an animal, chances are they live only three or four houses down.”

Olohan explained, “the only way we’re going to [bring down the number of intakes] is by stopping animals from coming in in the first place.

She’s hoping if you find a lost animal, you’ll be able to keep it for a little while, while you try to search on social media for its owner.

“If you found a dog in south Austin, it has a better chance of being reunited with its family if it’s kept in south Austin,” Olohan said. “That’s where you’re going to see any missing posters families post or Nextdoor posts or social media posts.”

Austin Pets Alive and Austin Humane Society don’t take in strays.

This year, Austin Pets Alive said, about 60 percent of their animals came from outside Travis County. That includes our surrounding 4-county area, the Coastal areas as we are still affected by Hurricane Harvey and then other kill shelters.”

Austin Humane Society said less than half of the animals that come to AHS are owner surrenders. The remainder comes to AHS through transfers from shelters all across the state of Texas, including many from AAC.

How to help

Both Austin Pets Alive and Austin Humane Society took some animals to their shelters from AAC to make an immediate impact on AAC’s overcrowding problem.

All three are offering free adoptions this weekend.

If you want to step in and adopt a pet, you can go to any of these locations all weekend long:

  • Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Austin Pets Alive!, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez Street (11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane (12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday)