AUSTIN (KXAN) — The last of three public meetings scheduled as a part of the City of Austin’s audit of its Animal Services Office shed light on issues with the city’s no-kill shelter: from staffing to overcrowding, volunteers expressed concern about the trajectory of the Austin Animal Center.
ACC is only doing intake for emergencies right now, meaning only injured animals or animals that present a public safety risk are accepted. It’s something that’s only happened three times before: in 2020 due to the pandemic and twice in 2016 for capacity issues.
That was one major concern from people who showed up to be part of the auditor’s process, which is right now working to identify focus areas.
“To not have anything to tell these people who are finding these animals and just saying ‘well keep it and try to get it scanned for a microchip,’ that’s not a solution,” said a woman with Love-A-Bull at Thursday’s meeting.
Volunteers also expressed concern that there wasn’t enough staff at the shelter to take care of all of the animals, and that volunteers were being leaned on to provide routine care instead of supplemental walks and time out of kennels.
“I struggle to find a concern that falls just into one category. The space crisis, supportive behavior services, staffing concerns are all high on my list,” a volunteer with ACC said.
KXAN reached out to the Austin Animal Center late Thursday night, following the meeting, and will update this article when we hear back.
Austin City Council directed the city auditor to look into the issues in July. The audit is expected to be complete by summer of next year.
Right now, the city is working to identify an outside animal expert and hear from the public on what its priorities are for the work. Those in attendance of the public meetings included animal advocates, volunteers with the Austin Animal Center and others heavily involved in animal rescue work.