AUSTIN (KXAN) — Eighteen dogs were adopted during an Austin Animal Center event Saturday amig an ongoing space crisis. The event followed a video that appears to show dogs in a crowded room inside the Austin Animal Center going viral on social media last week, drawing even the attention of national groups.
“There’s no excuse for what the video circulating on social media depicts: animals warehoused en masse in crates with no hope in sight,” PETA Animal Care and Control Issues Manager Teresa Chagrin said.
The Austin Animal Center is at crisis capacity and closed intake earlier this week in an attempt to manage the number of animals already at the overcrowded shelter. One volunteer described the situation as “heartbreaking.”
“That means that every kennel run is full, we have dogs in crates all through the kennel runs, we have dogs in crates in multi-purpose rooms, we have dogs in crates in a temporary crate which holds about 20 dogs. So we are at capacity, above capacity,” said Jane Rubenstein, a volunteer with the Austin Animal Center who was out at the shelter’s ‘Clear the Crates’ event Saturday.
Rubenstein said the shelter is desperately in need of additional volunteers, like her, to help walk the high number of animals in the shelter now. She said they aim to walk every dog at least three times a day, but also said when they can’t hit that minimum the dogs who are not kept in crates are left behind.
That was the purpose of an event Saturday, which aimed to adopt out nearly 40 dogs. Dogs were put in crates on the lawn of the shelter, kept out of the Texas heat by a large tent and massive fans. All fees were waived for the dogs, most of which were larger breeds.
“It is overcrowded, we’re at crisis capacity, intake is closed,” Rubenstein said. “We need the community to get behind us and show up.”
For people who can’t adopt right now, Rubenstein again urged volunteering. She also said after the video went viral of dogs inside the shelter this week, they received huge numbers of donations. She said they are still in need of crates, food and blankets, among other items.
“Things have gone viral on social media,” she said. “The more [donations] we have the better.”
If all 40 of the dogs out on the lawn Saturday get adopted Rubenstein said the shelter would “still be over capacity, but it would be fabulous.”