AUSTIN (KXAN) — With restricted intakes in place at the Austin Animal Center, residents are saying they’re unable to bring in stray dogs they find loose in neighborhoods, parks and other areas.
Round Rock resident Melissa Hollan was at Lady Bird Lake on Saturday when she found a loose dog without a collar running around and chasing other dogs, her husband, Troy, told KXAN. When she went to bring the dog to AAC, Troy said his wife was told to return the dog to where it was found.
According to AAC’s intake capacity level, the shelter is currently at an “emergencies only” intake status, with 323 medium to large dogs in the shelter’s possession. Kelsey Cler, AAC’s marketing and communications manager, told KXAN the shelter is asking its rescue partners for help managing intake requests.
“We are asking rescue partners daily for assistance, but they too are very full and a lot of municipal shelters are asking for their help too. It’s a national shelter crisis,” she said in an email, adding, “we’re in a really tough time right now.”
What are you supposed to do if you find a lost animal?
With intake restrictions in place at AAC, what are you supposed to do if you come across a loose dog or lost animal? Cler said most found animals are likely to reunite with their owners if the finder can hold onto the pet while looking for their family. If not, AAC recommended the finder ask neighbors for assistance with watching the pet, with shelter officials adding they will help scan for a microchip and provide finders with food, a crate and other pet supplies.
Katie Kennedy, director of communications at the Austin Humane Society, said in an email AHS tries to transfer animals from AAC into its own adoption program as possible. Within the past 30 days, Kennedy said AHS has transferred more than 30 animals from AAC into AHS’ shelter.
“We also prioritize surrender appointments from people living within Travis County to prevent more animals from needing to be brought to AAC,” she said.
While AHS can help by transferring animals into its adoption program, Kennedy added AHS is not a stray holding facility and can’t help take in lost animals brought to their shelter.
Per AAC guidance, she said animal finders should call 3-1-1 and report the lost animal, as well as have the shelter check for a microchip.
The city’s lost and found pets page highlights pets that have been reported lost, as well as offers an opportunity to create a found animal report. Kennedy also suggested checking Nextdoor and Craigslist for any lost pet posts or text “foundatx” to (844) 764-2125 for more lost animal tips.
Austin Pets Alive!’s Community Relations Officer Suzie Chase — appearing with four-year-old Bedtime Tea — added lost pets can also be taken to a local veterinarian or fire station to scan them for a possible microchip. In addition to that, she echoed checking in the neighborhood or area the lost pet was found.
“Really work your neighborhood, go ahead and take that dog around the neighborhood,” she said. “We find that most lost dogs are actually not that far away from their homes.”