As you may have seen on the news, Austin Pets Alive! will be losing their main facility on Manchaca road due to the landlord wanting to develop the property. Below is the email from their Executive Director, Dr. Ellen Jefferson. Please take a few minutes to read and then PLEASE consider sending in the email to city council and/or attending the meeting on Monday:
We really need your support this week to help Austin Pets Alive secure a new home to continue our operations. We have been told that we need to move out of our Manchaca location in May. We thought we would have it for 3-5 years but unfortunately (for us) the economy has turned around a bit and the owner of the complex will be developing the site. So that means we need to find a place to move all of our operations asap.
Our board is looking for rental locations that might be suitable but they will all require a large amount of work (just like what we created at Manchaca). And that is only if we find one that will take us in. It took 2.5 years to find Manchaca. We have a capital campaign planned for 2013 but it takes a lot of preparation and we can’t launch it until then.
For an immediate solution, we have proposed to City Council that we move all of our existing operations into Town Lake Animal Center for the rest of our contract with them (until May 2013) so that we don’t have to stop operations in order to retrofit a new rental or downsize if we don’t find a building at all. TLAC is vacant except for our animals that are already there and is about 3 times the size of our Manchaca facility. There is no additional cost to the city (cost neutral) and there would only minor retrofitting.
This seems like a perfect solution for us so that we can seamlessly continue saving lives but the bad news is that there is controversy because we rescue lives from areas outside the city limits. Even though we are saving as many lives as we can from the Austin Animal Center, there is still an undercurrent of unhappiness from other rescue groups that don’t think we should use city land if we save animals outside the city.
Saving lives from places like Bastrop, Williamson County, Lockhart, and San Marcos doesn’t impede our ability to help Austin (exemplified by the fact that Austin was at a >90% save rate for all of 2011 while we were saving animals from other counties in addition to Austin’s) but there is a perception that it does.
I think we all agree that using our resources that we have built up over time to save lives anywhere near Austin is worth it to those animals that need saving and to us as caring humane citizens. It doesn’t make sense to not save lives when we can. No matter where they come from.
I am sincerely asking for your support in one of two ways (or both if you can!):
1. Come to the Animal Advisory Commission meeting on Monday at 6pm at Austin Energy. We need lots of speakers and speaking opportunities are limited so please contact me if you can speak on APA’s behalf. You can simply express support for saving lives. It doesn’t have to be long. There are spots for 20 speakers but we need many more people there just to crowd the room. Please wear your APA t-shirt if you can (not mandatory). Nothing speaks louder than a room full of people that all want the same thing. Remember that there will be people there who oppose us so we need to show up in droves to outnumber them. Please come even for 1 hour! No rsvp needed but email me if you can in advance so I have a general idea of how much support we will get.
2. Write a letter to the Austin Animal Advisory Commission and the City Council to express support. You can email the AAC at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/boards/results.cfm?bid=2 (obviously, you don’t need to include me and Palmer Neuhaus). You can email all of city council at once at http://www.austintexas.gov/mail/all-council-members . We posted a blog about this subject yesterday at http://www.austinpetsalive.org/2012/02/a-letter-from-the-executive-director-apas-request-for-full-use-of-the-tlac-space/ which will give you lots of information. And I have attached the handout I used for the Health and Human Services Subcommittee meeting last week. For simplicity we have crafted this email that can be copied and pasted into an email to city council or feel free to write your own:
“Please support Austin Pets Alive in saving animals throughout Central Texas. APA has made Austin attain a 92% save rate and the only way they can continue to offer that support to Austin is if they have a home. Please allow Austin Pets Alive to use the vacant Town Lake Animal Center until the site needs to be used by the city. This will be at no cost to the city, will save thousands of lives, and will keep Austin at a 92% save rate. If APA doesn’t move into TLAC, Austin risks losing status as the largest no kill city in the country. Your vote is the difference between “Austin No Kill” and just plain Austin.”
Thank you all so much. We really need you on Monday and your emails before Monday. If this passes at the Animal Advisory Commission level, we will need to go to 2 more City Council meetings to show support. I will keep you advised of when those are. If this does not pass, we may have to downsize a lot of our operations which will mean many fewer lives saved. I cannot emphasize enough how much we need you right now.