Austin Shelter Dogs Deserve Better
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For the past seven years, Austin Animal Center has proudly been running the largest No Kill shelter in the country. However, an adequate amount of animal care staff has not been hired to properly meet the needs of all the additional dogs saved by No Kill. Consequently, many large dogs at the shelter languish in their kennels anywhere from 24-48 hours, many of whom are house-trained, who hold their excrement and pee for inhumane periods of time and who are at the shelter for months even up to over a year. The winter is especially difficult for the large dogs as they are locked up in small spaces for 12+ hours, and many of the ones who are not walked end up relieving themselves on their beds as there is no where else to go. This is simply inexcusable suffering.
Additionally, dogs are highly social animals who suffer emotional and physical stress while at the shelter, which is only exacerbated when languishing in cages for exorbitant amounts of time. If the large dogs were given two daily breaks from their kennels, we would see more adoptions, less suffering, less behavioral problems, and less volunteer burnout.
We are asking that Austin City Council mandate that all of the large dogs receive two 15 minute daily breaks from their kennels and that the City hire more animal care staff. There is no question that the shelter needs a sufficient amount of paid dog walkers so that the dogs get out of their kennels twice a day. If Austin is going to be the gold standard for the No Kill movement, there has to be enough staff to humanely meet ALL of the basic needs of the dogs. The dogs deserve better.
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