Tuesday, March 24, 2020 by Nina Hernandez

Austin Pets Alive! shutters due to COVID-19, still seeking fosters

Over the weekend, Austin Pets Alive! made the decision to close its lobby and bar its clinic from any public visitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the city-run Austin Animal Center shuttered its doors last week, Austin Pets Alive! remained open during its normal business hours until Saturday, when APA Director Ellen Jefferson informed the community the lobby would also be closed.

“Today is the first day that we are officially closed to the public,” Jefferson said in her daily video update Saturday. “That does not mean that we are not adopting out or fostering out animals. We still have animals inside that we would like to get into adoptive homes.”

Every door on the campus is now adorned with bright yellow signs reading, “SORRY. We are operating by appointment only.” The sign has a link to the website where community members can choose pets to adopt or foster, and email addresses for dog and cat adoptions as well as a link to donate for those who would like to contribute.

Email matchmaker@austinpetsalive.org to be matched with a dog or cat-matchmaker@austinpetsalive.org to be matched with a cat. Potential fosters can email foster@austinpetsalive.org for more information.

Jefferson said in an update Monday that the shelter is working with other Texas shelters to bring animals that may otherwise be euthanized due to lack of space into APA.

“We knew it was going to be a huge problem, but it’s becoming an even bigger one, because some shelters weren’t allowed to prepare or didn’t prepare by getting animals out to foster,” Jefferson explained, “and are now being hit with shelter-in-place orders, meaning that they can no longer have the public at their facility and their staff is being reduced drastically overnight.”

Jefferson said APA is committed to working with these shelters “so that we can save their lives and make sure that animals aren’t dying during this crisis.”

She also noted that the shelter’s thrift shops – which help raise funds to keep the center operating – are currently closed to the public, but the organization will be moving all of its inventory online as soon as possible in the hopes the community will make the switch to shopping online.

“We need the funding from our thrift stores really badly,” she said, “and so the fact that we have to close is a huge deal, because we still have to pay rent.”

While Austin Animal Center is shuttered, it is still accepting intake of injured or dangerous pets or pets whose owners have been evicted. The center is not currently accepting owner surrenders.

“If you find a stray animal, one thing you can do proactively as a citizen is go to their website and post that animal as found so that hopefully their owner has the opportunity to find them online and reunite with them.”

Photo made available through a Creative Commons license.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin Animal Shelter: This shelter is the official shelter of the city of Austin, opened in 2011. It is located in East Austin on Levander Loop.

Austin Pets Alive!: An animal shelter with unique rescue programs targeting animals that would have been euthanized.

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