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Austin Animal Center reports positive numbers for May

Thursday, June 14, 2018 by Sommer Brugal

May was a good month for the Austin Animal Center. At its meeting Monday evening, the Animal Advisory Commission heard from Interim Chief Animal Services Offer Lee Ann Shenefiel, who stated that more than 600 animals were adopted last month, with about one-third of those pets being adopted over Memorial Day weekend. She also said that more than 60 pets were returned in the field by animal protection officers, who “deferred successfully about 3.5 percent of our potential intake.” Shenefiel also commented on the continued success of the center’s outreach program, Dogs 101, an in-jail foster program at the Travis County Correctional Complex that enables inmates to train dogs before they’re ready for adoption. Shenefiel described the program as “a really valuable partnership” and said both male and female inmates are equally invested in taking care of the animals. One final success story related to cat life outcomes. According to Shenefiel, the center recently saw the lowest life savings rates it had experienced in some time. “After seeing the decline in cat life savings last month, (Acting Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer Jason Garza) and I took a deep dive into that population of animals that were not having live outcomes.” She went on to say that the center is working to ensure that decisions regarding suffering animals are being made in a more organized and consistent manner. “All euthanasia decisions, regardless of the type of animal or the situation the animal is in, have to be approved by the director going forward,” she said. At this point, the life savings rate is close to average. Commissioners Lisa Mitchell and Palmer Neuhaus applauded that outcome and thanked the center for its swift action and decision-making. Though the low numbers last month were “extremely unfortunate,” Shenefiel said, the center views the events as a learning opportunity and a chance to institutionalize some life-saving practices and processes at the center.

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