NPO Spotlight: Austin Pets Alive!
This article is part of the NPO Spotlight Series in which we highlight nonprofits who are doing excellent work.
2.7 million animals are euthanized every year in American animal shelters. Nearly 40% of the animals that enter shelters are euthanized for a variety of reasons. However, two major contributing factors to the high euthanasia percentages are animal aggression and overpopulation.
By finding solutions to reduce the above contributing factors, we can work toward reducing euthanasia. Austin Pets Alive! is a nonprofit that is implementing several programs towards eliminating euthanasia in the Austin area. Founded in 2008, the charity’s programs have helped the city of Austin save 90% of animals for over 5 years!
When cats and dogs enter a shelter, each animal must have a temperament test before being cleared for adoption. The animal’s behaviors are assessed in a controlled environment a few days after they enter the shelter. Typically, the test measures the animal’s reaction to touching, reaction to certain noises and also interaction with other animals. If dangerous levels of aggression are displayed, the staff member may elect to euthanize the animal.
Austin Pets Alive! implemented a Dog Behavior Program which is a possible solution for dogs that display aggressive behavior. The mission of the program is to provide the dogs with resources to enhance their quality of life and prepare them for life outside of the shelter. The organization has seen an 80% decrease in length of stay and a 30% increase in adoption rates since the program began!
Every year, cats and dogs are euthanized because there are more animals than there are available loving homes. According to the American Humane Association, overpopulation is a recurring and obvious obstacle for shelters. The two main factors that contribute to problem is:
- Allowing cats and dogs to reproduce (with little chance that offspring will have a safe home)
- Pets being given up by owners who can no longer keep their animals
One short term solution to overpopulation is providing foster homes for cats and dogs. Austin Pets Alive! has a successful foster home program that includes the Teen Foster Program. The program allows for children 12 and up to foster a pet with their parents’ supervision for 4 to 6 weeks. The teens can help save an animal’s life and also gain community service hours for fostering.
Making an Impact
Another solution this organization provides is the P.A.S.S. Program. This program provides several avenues of support to Central Texans in need so that they can keep their pets rather than surrender their dogs and cats to the county shelters in Austin.
Thanks to Austin Pets Alive!, Austin has been a no kill city for 5 years and counting! The organization has saved more than 30,000 cats and dogs from euthanasia. YourCause is proud to have processed $339,017 in donations and company grants to this organization in 2015!
To learn more about this amazing organization, please visit the Austin Pets Alive! website.