The city of Austin, Texas, claimed “no-kill” status in 2011, and the Austin Animal Center recently resorted to housing hundreds of barking dogs in cramped crates—as seen in a viral TikTok video. One staffer said the dogs were caged for “23+ hours a day,” and a volunteer stated that dogs were “unfed, without water, and left to lay in their own waste in a small crate for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.”
OVERCROWDING: The Austin Animal Center is overwhelmed with medium and large dogs. The overcrowding is so bad, no more pets are being accepted until 60 dogs can be moved out of these temporary crates. @austinanimals pic.twitter.com/ilQjp96Iy3
— Bettie Cross (@BettieCrossTV) September 14, 2022
In its desperate attempt to meet arbitrary “live release” statistics, the city has also warehoused, placed, or transferred dangerous dogs—including one dog who had been in the shelter for weeks, had a history of biting, and attacked a shelter employee who then needed to be hospitalized. Media outlets have also shared the heartbreaking stories of residents whose beloved companion animals have been mauled, at least one fatally, by aggressive dogs released from the public shelter.
Below, please find a statement from PETA Animal Care and Control Issues Manager Teresa Chagrin following news that, save for emergencies, the Austin Animal Center is no longer accepting dogs and cats:
There’s no excuse for what the video circulating on social media depicts: animals warehoused en masse in crates with no hope in sight. Worse, many animals rejected by the Austin Animal Center will be forced to suffer in 90-degree temperatures on city streets, all in the name of “no-kill.” It’s time for the community to demand that the publicly funded animal shelter keep its doors open to all animals who need refuge, stop warehousing them, and take seriously its obligation to serve and protect Austin residents—both two- and four-legged.
It isn’t just warehoused animals who suffer. Animals turned away by “no-kill” shelters are left vulnerable to the dangers of extreme weather, cars, other animals, cruel people, and diseases. They will also breed, meaning more animals born into a society that has no place for them. Animal shelters won’t solve the homeless-animal overpopulation crisis by turning their backs on animals. The solution is effective, enforced spay/neuter requirements and a ban on breeding. Reducing the number of homeless animals would allow for a focus on quality of life for each individual.