For Immediate Release:
June 20, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Austin, Texas – Austin Animal Center (AAC) is overflowing with homeless animals—an ongoing crisis for the past few years—and is again turning animals away while warehousing over 560 dogs in crates during near-triple-digit heat for up to 23 hours a day. Upon witnessing the conditions in which the dogs are held, Council Member Mackenzie Kelly said she wouldn’t wish such treatment on her worst enemy. In response, PETA rushed a letter to Mayor Kirk Watson and the Austin City Council this morning urging them to pass an emergency ban on breeding and selling animals in order to help stem the influx of homeless dogs and cats.
PETA points out that refusing entry has typically been AAC’s response to the growing number of animals in the community who need safety and shelter, which betrays them and residents alike and fails to address the root cause of the homeless-animal crisis—more animals are being born than there are suitable homes for them.
“The city of Austin is failing animals by warehousing some in hot, cramped crates and turning others away at the door,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “There just aren’t enough suitable homes for all the cats and dogs being born, and PETA is calling on the mayor and the city council to tackle this problem at its source by banning breeding immediately.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Watson and the city council follows.
June 20, 2023
The Honorable Kirk Watson, Mayor of Austin
Austin City Council
Dear Mayor Watson and Council Members:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our tens of thousands of members and supporters in the Austin area to urge you to pass an emergency citywide ban on breeding and selling animals in order to assist ones who are now in crisis and to reduce pressure on the city shelter, which has been operating well beyond capacity.
After Council Member Mackenzie Kelly visited Austin Animal Center (AAC) recently, she said she left with a stomachache and stated, “I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to be treated in that condition.” She said that she had witnessed stressed and frustrated dogs warehoused “at the truck port behind the center” in the heat, imprisoned in tiny wire crates to which they were reportedly confined “for more than 23 hours a day.” Meanwhile, breeding continues, producing even more animals the city cannot cope with.
Refusing entry to animals has typically been AAC’s modus operandi to respond to the growing number of animals in the community who need safety and shelter, which betrays animals and residents alike and fails to address the root cause of the homelessness crisis—more animals are being born than there are suitable homes for them. Dangerous policies at ACC are exacerbating this crisis in Austin. Turning away at-risk animals results in the abandonment of many of them on the streets, where they breed more homeless animals and die in painful, violent ways when they’re hit by cars, attacked by other animals, or shot, poisoned, drowned, or killed in other ways by humans who don’t want them.
Austin city leaders often claim to care about the city’s homeless-animal population, so it’s past time to take a leadership role in preventing animals from becoming homeless in the first place. The current crisis demands emergency legislation to ban the breeding and sale of all animals. It’s also critical that the publicly funded animal shelter be required to accept every animal taken to it.
We, our Austin resident members and taxpayers, and all kind people urge you to act today. PETA stands ready to provide draft legislation or other assistance. Please let me know what we can do to help.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.
Teresa Lynn Chagrin
Animal Care & Control Issues Manager
Cruelty Investigations Department