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Austin Animal Shelter At "No-Kill" So Far For 2011

Photo by KUT News

Since January, 90 percent of animals taken in at the Town Lake Animal Centerwere fostered out, adopted, given to a rescue group, or returned to their owners. The threshold for "no-kill" status is 90 percent.

If you’re looking at individual months, the shelter passed the 90 percent threshold three times this year, in February (92 percent), April (90 percent), and June (91 percent). But the shelter’s director, Abigail Smith, says they’re not claiming victory yet.

“A month of 91 percent is meaningless,” Smith told KUT News. “I would consider no-kill to be an embraced state of mind, philosophy, a commitment that has been made.”

“At this point in the game, I would call us still working really hard to achieve no-kill success. By no means do I think we’re done,” she said.

Still, it’s a significant change from June 2010, when the no-kill rate was only 65 percent.

So what are they doing differently now compared to then?

Smith says they are trying harder to get stray animals reunited with their owners. The shelter is also occasionally providing low-cost adoptions and putting animals in foster homes. One key component to lowering the kill rate, Smith said, is making spaying and neutering services widespread and as affordable as possible.

The Town Lake Animal Center is currently competing in an ASPCA competition to be named America’s favorite shelter and win $15,000. If you would like to vote, you can do so here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the animal shelter had attained only 89.6 percent no-kill rate for the calendar year.  We regret the error.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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