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In Urgent Need Of Adoptions, Austin Animal Center Removes COVID-19 Occupancy Limits

Oddball is a dog at the Austin Animal Center.
Austin Animal Center
Oddball is a dog at the Austin Animal Center.

Austin Animal Center has run out of kennel space and says it urgently needs homes for an “overwhelming” number of dogs. In order to help get animals adopted, the center is opening at 100% capacity for the first time in over a year starting Friday.

To help Austin keep its No Kill status, the shelter is asking people to adopt medium or large dogs. AAC says it needs to find homes for at least 100 animals this weekend.

“On Tuesday morning, we opened the shelter already in the red for large dogs,” Chief Animal Services Officer Don Bland said in a press release. “Kennel space for medium and large dogs is completely depleted.”

The shelter had been operating at a limited occupancy and adoptions were done by appointment only throughout the pandemic. But now people can walk in and inquire about adoptions without making an appointment. Adoption fees are being waived.

Normally, when AAC has more animals than kennels, it looks to rescue partners, like Austin Pets Alive! and the Austin Humane Society, for assistance. But rescues are also full right now and unable to help.

Jennifer Olohan, a spokesperson for AAC, says the shelter has been seeing more people bring in stray animals as people are getting back to work and more normal, pre-pandemic activities.

“We're pretty much back to those pre-pandemic intake numbers without, prior to today, the ability to get the same number of animals out into adoptive homes, and so we had way more coming in than we were able to get out,” she said, adding this prompted the center to get approval from the city to open without limits on the number of people that can come in.

This year is the 10th anniversary of Austin being a No Kill city. Maintaining that status requires that 90% of animals that enter a shelter are not euthanized.

“[T]he reality of being No Kill is that it takes the commitment of the entire community,” Bland said. “The community must help by keeping animals out of the shelter, helping to reunite lost pets with their families, and supporting only the animals who really, truly need us.”

AAC is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
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