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Austin animal shelters need emergency fosters and supplies ahead of the Arctic blast

A yellow dog stands outside in a kennel at the Austin Animal Center on June 9, 2023. Summer is usually the time when Austin Animal Center receives the most surrendered dogs.
Patricia Lim
KUT News
Dogs stand in the outside portion of their kennels at the Austin Animal Center last June. The organization is seeking donations and fosters ahead of below-freezing temperatures expected to hit the Austin area this weekend.

Editor's note: Over the weekend, Austin Pets Alive! found foster homes for 175 dogs housed in outdoor kennels, and all 30 barn cats were adopted. Staff and volunteers stayed overnight at the shelter, bundled up dogs with blankets and turned on heat lamps to ensure the animals were safe and warm.

A strong cold front will arrive in Austin this weekend and local animal shelters are looking for supplies and emergency fosters to keep dogs warm that are currently in outdoor enclosures.

In recent years, Austin Animal Center and Austin Pets Alive! have been flooded with intakes, and have struggled to keep up with shelter capacity since the pandemic.

Austin Pets Alive! is asking community members to help provide warm foster homes over the weekend for more than 240 dogs.

"Especially for dogs who are underweight, seniors, and those with broken kennel doors (allowing cold air in). We are hoping to get them out of the shelter to ease any potential suffering," the organization wrote in a newsletter.

The shelter is looking to get as many animals as possible into foster homes before Sunday.

Foster applications are available online and provide a range of options depending on your home and how you would like to help. Options range from short-term sleepovers, with a minimum of two nights to a maximum of one week stay, to long-term stays, which typically last a few weeks but can be as long as desired.

Austin Pets Alive! is also looking for people to adopt 30 barn cats.

If you can't foster an animal, the Austin Animal Center is asking community members to drop off supplies, particularly new or gently used XL sweaters to keep short-haired dogs warm in outdoor crates. Austin Pets Alive! is also accepting monetary donations or supplies.

Maya Fawaz is KUT's Hays County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @mayagfawaz.