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2 Austin Animal Shelters In Crisis Mode

Updated: Friday, June 13 2014, 06:18 PM CDT

Two of Austin's animal shelters are in full crisis mode. Austin Pets Alive! on Cesar Chavez faces closure. That's putting another shelter at risk for overcrowding.

What led to the issue is the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department has funding available for a master plan of Lamar Beach Park.

It's the stomping grounds for the non-profit as well as home of the YMCA and West Austin Youth Association.

"Austin Pets Alive has an agreement with the city to operate Town Lake Animal Center until May 2015," said Director Dr. Ellen Jefferson.

That's when Jefferson says the rundown building will be demolished making way for the new park.

"We haven't been able to find anything that is the right size requirements, that have impervious cover, is not part of a big flood plain," said Jefferson.

The good news? The master plan calls for a new adoption center.

"But we don't have the funding or staffing to do it. So if a partner like Austin Pets Alive is willing to pay for it, staff it themselves and fill the council directed resolution why wouldn't we do that?" said Council Member Mike Martinez.

Jefferson says they will have the funding with backing from Willie Nelson.

"We are so pleased what he put out on social media to support this cause," said Jefferson.

But the Trail Foundation believes taxpayers should have their say it what happens.

"Parks have counted uses. There is limited space available. They are not making urban parkland anymore and I think that is what we all need to keep in mind. Let everyone say what they think should happen to this park." said Susan Rankin, the executive director for the Trail Foundation.

Council will vote Thursday to start the stakeholder process. It will be in the public's hands to decide the fate of the furry friends.

Council will also take up an item to address overcrowding at the Austin Animal Center.

Council Member Mike Martinez wants the city to make room in the budget for 120 additional kennels.

Approximately $1.2 million of city funds in addition to $1 million in grants from the Maddie's Fund could pay for 60 kennels.

Additionally $2.8 million of city funding could pay for another 60 kennels.

Martinez believes these two options are resources the shelter needs to maintain its no-kill status.

By Christie Post

2 Austin Animal Shelters In Crisis Mode

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