Austin Animal Center Records – Part 1

These are some of the animals killed at Austin Animal Center during the week of May 10 – 16, 2012. The records were obtained via a FOIA request and can be viewed in full here.  Due to the large number of animals, I am breaking the story into 2 posts.

Bogie at Austin Animal Center.

Bogie (ID #A626599) was an owner surrender to Austin Animal Center on May 8. His surrender form indicates he bit a person, not breaking the skin, during “rough play” and had an issue with resource guarding – specifically, food. His level of friendly behavior observed at the shelter was listed as “high”. Due to the reported behavioral history, AAC labeled him aggressive and killed him on May 14. He was 7 months old.

Charlie (left) at Austin Animal Center.

Charlie (ID #A626575) was another owner surrendered pet received on May 8, reportedly for fighting with other dogs. He knew how to sit, come and shake hands. His surrender form describes him as being gentle with children and affectionate with people. Charlie was kenneled with a female dog at AAC. The only behavioral note in his record was made on May 11 when he barked and lunged at the gate while a person was standing at his kennel. He was killed on May 14 due to “aggression”.

Carter at Austin Animal Center.

Carter (ID #A609529) appears to have been originally impounded in September of last year, transferred to Austin Pets Alive and adopted out. On May 6, he was surrendered to Austin Animal Center relating to an incident that happened on April 28:

Carter escaped when a 4yr old opened the door. Didn’t respond to voice commands. Neighbor brought his dog out and Carter attacked. He bit when the people were trying to break up the fight. No aggression towards people before or after.

The person Carter bit brought a lawsuit and demanded he be surrendered to the shelter. The records indicate that Austin Pets Alive was asked to take him back. There are no behavioral observations noted while at the shelter in 2012. On May 13, a note was entered regarding details of the bite incident:

I made contact with the bite victim regarding the bite that this dog was involved in. The bite victim sustained wounds that are classified as “Serious Bodily Injury” under the Dangerous Dog Chapter 822.001 of Texas Health and Safety Code. Due to this information, Per victim statement, this dog saw the victim’s dog and ran over and began fighting with the victim’s dog. Victim was able to stop this dog from attacking his dog, but this dog re-directed toward the victim causing injuries to the leg, Due to the severity of the victim’s injuries, this dog is not a candidate for placement. APA has been emailed to advise them of this information.

Carter was killed for “aggression” on May 14.

Cat #A626363 at Austin Animal Center.

Kitten #A626363 was listed as a stray female, 7 and 1/2 weeks old, intake date May 6. Her records indicate she was dewormed, vaccinated, treated for fleas and tested negative for FeLV and FIV. The only other note in her record indicates a foster was willing to take her. This kitten was killed due to “suffering” on May 12.

Elizabeth at Austin Animal Center.

Elizabeth (ID #A626332) was a stray with an intake date of May 5. Her medical records indicate that despite being a tiny kitten, she appeared to be thriving and eating with her littermates. Those notes were dated May 9. On May 10, she was killed due to “suffering”.

A litter of kittens (ID #s A626754,  A626757, A626760, A626762) was brought in on May 10 at 4:23pm.  There are no photos in the records but the age is listed as 4.86 weeks.  The only medical notation was made at 4:47pm:  “euth due to suffering, severe URI and very young.”  Cat #A626707 was also brought in on May 10, listed as 2.86 weeks old and weighing very nearly 1 pound.  The medical note for this cat seems to contradict the age and weight information:  “new born kitten, no mother with kitten, weak. Will euth due to suffering.” There is no photo of this kitten.  Were any of these 5 kittens treatable?  It’s hard to say based upon the brief veterinary notes, especially considering I am not a veterinarian and did not see these kittens.  But it is known that kittens with upper respiratory infections may be treatable.  And I would consider it normal for a newborn orphaned kitten to appear weak.

What about Bogie, Charlie and Carter?  Do they reasonably fit into a behaviorally hopeless category based upon the information in the records?  Was the reference to state law in Carter’s record made because he would have been declared dangerous by a judge eventually? Kitten #A626363 and Elizabeth were both killed due to “suffering” but there are no notes in their records to indicate they were even mildly sick.

I’m asking these questions because I don’t know the answers and when shelter pets are killed, I feel a need to try to find answers.  What are your thoughts?

11 thoughts on “Austin Animal Center Records – Part 1

  1. My thoughts run from extreme anger to extreme sadness. Those kittens were not even given a chance – and very well could have thrived in a foster environment. I have fostered cats and kittens with URIs all the time. They need a stress free environment, good nutrition and meds and usually do very well. I just don’t understand the “throw away” mentality that allows these people to kill all of these animals.

    As far as the dogs – killing a 7 month old puppy for playing rough? I’ve learned enough about dog bites to know that it’s usually the circumstances (often created by stupid or unknowing humans) that result in a dog biting. I can’t believe that they could not have been rehabilitated, but now we will never know.


  2. I don’t think any of the dogs were behaviorally hopeless. Hard-to-place, maybe, but not hopeless. Even Carter. Even the sweetest dogs can easily get into an altercation with other dogs, and breaking up a dog fight ALWAYS carries an element of risk for a human. But the fact that he showed no signs of aggression before or after the incident means he’s not hopeless or irredeemable.

  3. They took the easy road. Easier than calling a foster, easier than doing any sort of proper behavior evaluation, easier than continuing to feed and water the animals.

    You simply fill the needle, inject the animal, bag it up and throw it away. There. Done. Simple!

    Someone should probably explain to them that killing is not their job. Getting animals out alive is and when they don’t, they failed. But many (far too many) shelters think that killing is their job, that it’s animal “control”.

    When leadership fails to understand the goal, nothing good will follow.

  4. Of the animals listed here, the only one I see any reason to even consider destroying is Carter simply because someone was prepared to (and apparently did in the form of a lawsuit) testify that he caused severe bodily harm when unprovoked. I looked at the Texas Statute. If his people had wanted to fight for him, there would have been a hearing. I presume the person bit has medical records and it is likely a judge would have ordered him destroyed.

    In saying that, I’m not saying I agree with it. I think often times we set dogs up for failure and we make matters worse. But for the young child letting Carter out this never would have happened and I do not consider him aggressive. As for the other animals, the descriptions used are just a cop out from where I sit. It’s hard to believe they relate to Austin. What in the world happened? Did all the sane people take they day off? Yes, I’m being flippant. I’m frustrated.

  5. They killed a kitten that had a foster ready to take her? I thought Austin was no-kill? Or is this facility not part of the no kill network?

  6. What about linking shelter leaders’ pay with their live saving efforts? When they fail the animals they get a pay cut, when they save more they get a pay increase. Since so many shelter leaders seem to only care about their paycheck maybe linking it to saving lives would help save more animals?

    “Abigail Smith will be in charge of running Town Lake Animal Center , the city animal shelter, and carrying out a no-kill plan aimed at increasing pet adoptions and decreasing euthanizations at the shelter.

    She will start March 15 and earn a $115,003 salary.

    “Abigail is outstanding,” said Ryan Clinton , president of the animal advocacy group . “She leads an animal shelter that has already achieved no-kill. She’s very bright and very dedicated to the cause.”

    For the past four years, Smith has been executive director of the Ithica, NY-based Tompkins County SPCA , which has operated as a no-kill shelter for a decade,”

    1. Dangerous, Joni. Then we end up with crazy hoarder people claiming “no kill” when they purposefully prolong suffering to get better statistics. You see, you’re thinking *rationally* and assuming that everyone else is, too. Sadly, that is not always the case…

      Competent leadership with lifesaving goals is what’s needed. I had no idea it was so uncommon, though.

  7. Some of the dogs had been there a couple months and it sounds like they were getting kennel stress! The shelter needs to work harder to get the longer term residents in foster homes so they will not get stressed. They could also have a program where the longer term residents are walked and played with more frequently and for longer periods of time.

  8. “The records were obtained via a FOIA request” — if this is a shelter following the no kill equation that recommends that shelters be accountable and transparent in their actions why did you have to do a FOIA request to get this info? Shouldn’t just give you it without having to go though a FOIA?

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