Austin Animal Center Records – Part 2

In this post, my intention was to list each of the 17 dogs reportedly killed for space at Austin Animal Center on May 11.  In reviewing the records, I found only 15 dogs killed on that date.  In the middle of the grouping was another dog, killed on May 15.  I have included her at the end.  Complete records, including photos, are available here.

Killed on May 11, 2012:

1.  Midnight (ID #A609869) – intake date May 6, owner surrender due to fighting with other dogs, level of friendly behavior:  high, killed for “aggression”

2.  Stewie (ID #A620165) – intake date February 14, stray, the final behavior notes in his record are:

05/11/12 10:42 Per vol. Harrell, “A few days ago, I took Stewie out and he would not quit biting the leash, even with the PVC pipe attached. Today, he did the same thing EXCEPT he fairly quickly redirected to just “walking, looking, and sniffing” and we had a nice walk together. He enjoyed being petted, stayed calm the whole time, and was easy to leash and to rekennel.” DPW

05/11/12 11:41 There is now a chain leash hung on Stewie’s kennel – hopefully that will not be so much fun for him to bite on and pull. ALR

Stewie was killed for “behavior” roughly 90 minutes after that note was entered.

3.  Bandit (ID #A620611) – intake date April 28, owner surrender due to severe separation anxiety and:

In every instance where source stated dog was aggressive (with people, kids, dogs, and cats), she said aggressive means dog gets highly aroused, plays obsessively and does not know when to quit. Bandit never tried to hurt any person or animal, he just plays really rough and sometimes nips.

Bandit was killed for “behavior”.

4.  Tyson (ID #A621053), intake date February 29, stray, behavior notes from dog walkers indicate he would get over excited when it was his turn to get leashed up but once outside the kennel he was a great dog.  The final behavior note:

05/10/12 12:10 MAN went in to kennel with leash to take him out for a potty break. before she tried to leash him he kept jumping up and snapping out of excitement. he bit her on the leg and inner thigh while inside the kennel. once out on a leash the dog saw a cat run by and he turned around and grabbed the top of her rain boot. bites did not break skin but bruised. HXC

Tyson was killed the next day for “behavior”.

5.  Shari (ID #A621142), intake date March 6, stray, notes indicate she would pull hard on the leash, jump a lot and bark at other dogs, behavior was better after she ran off some energy.  Shari was killed for “behavior”.

Mosely at Austin Animal Center.

6.  Mosely (ID #A621243), intake date March 3, owner surrender due to change in circumstances.  Mosely was put on the kill list twice for “behavior” but removed the first time:

04/05/12 17:33 Discussed with Ian, removed from euth. This dog can become over-aroused and hard to manage when stressed, but shows good awareness of social cues, seems able to learn better bite inhibition, and responds well to training. Will continue to try to work with him through our volunteer program. ALR

05/11/12 13:25 euth for behavior (no space anymore). IEH

7. Aria (ID #A621454) – intake date March 24, owner surrender due to escapes. The final behavioral note in her record is dated May 7 and ends as follows:

Not suitable for young or boundary-less children, nor for an inexperienced home, nor one where aversive training methods will be used, and she’ll do best if she can spend plenty of time indoors with her family so she doesn’t end up feeling alone and exposed left outside on her own. More confident outside than indoors, but mostly she’s insecure, so indoor time will be good to boost her confidence and let her feel the safety of being with her “pack.” Interestingly, no reaction at all to a cat.

Aria was killed 4 days later for “behavior”.

8. Ruby (ID #A622047) – intake date March 16, owner surrender due to escapes, notes seem to me to indicate the dog was going kennel crazy, killed for “behavior”.

9. Dallas (ID #A622429) – intake date March 24, stray, the final behavior note in his record says:

05/05/12 17:09 Continues to have lots of saliva on chin and chest – i think he is stressed in kennel environment. He comes to front fencing and if you hold your hand up he may nip at your fingers in a nervous/anxiety/snippity kind of way, and he pushes hard with his muzzle to try to push out of gate, so I expected him to be hard to handle. But on leash, he’s totally easy to manage, he’s gentle, he allowed teeth exams, paw handling, liked petting, and he showed friendly, playful behavior towards several other dogs, and seemed housetrained. He MAY be less stressed if we can find him a kennel-mate that he gets along well with… ALR

Dallas was killed for “behavior” 5 days later.

10. Ellie (ID #A624224) – intake date April 11, owner surrendered along with a litter of 4 pups, notes describe her as a high intensity dog with lots of drive and a fixation on tennis balls, killed for “behavior”.

11. Vince (ID #A625726) – intake date April 27, owner surrender due to landlord issue, on May 6 a vol noted:

Overall I would rate him a Easy, but with a Blue dot since he is shy & a bit fearful – you probably have to spend a few minutes with
him first to gain his trust … but I think he is getting the idea that BRIGHT Yellow/Green t-shirt = Treats :-) RJB

Vince was killed for “behavior”.

12. Syska (ID #A625802) – intake date April 28, owner surrender due to heartworm status, behavior note on May 10 says Syska is a shy dog but “she just needs to get warmed up”. She was killed for “behavior”.

13. Gracey (ID #A625930) – intake date April 30, owner surrender due to aggression with other dogs, described as “easy”, “cute” and “playful”, staff member suspected Gracey bit a customer although the customer reported suffering “rope burn” due to a leash mishap, killed for “behavior”.

14. Chicco (ID #A626214) – intake date May 4, 10 years old, owner surrender due to change in life circumstances, growling and snapping at shelter, killed for “behavior”.

15.  Stray (ID #A626435) – intake date May 7, 14 year old dog, medical notes indicate emaciation, severe muscle wasting, open wounds, reluctant to stand, euthanized for “suffering”.

Sammie at Austin Animal Center.

Sammie (ID #A625573) – intake date May 6, owner surrender due to fighting with other dogs in home, described on May 9 as “Highly focused/intense on tennis balls and/or tug-toys, and did obey “rules” in both fetch and tug. Knows “sit” “down,” “roll over,” “sit up” and “shake” and may know many more commands.” Sammie was killed for “aggression” on May 15.

23 thoughts on “Austin Animal Center Records – Part 2

  1. I’ve used the word Orwellian before to describe situations like this. I can think of no other word that fits. It’s as if Ingrid Newkirk slipped into the building under the cover of darkness and went on a killing spree. I kept shaking my head as I read these descriptions. I have no doubt that Sammie would have made a great dog for the Search Dog Foundation based in California. Can someone tell me the definition of “behavior”? It seems to be the catch-all description but it means nothing to me in this context. If there is more to this story that people like me just aren’t seeing, I would like nothing more than for someone with personal knowledge of the circumstances to educate us all and explain how/why it is that things are not what they seem.

    1. I think of all the times shelter directors have come back with “You are not seeing what you are seeing”, this would be one time I’d actually like to hear it and the supporting explanation.

  2. Arggh! Their definition of aggressive: “highly aroused, plays obsessively and does not know when to quit” sounds like my idea of a fun dog who just needs supervision, boundaries and training (and would probably make an awesome flyball or agility dog if all that energy were just redirected)! It really kills me to read these things, because all of these cases sound like dogs I would think of as fun and highly trainable. The one that really breaks my heart is Syska, who seems to have been killed for being shy.

    This is making me cry.

  3. I have to wonder how many other dogs they have right now that match these descriptions exactly?

    I also have to wonder what effect the killings have on the people who obviously put time and effort into these animals? This is how you drive good people away and end up with abusive and/or apathetic staffers.

    I wonder…if I walked a dog and made notes about helping to improve his behavior and assessed him as a good dog and he was killed 90 minutes later for “behavior”, does that qualify as a hostile work environment? Because I sure as hell would have trouble coming in and doing my job the next day.

    1. The excellent notes made in the records are a powerful testament to the dedication of the volunteers who work with these challenging dogs. You can tell by reading that these are knowledgeable, caring people. I can’t imagine how much it hurt when all these dogs were suddenly killed in one day.

  4. They killed for space. Any attempt to convince the public otherwise is just another shelter blowing smoke. Cannot say how far this shelter has fallen in my estimation. And it doesn’t help that they’re trying to cover their asses by lying. The only dog listed who might have had an incurable medical condition is the emaciated stray ID #626435. Maybe he had a serious disease that caused muscle wasting and severe weight loss. We’ll never know. Immeasurably sad for all of them. This should not have been allowed to happen at Austin.

    1. The pets who died at Austin didn’t die in a vacuum. They died in a political context. A complicated one. Background info here–

    2. It’s so disturbing. The claims made about these dogs, and the dogs and cats in Part I, are a catalogue of the excuses used by shelters that kill for space. Anyone can see that they shouldn’t have been killed. Agreed that stray ID #626435 might have been medically hopeless and irremediably suffering, but given what was said about these other, obviously savable animals, I’m assuming otherwise.

  5. I wonder how the people that surrendered their animals feel about their pets being murdered. Did they believe these animals would be trained and rehomed. How sad that these dogs were killed for being dogs.

  6. My comment under Part I should belong here:

    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.

  7. Most every dog I have owned or fostered had some of these behaviors, but I didn’t think about killing them for it.

    Was anyone warned before the killings that these dogs were being put on a kill list? What about the former owners — did they get a call about their released dogs at a “no kill” shelter that were going to be killed?

    So sad. Will there be more killings ahead?

    1. In the notes for most of the animals, it says Austin Pets Alive declined. In the cases where someone had asked to be contacted before killing, it appears AAS did contact them. One surrendering party (for Vince) felt he wasn’t given appropriate contact before killing and that was notated in the records. I can’t verify anything beyond this, such as whether the kill list was made public 2 business days in advance, but I have heard no such reports.

      1. So are Austin Texas people being told the real story about this shelter killings? Do you know if any of the local rescue groups or no kill groups are planing anything to prevent more killings for space in this shelter?

  8. So heartbreaking and disturbing it made me sick. This needs to stop now!! It sounds like the dogs were killed just for being dogs!!

  9. What I have read here is appalling & I saaw NO NEED TO Ruth any of these dogs. What I did read is that Austin Animal Center has inept walkers for their animals who have not a clue about behavior, thus giving this intent to slaughter the fuel to feed.. It was murder alright & I hope the former owners of these once great dogs are haunted by their surrender. As far as aggression in any of these dogs, all I see is dogs being dogs especially when it came to alpah status. Happens all of the time in a home or place with multiple dogs housed. If an owner or a walker handler knew what the hell they were doing, no “aggression” (& I use this excuse of a word lightly, for the reasonings to KILL was just that EXCUSES!!!) would have occurred, especially the jerk walking Tyson who claims being bit. You do not belong in such a position if you do not know what love nips are, and that is exactly what poor Tyson was doing. If he weren’t, your skin would have been broken.


    1. Trisha, you are out of line in calling the people who volunteer to walk and describe what the dog does with them “inept” and “have not a clue about behavior.” These are detailed notes that few shelters in the country even bother to let volunteers write, and they are very helpful in understanding the things an animal might need help with to either stop or redirect behavior that the average adopter either won’t understand or might find difficult to deal with. As Shirley pointed out, the volunteers at AAC have put in time and effort in getting to know these dogs, walking and caring for them, and none of them where the person who made the call to have them killed.

      And to call the person walking Tyson a jerk is just nasty. There are various types of bites, some break skin, some do not, and they are important to note all of them because it makes a big difference in what kind of home the dog should go to. Yes, these dogs likely could have been worked with to the point they would have been happier, calmer, and easier to adopt, yet they were died before that happened. The volunteers weren’t the ones who made that final choice.

  10. I have a few questions…

    “In the notes for most of the animals, it says Austin Pets Alive declined.” — declined taking on the animal? Does this mean that they were told that these animals where in danger of being killed?

    So is there just too many pets entering the Austin shelter too fast and APA can not place the ones they have fast enough to take on the shelter ones in danger?

    Do hope that the shelter and APA both work to figure out a way to adopt out more pets faster so no more will be killed for space.

    1. I have no info beyond what’s in the records but I believe your interpretation is a reasonable one.

      APA has agreed to stop importing pets from outside Austin until the current crisis is over. IDK when it will be (or was) determined to be over.

  11. The elderly dog who was put down for open wounds, refusal to stand, muscle wasting, etc, sounds like he was suffering to me. I don’t understand why you put “suffering” in quotation marks for that one? I mean, there is no picture of him and none of us know the true extent of his injuries, but from the description it certainly SOUNDS bad. Old dogs with severe illness do tend to have a poor prognosis. What amount of suffering does an animal have to be in before it is ok with you that they be PTS?

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