The Daily Hustle: 12/8/10

Raining cats and dogs on the animal welfare front

Santa's little poopers
Santa's little poopers (Photo courtesy Flickr user El Caganer [CC])

Puppies! And Kittens!

That's right, the city (not to mention the Hustle) are pulling at your heartstrings for the holidays, as low or no cost pet initiatives are under way this winter season, along with the continuing search for a new Animal Services officer.

First up, the animal center is slashing adoption prices. From the city:

Home for the Holidays’ cuts fees for pets from Town Lake Animal Center

In celebration of the holiday season, the Town Lake Animal Center “Home for the Holidays” promotion will reduce the adoption fee from $75 to $35 for all “ready-to-go” dogs and cats from Dec. 11 through Dec. 31.

“Santa Paws is Coming to Town" will kick off the holiday promotion from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12. Santa and his elves will be available for pictures with newly adopted pets. Foster-care cats and kittens will be on hand and ready for adoption.

Additionally, as a gift-giving idea, the Animal Services Office would like to suggest a “Pet Gift Certificate” instead of giving an actual animal. It is difficult to ensure a good match between a new pet and owner so the gift certificate is a great option and helps ensure the match is a forever one.

Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Sunday and closed on City holidays.

The adoption fee includes the following with a value of more than $200:

  • Spay and neuter surgery.

  • All vaccinations, including a one-year rabies vaccine.

  • A HomeAgain microchip.

  • An adjustable nylon collar.


For those with a little one already whose budgets are stretched, the city and Emancipet are offering free pet health services:

Animal Services Office offers free spay/neuter services

The City of Austin Animal Services Office in partnership with Emancipet will provide a free rabies shot, collar and tag, microchip and spay/neuter for dogs/cats in several ZIP codes throughout the Austin community.

The Spay Street Program will help the City address the issue of the homeless pet population in the community, thus reducing the risk of these animals being euthanized.

Residents who live in the following ZIP codes can take advantage of this free service: 78701, 78702, 78721, 78723, 78724, 78741, 78744, 78745, 78753 and 78758.

To utilize this service, call (512) 587-7729 to make an appointment. The Emancipet clinic is located at 7201 Levander Loop. Proof of residency is needed when dropping off the pet. All dogs must be leashed and all cats must be in carriers. Kittens and puppies must be 8 weeks of age or older.

The benefits of spaying/neutering your pet include saving money by financially caring for one pet versus all of their offspring and it eliminates the stray males hanging around your property to breed with your female pet. Additionally, siblings won’t breed with each other and/or their parents and there is no need to find homes for unwanted litters.

For more information or if you live outside of the qualifying ZIP codes and need assistance, call the Spay Street Public Health Educator at (512) 972-5832 or visit

And of course, the search continues for austin's new Animal Services officer, with a familiar name back in the running:

City continues interview process for Chief Animal Services Officer

The City of Austin will host a community meeting Dec. 14 for the public to meet the last of five candidates for Animal Services Officer and to receive input.

The final candidate being considered for the Chief Animal Services Officer is Abigail Smith, Executive Director, Tompkins County SPCA in Ithaca, N.Y. Smith was unable to attend interviews in November when others were available due to an unforeseen circumstance, and City officials extended the timeline to provide her the opportunity to participate.

Smith will be interviewed earlier on Dec. 14, then attend the meet-and-greet public session from 6 to 7 p.m. at Palmer Events Center, Meeting Rooms 1 and 2, 900 Barton Springs Road. Free parking will be available in the Palmer Events Center parking garage. At the meeting, participants will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with Smith.

Other finalists are:

  • Linda Haller, former Chief Animal Services Officer, El Dorado Animal Services, Placerville, Calif

  • Laura Hinze, Operations Director, PAWS Chicago, Chicago

  • Ellen Jefferson, DVM, President, Austin Pets Alive, Austin

  • Julie Seal, Director of Charitable Development, Anova (an organization working with autistic and learning-disabled children), Santa Rosa, Calif., and founder of RESCUE, an animal welfare organization in Phoenix

Ruff! Ruff!

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar:

The Water and Wastewater Commission meets at Waller Creek Plaza, 625 E. Tenth, Room 104, 6pm.

The Solid Waste Advisory Commission meets at City Hall, Council Chambers, 301 W. Second, 6:30pm.

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