The Austin Chronicle

Leaky Lurie and the Memo Mayhem

March 6, 2009, News

Want to follow the most recent shelter controversy through its every twist and turn? Start at, where aired its concerns about a city animal crematorium and reduced shelter capacity in a Feb. 23 blog post titled "Industrial Animal Incinerator at East Austin Shelter Site?" Then read David Lurie's subsequent letter to City Council about the shelter (PDF download), and follow that with FixAustin's e-mail blast responding to Lurie's so-called "leaked memo" (below).

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Leaked Memo Confirms Incinerator Talks, Fewer Dog Adoption Kennels at New Animal Shelter

Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 13:17:50 -0600

From: Fix Austin <>


According to a leaked memo from Acting Assistant City Manager for Health and Human Services David Lurie to the Austin City Council, the new animal shelter planned for East Austin will have 20 fewer kennels in the dog "adoption" area, meaning the new shelter will have less space for dogs saved pending adoptions. In the memo, Lurie argues that the larger "adoption" kennels will theoretically permit multiple dogs to be housed in each kennel, but informed animal-welfare observers doubt the current TLAC manager would maximize use of the space given the fact that current management kills healthy and adoptable animals every day at the current cite despite not utilizing more than 100 empty cages.

Worse yet, the leaked memo confirms that TLAC staff is considering building an animal incinerator at the East Austin site, meaning that children in East Austin will be breathing in the ashes of dead animal bodies for decades to come. With the incinerator back on the table (its planned existence was heavily denied during the 2007 shelter-move controversy), it is no wonder why the then-Toby-Futrell-led staff wanted the shelter moved away from downtown Austin so badly. There is simply no way that the City would have built an animal incinerator near the West Austin t-ball and soccer fields.

The City plans to kill more than 8,000 animals this year with an animal-control budget of nearly $6 million. Under TLAC director Dorinda Pulliam's helm this decade, the city has killed roughly one animal every 12 minutes the shelter has been open to the public.

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.