January 17, 2022

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Austin Pets Alive! | Pet Evictions

3 min read
Aug 17, 2021

You are likely well aware of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the emerging eviction crisis, which threatens to displace millions of Americans from their homes.

The Washington Post, in an interview with our national arm, American Pets Alive!, just shared the massive potential impacts of the end of the eviction moratorium on pets.

Evictions are on track to be the number one reason cats and dogs enter the public shelter in Austin. Based on our Pet Eviction Calculator, in Travis County alone a whopping 37,340 pets are at high risk of eviction.

If these evictions span the course of 60-90 days, as is expected, our shelters will be overwhelmed. The shelters are not able to absorb even a fraction of this number of displaced pets, without invoking mass euthanasia. We need your help to prevent the senseless loss of animals’ lives.

People are already giving up their animals in anticipation of being evicted, and with the federal eviction moratorium expiring on October 3 we have a very short window to act and prevent catastrophe.

There are two actions we are asking of Austinites today:

  • Call and email the council members and the city manager to ensure that animal welfare leadership is at the table while solutions to mass evictions are being discussed. It is critical that our government, especially here in Austin, doesn’t forget how much pets mean to our residents. To keep human-animal families together, we must plan now. This means ensuring transitional housing is pet inclusive, identifying temporary boarding options at Austin Animal Center for people being evicted, and providing resources and support to pet owners to help them keep their beloved family members.

When you reach out, please say or write that we need real solutions for the whole family, including pets, and animal welfare leadership must play a key role in the city’s eviction response.

  • Get involved. If you want to help a pet owner facing eviction or other financial crisis, join our efforts on the Austin Pets Alive! Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (P.A.S.S.) Facebook page. This page is set up to help pet owners who need help paying pet rent deposits or medical bills, who wish to rehome their pet without shelter surrender, and who need temporary safety net foster caregivers. We need good Samaritans to join as we prepare for many more people in need. Another way you can get involved is to stay tuned to your Nextdoor app and offer to help a neighbor in need—you can proactively put the message out or you can wait until someone posts about a need.

          You may have heard Austin Pets Alive! championing the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) model that turns industry-facing, shelter-based Animal Services into outward-facing, community-centered Human Animal Support Services.

          This fundamental reimagining of Animal Services addresses the root causes of animal shelter intake, in order to serve more pets in their communities and homes and to reduce the number of pets entering the shelter system. HASS partner shelters across the country are preparing for the eviction crisis by expanding community-based sheltering options, like temporary safety net fostering programs, right now. You can read more about HASS’s tools and resources for keeping families together through the eviction crisis here.

          ​We have two choices in the face of this catastrophic looming eviction crisis: let it happen and bemoan the senseless waste of pet life, or do something about it. I hope you will join APA! and do something about it, starting today.

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