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Austin Animal Shelter explores ways to ease overcrowding

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TWC News: Austin Animal Shelter explores ways to ease overcrowding
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Austin's animal shelter managers are looking for ways to ease overcrowding.

They say apartment breed restrictions are exacerbating the problem as the majority of dogs in their care are simply not allowed by most apartment complexes.

"We get owner surrenders daily, and that is due to housing,” Lauralei Combs with the Austin Animal Shelter said. "They may have a little shepherd. They may have a little (Rottweiler), they may be on one of those breed restrictions that is so commonly found in apartment housing in Austin. They have to give up their beloved pet, and we have to try to find placement for it."

She's hopeful that city leaders will find a solution.

Right now, Combs only knows of one property management company which allows animals based on behavior rather than breed.

Landlords have previously told YNN their insurance companies do not allow aggressive breeds on site.

Discussion for a solution began here at City Hall last June, but a spokesperson with Council Member Mike Martinez's office said any kind of action by City Council is still a long time away.

In a statement to YNN, Martinez said, "While we’ve heard from constituents in the past and know that the Animal Advisory Commission is discussing this issue, we are not aware of any active resolution or ordinance being considered by the Council at this time.”

Martinez and fellow council members have said in the past that they know the animal shelter is in a fragile position. As a so-called “no kill” shelter, they must ensure at least 90 percent of the animals that come under their care make it out alive.

"We are working nonstop to keep it no-kill, but it's a big effort by the community," Combs said. "It's a big effort needed by the housing community, as well."

The Animal Advisory Board meets next Wednesday. Discussions will continue with shelter managers, landlords and policy experts.

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