Austin Pets Alive Seeks to Stay at Current Location

For more than 60 years, homeless dogs have found refuge along Lady Bird Lake.

"There is really nowhere else in Austin that we would be able to run this program," Lindsay Marsh with RuffTail Runners said.

RuffTail Runners is a nonprofit that started exercising shelter dogs for Austin Pets Alive in 2011. Both nonprofits moved their mission to the city's old animal shelter two years ago, and both have watched their respective programs grow.

"We are averaging 300 runs a month," Marsh said. "In the past 21 months, we have had over 730 different dogs who have been taken out to the trail. It's exploded."

Austin Pets Alive is on a piece of property known as Lamar Beach. Ball fields make up the rest of the park, which is about to have its future vision drawn out.

Austin City Council Members Mike Martinez and Laura Morrison want Austin Pets Alive to be able to stay where it is after that future vision is complete.

"Our ability to achieve the no-kill status that we have has been — in great part — about partnering with organizations in town," Morrison said.

She said the city's always planned to keep an adoption center along Lady Bird Lake, even after the city shelter moved to East Austin in 2011. Who runs the center, Morrison said, is up in the air.

"That's about who can do the job, who has the resources, what is the best deal for the city and the citizens of Austin," she said.

Marsh said the best deal is keeping the nonprofits that are already in place where they are for the dogs' sake.

"It's really important that they get out of the shelter, get exercise, get real world experiences with cyclists, strollers, other dogs, ducks," Marsh said.

The City Council is expected to vote Thursday on keeping Austin Pets Alive at its current location. The nonprofit is asking hundreds of supporters to share their reasons why Austin Pets Alive should stay.