On January 14, 2011, The City Council of Austin, Texas took a decisive third step towards fulfilling the bold commitment to a no kill community made to Austin citizens – it appointed Abigail Smith as Austin’s new Chief Animal Services Officer.
Smith has served as Executive Director of the Tompkins County SPCA in Ithaca, New York for the past four years and is nationally recognized for her work on animal welfare issues. In August 2010, she spoke at the national No Kill Conference held annually at George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. on the topic “The 90% Club: Sustaining No Kill in an Open Admissions Shelter.”
“Abigail has a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to Austin,” City Manager Marc Ott said. ”As a renowned expert in no kill, she understands what Austin needs to do to reach its goal of becoming the first major metropolitan no kill city. We are excited to have her join the City of Austin family and lead this very critical priority for our community.”
Austin’s publicly funded open admission shelter was killing almost half of the 23,000 lost and homeless dogs and cats it impounded each year when its citizens demanded change.
In response to their outrage, the City Council took the first two steps towards sweeping shelter reform by one, passing a no kill resolution and two, approving a no kill implementation plan.
In October 2010, The City of Austin Animal Services Office began actively implementing the no kill plan with the support of its partners and the community.
As a result, Austin is making great strides in achieving its goals of 90% live outcomes, reaching 88% in December 2010.
The Texas Three Step is the brilliant choreography that led to Austin’s monumentally successful performance.
Multnomah County and City of Portland officials are sitting on the sidelines. This is their official invitation to the dance.