Abigail Smith is the Chief Animal Services Officer for the City of Austin, Texas. The Austin Animal Center is a municipal shelter serving Austin and Travis County with an average annual intake of 20,000 animals.
Through innovative programming and community partnerships, Austin Animal Services is entering its third consecutive year with a live outcome rate of 90% or better. AAC is the largest municipal shelter in the United States to reach and sustain No Kill status.
Abigail came to Austin well versed in animal welfare after her work in Ithaca, New York where she served as the Executive Director of the Tompkins County SPCA and founding member and Vice President of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. In that time, she learned some of the keys to successful no kill status include increasing adoptions by keeping animals in the public eye, re-connecting lost pets to their owners and maintaining a strong volunteer force to handle everything from office support and marketing to foster homes.
In 2013, Abigail instituted a program using Austin Animal Control’s twitter account @austinanimals to post daily descriptions/photos of all animals picked up by animal control to help owners locate lost pets. Abigail said ““Each month we see really beautiful, well cared for pets coming in as strays, and no one is coming to claim them. They have collars. They are seniors that have clearly lived with their family for a long time. It is our hope that our return to owner rates will increase with the implementation of this app.” In the first month, the twitter posts helped reunite 202 animals to their owners.
Abigail is presenting at the 2014 American Pets Alive Conference on how Austin Animal Control juggles tasks and navigates politics to sustain no kill practices in a large open intake shelters.
Register now to learn from local and national leaders in no-kill at the 2014 American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference: www.americanpetsalive2014.eventbrite.com