Austin, TX – The Sixth Annual American Pets Alive! No Kill Conference will be held on November 5-7, 2016, in Austin, Texas. Thanks to our sponsors: The Ron Fletcher Estate, Maddie’s Fund (maddiesfund.org), Best Friends (bestfriends.org), PawEdu (pawedu.org), and Animal Farm Foundation (animalfarmfoundation.org), people from all over the nation are able to come together to learn the practices, strategies and programs that led to saving over 90 percent of shelter pets within a community. This “No Kill” standard has been maintained in Austin, TX, for more than five years.

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Citizens often don’t understand the rate of shelter killing in their own communities, or understand what being a No Kill Community means. And, when they do begin to understand, they often don’t know how initiate the change in their own hometowns.

In this year’s conference, we’ll cover a number of different ways that communities have gone No Kill, such as Austin, TX (through lobbying of city officials and a legislative mandate), Fairfax County (through a shelter director’s decision), and Kansas City, Missouri (through advocates and volunteers forming a non-profit and bidding on a government contract).

Once a citizen (or group of citizens) get started, they can build a groundswell of support. In Austin, Ryan Clinton of FixAustin.org and Dr. Ellen Jefferson (then director of Austin Pets Alive!) joined forces. Ryan would lobby the city while Austin Pets Alive! (www.austinpetsalive.org) would take the practical, hands-on approach of saving every pet they could by placing them in foster homes. Through the lobbying of city officials, they were able to pass a No Kill ordinance, which provided certain protections to shelter pets that had not been in place before.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, government employee Tawny Hammond took over the shelter and made it No Kill through the implementation of best practices, programs, strategies and innovations. There was no lobbying of the city and no government mandate. Tawny Hammond is a woman with a vision and determination to see it through in the fight for No Kill.  She now runs Austin Animal Center (https://www.austintexas.gov/department/aac) and continues to innovate and spread the message of No Kill to other communities.

In other communities, such as Kansas City, Missouri, advocates such as Brent Toellner fought for years to save more pets. Finally, the chance emerged. They had to create a non-profit (www.kcpetproject.org) and bid for the government sheltering contract. Against the odds, they won it. It is a No Kill community today.

These are just some of the stories and strategies that our national No Kill leaders will share. They will share their challenges, their successes and the hard work behind all of their success. Other national speakers include Marc Peralta of NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles – Best Friends Animal Society), Scott Giacoppo of Washington Humane, Steffen Baldwin of ACT Ohio, Arin Greenwood formerly editor of Huffington Post and Bark Post, and Kristen Auerbach of Austin Animal Center.

Learn about the life-saving practices, strategies, and programs and how to get started at the American Pets Alive! No Kill Conference (www.americanpetsalive.org).

Continuing education credits (24 hours) are available for animal control officers.

A special #ThankstoMaddie, the dog who inspired the creation of Maddie’s Fund®, and to Best Friends Animal Society for helping us #SaveThemAll, for their support on this conference.

Also posted on Austin Pets Alive blog here.

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