How Austin Did It - Roadmap to Saving More Lives

March 2018 by Ellen Jefferson, DVM, Ryan Clinton Lee, Ann Shenefiel

Audience: Executive Leadership, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

Video Length: 38 minutes

How Austin Did It - Roadmap to Saving More Lives

This presentation is designed to give you context about the obstacles, the challenges, the successes and the strategies that made Austin, TX the largest No Kill (counting all animals entering the shelter) City in America.

You will be motivated and excited for doing the same thing in your community! This presentation was recorded at the 2018 American Pets Alive! Conference.

About Ellen Jefferson, DVM

Dr. Ellen Jefferson graduated veterinary school in 1997 and started her career in private practice. In 1999, in response to an 85% death rate at the city shelter, she started EmanciPET, a low cost and free spay/neuter clinic in an effort to decrease the number of homeless animals.

In 2008, she was still not satisfied with how fast the city of Austin was moving towards No Kill status, and stepped in as Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! Since 2008, Austin Pets Alive! has been the driving force to bring the entire city of Austin to a greater than 90% save rate and the largest No Kill city in the US.

In 2012, Dr. Jefferson linked with San Antonio Pets Alive to implement the No Kill programs that were proven successful in Austin and helped drive the live release rate from 30% to 80% in 12 months. She is married to a horse veterinarian and they share guardianship of 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a bird.


About Ryan Clinton

Ryan is a Texas appellate attorney, a shareholder at the law firm Davis, Gerald & Cremer PC, and a former Texas Assistant Solicitor General. In 2005, Ryan founded FixAustin. org, an animal-advocacy organization aimed at making Austin a "No Kill" community.

Ryan has been repeatedly named a Texas "Super Lawyer" in Texas Monthly magazine and, when he qualified, was named one of the top 25 attorneys in Texas under the age of 40 by Texas Lawyer.

He was also a 2009 recipient of the No Kill Advocacy Center's Henry Bergh Leadership Award. He is a frequent speaker on animal law and advocacy throughout the country.


About Lee Ann Shenefiel

As Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer of the Austin Aniaml Center, Lee Ann oversees Animal Protection, outreach and prevention programming and the center's volunteer program. A recognized leader in no-kill animal sheltering, the Austin Animal Center saves over 94% of the almost 18,000 animals it takes in each year. Community-focused programs serve thousands of area residents and help keep pets with their families.

Prior to coming to Austin, Lee Ann was the Business Operations Manager at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in northern Virginia and has over a decade in public service with a focus on connecting the community and government.

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