Saving the Bottom Fifty Percent

August 2012 by Ellen Jefferson, DVM

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

Video Length: 68 minutes

This session was presented by Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Veterinarian and Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive!, at the 2012 Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Conference at the University of Florida. Dr. Jefferson gives an overview of how Austin Pets Alive! (APA) changed the face of shelter euthanasia at the city shelter by tackling difficult shelter medical issues. Knowing it would not be as simple as just saving more of the easy-to-save animals, APA examined the specific types of animals being euthanized and developed targeted programs for these groups to enable a live outcome. As a consequence, Austin went from a 50% save rate to a 90% save rate in two and a half short years and is now the largest "no-kill" city in the United States.

Learning objectives:

  • Develop a broader perspective on what kinds of programs are necessary to save the most challenging types of animals in open admission shelters
  • Learn how to adopt out the "unadoptable"
  • Discover how to leverage the community to save more pets
  • Master how to save lives with little to no funds

After viewing the presentation, click here to take the quiz and receive a Certificate of Attendance!

About Dr. Ellen Jefferson, DVM

Dr. Jefferson is a leader in Austin's No-Kill effort. She joined Austin Pets Alive as Executive Director in 2008 and began applying best practices in efficiency and operations to resolve Austin's previously high euthanasia rate. Within the first year of her leadership, Austin Pets Alive reduced euthanasia in Austin by more than 20%, and in 2011, Austin reached a 91% save rate. She founded EmanciPET in 1999 and has been its Director for nine years. Before that she worked nights as an emergency room veterinarian, volunteering during the daytime at the local animal shelter. She graduated from Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997.

Since 2008, Dr. Jefferson has been the Mayor's appointee to Austin's Animal Advisory Commission, and in 2009 she was a finalist for the Austin Under Forty Awards. She also served on the Nation Spay/Neuter Task Force from 2007-2009 and has had work published in the peer-reviewed veterinary literature.


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