Austin named “DogTown USA” — award spotlights best city for dogs

September 11, 2014  

dogparade

This Saturday, September 13th, animal advocates from around Austin will participate in the Best Friends Animal Society’s 3rd Annual Strut Your Mutt fundraiser. Attendees are encouraged to raise funds for their favorite local animal welfare group, participate in a walk or run with their dogs, and join in a wide array of fun activities for the whole family.

Dog Fancy Magazine, the world’s most widely read dog magazine, will also be joining the event, recognizing Austin as the winner of DogTown USA 2014. Every year, Dog Fancy readers nominate an American city that represents to them the most dog-friendly accommodations. Dog Fancy editor Ernie Slone will be representing the publication to present a check for $5,000 to the City of Austin. The City will donate the winning prize money to their designated local dog charity Austin Pets Alive, one of the most accomplished No-Kill adoption centers in the United States.

“As America’s first large No-Kill city, it’s an honor to receive this recognition from Dog Fancy Magazine awarding Austin the title of being the best city for dogs and people who love them,” said Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez. “Years of dedication and hard work on behalf of the Austin Animal Center, Austin Pets Alive, and so many other valuable partner organizations and volunteers have helped us achieve our animal-welfare goals and fostered a pet-friendly environment citywide.”

Austin will be profiled in the September 2014 issue of Dog Fancy, which became available on newsstands in June. Strut Your Mutt is a free event on Saturday, September 13th at Muller Lake Park, located at 1829 Simond Avenue. Registration begins at 8am, and the presentation of the check will begin at 9am. The walk and run will follow at 9:30am with festivities continuing through 1pm. More information on the event can be found at StrutYourMutt.org.

 


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2 COMMENTS

  1. By zipidi7, September 22, 2014

    Several small and large dogs were violently killed in their fenced backyards by aggressive coyotes last year in Austin. A couple of dogs were killed when they followed their owners to the mailbox and were not on leash. The Animal Advisory Commission (AAC) working group wants to weaken the current City coyote management policy that is working (in spite of these pet deaths). If approved the proposed coyote resolution will allow coyotes to injure or kill more dogs, all for less than 10 aggressive coyotes trapped humanly per year. The ACC working group says that all dogs should be on leash at all times or kept indoors, and be supervised at all times including at night when they are in their fenced backyards. Currently the City, via a contractor, only traps the confirmed few aggressive coyotes, humanly by using supervised padded foot hold traps and humanly euthanizing the animal. The AAC working group proposes for the City policy to be changed to use a lethal option only when it is confirmed that the coyote injured or killed the pet. This will cause more dogs to get killed by coyotes because the current policy allows removal of aggressive coyotes when they show all of the characteristics reported in many peer reviewed research papers that indicate that the aggressive coyotes are about to attack. Waiting to remove an aggressive coyote until it injures a pet or human will allow those aggressive coyotes to show other coyotes to become aggressive, multiplying the problem. In addition, trapping re-instills the fear of humans to other coyotes. The AAC working group proposes to allow catching aggressive coyotes only with live cages but these don’t work because coyotes are smart and avoid them. Coyotes can’t be relocated into the wild because of state law limitations. Also, that only means transporting the aggressive coyote to a different area to create a problem there.

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  2. By Craig Nazor, January 22, 2015

    The above statement shows a real misunderstanding about the nature of coyotes, the problems they cause, and the proposed solutions. I was a member of the Austin Animal Advisory Board’s coyote working group that recommended the guidelines that were passed by the Austin City Council (with a few modifications) last December. I am an animal lover who has kept (and rescued) countless animals in my life, including dogs and cats. Our group spent many hours researching the facts about coyotes: Only around one percent of the stomach contents of an urban coyote contains the remains of human pets. Your cat or dog is thousands of times more likely to be injured or killed by another off-leash human pet or car than by a coyote. The subspecies of coyote found in Texas is small – they are a maximum of about 30 lbs. The only time a coyote would attack a dog its own size or larger is if it were defending its pups, which are always hidden in remote places. Leg-hold traps are not humane, and they are indiscriminant – they trap pet cats, dogs, raccoons, opossums, hawks, etc., and they do not always trap the “right” coyote. Even with padding, these traps can break an animal’s leg, and sometimes the trapped animal will chew off its own leg to escape. After being trapped, sometimes for hours, the coyote is NOT killed “humanely” – it is either shot or stomped to death. The leash law in Austin REQUIRES that all dogs be kept on a leash whenever they are on public property, except in designated areas. Coyotes very rarely ever enter fenced back yards in Austin neighborhoods. This whole issue came up because a whole family of coyotes had been trapped and killed in an Austin NATURE PRESERVE, and MANY citizens complained. There are no peer-reviewed research papers that show that an individual coyote’s future aggressive tendencies can be predicted from observed behavior. The only real danger is when well-meaning people feed coyotes. DO NOT FEED COYOTES. Coyotes are one of the few predators left in the Austin area. They eat mostly rats, mice, snakes, and small mammals. They keep riparian habitats healthy and actually help increase songbird populations. Coyotes don’t eat many deer, but they do change the behavior of deer – neighborhoods like mine in north Austin, where there has been a healthy population of coyotes for years, have few problems with deer, whereas neighborhoods where coyotes have been trapped extensively have far more problems with deer. We DID NOT propose trapping and moving coyotes. While the law has been changed and it is now LEGAL to move coyotes under certain restrictions, the coyotes do not survive being moved because they are reliant upon family groups to survive, just like humans. The new guidelines allow problem coyotes to be killed in Austin, but there is now more oversight about how and where it is done. Austin is a big enough place for coyotes as well as people (and their pets). After all, the coyotes were here first. The interesting and non-threatening character of the coyote is why native Americans of the southwest referred to coyotes as “God’s Dog.”

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