Animal related


Helping People Help Pets

aka APA!

Austin, TX


To promote and provide the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals in Central Texas.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Dr. Ellen Jefferson

Main Address

1156 W. Cesar Chavez Street

Austin, TX 78703 USA


animal welfare, animal rescue, no-kill, animal adoption, shelter, cats, dogs, pets, humane, Austin





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Austin Pets Alive!'s programs and initiatives directly address the shockingly high, needless euthanasia rates in U.S. animal shelters. APA! aims to provide sustainable, replicable solutions that can save 100% of healthy and treatable shelter pets. A part of the problem is the lack of good data for identifying and analyzing the problems that lead to euthanasia and that can guide effective solutions. APA! participates in improving the data that will play a major role in establishing new processes and practices for saving shelter populations.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Medical Clinic - Wellness & Triage Care

Neonatal Kitten Nursery

Parvo Puppy ICU

Ringworm Adoption Center

Feline Leukemia Sanctuary and Adoption Program

Barn Cat Program

Dog Behavior Programs

American Pets Alive!

PASS (Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender)

Dog and Cat Adoption Programs

Cat and Dog Foster Programs

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of animals rescued

Population(s) served


Context notes

APA!'s goal is not simply the number of rescued animals at risk for needless euthanasia in other shelters, but to ensure every treatable and healthy shelter dog and cat in Austin has a live outcome.

Number of animal adoptions

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Dog and Cat Adoption Programs

Context notes

Adoption figures may not include "pre-adopts," pets chosen by a family for adoption but not yet fully released as they await spay/neuter surgery or complete medical treatment.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Austin Pets Alive!'s original aim was to create the resources and innovative programs necessary for saving all healthy or treatable, non-aggressive dogs and cats in the city of Austin's animal shelter system. With APA! collaborating closely with Austin Animal Center, the city is now at a 97.4% save rate, unprecedented for a large city. APA! has been working to spread its reach to surrounding counties, offering its services whenever possible to other community shelters to help them also reach no-kill status and helping to shift mentalities in what is possible for saving and adopting out homeless pets. Additionally, the organization now works to help animal welfare groups in other communities replicate APA!'s individual medical, behavioral, rescue, foster and adoption programs as those communities work toward the comprehensive no-kill model now well-established in Austin, Texas, under Austin Pets Alive!'s leadership.

The key facets of Austin Pets Alive!'s strategical framework are to work in partnership with Austin Animal Center and other area shelters, to take a data driven approach, and to systematically create programs each addressing a problem that leads to shelter deaths. APA!'s model is to work holistically and systematically on all fronts to solve the problem of shelter killing by creating partnerships, working on legal and policy issues, and creating innovative medical and behavioral programs to solve problems that lead to needless euthanasia in animal shelters. APA! has deliberately targeted the most challenging pets in order to create a safety net for all dogs and cats, to ensure all are saved. With an eye toward making no-kill progress nationwide, APA! works to find solutions that are effective, sustainable and replicable. To broaden its reach, APA! has recently added a training academy to its operations, in which shelter and nonprofit personnel from all over the country come as apprentices to learn how to replicate the programs of APA!. Additionally, the training academy teaches other groups how Austin's city shelter and APA! have worked together to make Austin the nation's largest no-kill city.

Austin Pets Alive! has developed an expert staff skilled in animal care and collaboration, huge volunteer and foster networks, a strong relationship with the city of Austin, a large and ever-improving development team, and a strong base of community support. Led by Dr. Ellen Jefferson, an award-winning animal welfare professional, APA! has come to be respected as a leader in the animal welfare field and seen a model for the rest of the nation.

The ultimate indicator of Austin Pets Alive!'s progress is the percentage of homeless cats and dogs that make it out of Austin's shelter system alive. When the organization first started pulling pets from Austin Animal Center's euthanasia list in 2008, APA! was on a mission to make Austin a No Kill city, defined as a community with at least a 90% live release rate. Austin reached that level in 2011, and by 2017, the city was consistently attaining live release rates of nearly 98%, an outstanding achievement so far unmatched by any other large city. As APA! started partnering with other shelters in surrounding counties, their save rates improved too. Numerous Central Texas shelters, most especially the Austin Animal Center, have come to depend on APA! to save and adopt out pets with challenging but treatable medical and behavioral issues through its many specialized programs. As APA! works to spread its no-kill successes beyond Austin with its shelter partnerships and education initiatives, progress means ensuring Austin continues to maintain high live release rates as APA! helps a growing number of communities reach and surpass the 90% no-kill threshold through direct assistance and the sharing of knowledge.

Having led the way in making the city of Austin, Texas, the nation's largest No Kill city, Austin Pets Alive! is working to help more communities achieve no-kill status by teaching other rescue groups and shelters about APA!'s innovative and lifesaving programs, and by extending APA!'s services to more shelters and pets throughout Central Texas. In 2018, the organization will build out its Maddie's® Lifesaving Academy, bringing over 500 students annually to its central facility in Austin and to the city's Austin Animal Services to learn how to replicate Austin's outstanding success in no-kill practices. Additionally, the academy allows APA! expert staff to travel to, consult with, and mentor shelters and groups in other communities in their efforts to become no-kill.

External Reviews




Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Full-Time Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Full-Time Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Full-Time Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity