UT students embrace shelter adoption, responsible pet ownership

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With an increasing number of University of Texas students seeking companionship and responsibility, students are looking to animal shelters for a remedy.

Austin is a ‘no-kill’ city, meaning the city’s shelter partners have limits on the number of animals they can euthanize entering the shelter and must implement a large-scale foster and adoption program. To save every animal possible, shelters across the city are brimming with available pets, and UT students are adopting.

“Shelters here in Texas are really faced with a lot more overcrowding issues than typical shelters,” said Luis Sanchez, director of PR and communications at Austin Pets Alive! “What we believe in is that every pet that’s in the shelter system deserves a chance at finding a family, and what sets us aside from most other shelters is that we strictly pull from the euthanasia list. We are really the last chance for a lot of these pets.”

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Hall’s cat, Kerbey, was adopted from Austin Pets Alive! in May 2020, according to Hall. (Courtesy: Matty Hall)

Matty Hall, a theatre and dance senior at UT, said they adopted their cat, Kerbey, from a shelter because of concerns with breeders.

“It’s really expensive, first of all, to get from a breeder,” Hall said. “I think breeders are typically very unethical. But, I also wanted an older animal because I have a super busy schedule with school. So I didn’t want to get a kitten.”

Sannidhi ‘Sanni’ Koganti, a neuroscience and human development and family sciences senior, said she thinks UT students adopt from shelters because it’s low-cost and provides companionship.

“I think it’s more affordable for students,” Koganti said. “But, it’s more that getting a pet in college is about having company and kind of, like, a little buddy there.”

Hall echoed this, stating that it’s a “rite of passage” to adopt from APA!

“When I started working here, I always thought that the people coming into the shelter were going to be older,” Sanchez said. “But, when we did our first adoption promotion, it was all 18 to 25 2023. And, it was maybe even just stopping by the shelter to see the animals and pet some animals, but I think that’s really special.”

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Koganti’s cat, Lincoln, was adopted from a shelter during the COVID pandemic, according to Koganti. (Courtesy: Sannidhi ‘Sanni’ Koganti)

What college students should know before pet adoption

College students looking to adopt should keep in mind certain caveats when adopting an animal, such as financial responsibility and the importance of patience when building a relationship with your pet.

Sanchez added that there are other ways to help animals at APA! if you’re not ready to adopt. APA! offers volunteer opportunities and internships, as well as the option to foster a pet, which Sanchez said is “not a huge commitment.”

“You’re still helping an animal be in a home, be cozy instead of being in a shelter,” Sanchez said.

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