Profile Drellenjefferson

Dr. Ellen Jefferson

Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive!

Ellen Jefferson, DVM, is the Executive Director for both Austin Pets Alive! and American Pets Alive!, as well as an instructor for the Maddie's® Lifesaving Academy.


Dr. 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, still not satisfied with how fast the city of Austin was moving towards No Kill status, she 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, and to redefine what No Kill means, as Austin's save rate now approaches 98%.


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. Dr. Jefferson was unanimously chosen as the first recipient of the Avanzino Leadership award, named for the father of No Kill and given for her outstanding contribution to the No Kill movement.

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