Profile Drellenjefferson

Dr. Ellen Jefferson

Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! & American 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.

My Sessions

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Sat. February 2nd

9:50 am - 10:30 am Map Icon Zlotnik Family Ballroom

AmPA! Fundamentals: The 12 Ingredients Required to Reach >90%

Join Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive!and American Pets Alive!, as she guides you step by step through what are considered Best Practice metrics in outcomes, intakes, and the 12 programmatic ingredients of lifesaving.


12:05 pm - 1:35 pm Map Icon Grand Ballroom Level M3

Luncheon: Texas Initiatives

The number of animals dying in Texas outweighs every other state in the nation. Attend this interactive brainstorming luncheon and let’s take Texas from the worst to the best!


1:35 pm - 2:50 pm Map Icon Salon 5-6

Fundraising Fundamentals for Scrappy Organizations Part 1

Join us and learn fundraising fundamentals for scrappy shelters.


3:10 pm - 4:25 pm Map Icon Salon 4

Why Are Big Dogs So Hard to Save? Identifying and Maintaining Adequate Capacity

Participants will leave understanding what resources they need in place to save large breed dogs.


Sun. February 3rd

10:45 am - 12:00 pm Map Icon Salon 1-2

Combat the Pressure to Kill: Leading with Resilience in Extreme Crisis Panel

Participants will be able to identify tools to use to combat the pressure to kill in crisis situations.


1:15 pm - 2:30 pm Map Icon Salon 1-2

Get Them on Your Team: Engaging and Leveraging Activists to Reach Your Goals

Two of No Kill’s most prominent shelter leaders, Dr Ellen Jefferson and Kristen Auerbach come together to discuss the importance of engaging and working with local activists, even when you feel attacked, to achieve your community’s No Kill goals.


2:45 pm - 4:00 pm Map Icon Salon 3

The First 72 Hours: A Model Intake and Animal Flow Process for Disease Prevention

Finally, an intake and animal flow process designed to help you prevent outbreaks and ensure live outcomes!


4:15 pm - 5:15 pm Map Icon Salon 3

Distemper is Not a Death Sentence

Join this session to learn about the process that Austin Pets Alive! developed to combat distemper without hoarding or culling them.


Mon. February 4th

8:30 am - 9:30 am Map Icon Zlotnik Ballroom

AmPA! Fundamentals: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)- Resources, Responsibility, and Results

Learn how to use your data effectively to help you achieve success and get results. This session will cover how to assign responsibility, how to use data as measurable success, and how to plan to get the resources you need.


9:50 am - 11:20 am Map Icon Salon 1-2

Using YOUR Data for Strategic Planning

Join Maddie’s Fund’s CIO Lars Rabbe and Austin leaders, Dr. Ellen Jefferson and Lee Ann Shenefiel, as they explain how you can use your data to set achievable lifesaving goals in your organization.


2:20 pm - 4:20 pm Map Icon Salon 1-2

Leadership Roundtables

Participants will have the opportunity to connect with some of the nation’s most successful No Kill shelter leaders. Don’t miss the opportunity to interface, ask specific questions and talk with your animal welfare heroes!


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