ACC, Austin Pets Alive! & Bastrop County Animal Shelter start new partnership

Partnership places pets cared for by ACC Veterinarian Technology during the semester in loving homes

Austin Community College (ACC) launches a first-of-its-kind partnership with Bastrop County Animal Shelter and Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) to provide cost-effective medical care and treatment for homeless pets and get them placed into loving homes.  

“We fall in love with the animals over the months that they are in our care. Whether it’s someone at ACC or through APA!, we want to know that they’re going to a family who will continue to love them,” says Kerry Coombs, Veterinary Technology Program department chair. “This partnership is the next step in ACC providing the skills our students need for their career in veterinary care. Together, we’re not only training the students who will be taking care of your pets in the future but also reducing the financial, medical, and physical burden on area shelters.”

Through the partnership, Bastrop County Animal Shelter identifies stray animals in need and best suited for ACC’s Veterinary Technology Program. Students who are training to become vet technicians foster the dogs and cats at ACC’s state-of-the-art animal care facilities in Elgin and provide care such as vaccinations, dental work, heartworm prevention, and basic training, socialization, and playtime. 

Pets not adopted throughout the semester are placed in foster care or a forever home through APA!, a pioneer in comprehensive, innovative programs designed to save the animals most at risk from euthanasia.  

“We are so thrilled that ACC has asked us to be a partner in this and that we can help ensure a great outcome for the wonderful cats and dogs in their program,” said Stephanie Bilbro, APA!’s Director of Lifesaving Operations - Shelter. “We hope that this is just the first step in an ongoing relationship that will benefit the greater animal-loving community through education, outreach, and cooperation between organizations.”

ACC students care for more than a dozen animals each semester.  

“Through this partnership, we can ease the burden at Bastrop County Animal Shelter. Being in a rural area, we consistently face overcrowding. This is a win-win-win for all of us and gets pets into loving homes,” says Ashley Hermans, Bastrop County Animal Services director. 

Since ACC launched its Veterinary Technology Program in fall 2014, enrollment has tripled. Students can specialize in a particular discipline including emergency and critical care, internal medicine, zoological medicine, and research after graduation. According to the Department of Labor, Veterinarian Technology careers are expected to grow by 52-percent by 2020 in Texas. 

For more information about the program, visit To meet our pets, visit