The mission of the San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SF/ACC) is to keep our community safe, as well as to protect animals from abuse, neglect, and cruelty and to provide quality care for the animals we receive in our shelter. Our goal is to place homeless animals into good, loving homes. In FY 2008-09 alone, SF/ACC saved the lives of 6,452 homeless, injured, orphaned, unwanted, abandoned, and/or mistreated companion animals. (This includes all companion animals saved, not only dogs and cats).
SF/ACC is an open admissions shelter. We accept ALL homeless, injured, orphaned, unwanted, lost, abandoned and mistreated animals, including companion animals, farm animals, exotic animals and native wildlife – every animal brought to our door is welcome, regardless of temperament or medical condition. We differ from many shelters that are limited admissions, meaning that they only accept some of the homeless animals in their community and may refuse those animals that may be difficult to place. Like those shelters, however, we will euthanize when an animal requires medical treatment beyond our ability to provide or when an animal has unmanageable behavior that presents a safety concern to potential adopters or to the community. Thus, as an open door shelter, we do not identify ourselves as “no kill” because we believe the term can be misleading.
We have made significant progress over the years. Just 15 years ago, there were 11,718 homeless animals impounded at the municipal shelter. Then, our live release rate (LRR) – calculated based on the number of the animals entering the shelter alive that leave shelter alive – was 51%. In FY08-09, we took in 9170 animals and our overall LRR was 78%. The national average LRR is reported to be in the neighborhood of 30-50%, including the majority of shelters that do not count small animals or wildlife in their live release formula (for companion animals only, ours was 86% in FY08-09).
Our progress over the years is due in significant part to an extremely devoted staff and the ongoing support of our animal welfare nonprofit partners that improve our success rate by finding suitable temporary and/or permanent homes for every pet possible. Hundreds of volunteers work with us to socialize animals in the shelter, reunite lost pets with their owners/guardians, and to assist individuals looking to add a new family member. Our nonprofit fundraising partner, Friends of San Francisco Animal Care & Control, has provided critical financial support when needed. Other key supporters in our efforts to save lives have been our local business partners, such as Pet Food Express, Pet Camp, Marina Times, Bay Woof, and Clear Channel Communications.
Today, largely due to our Adoption Agreement with the SF/SPCA, we can guarantee a placement for every dog or cat that remains healthy/adoptable, with those animals now able to remain at the shelter and receive love, care and attention for the days, weeks, months, or longer until a new home and family is found. While we have come a long way and are proud of these achievements, we still strive to accomplish more. We are adding annual statistical information to our website which will shed light on our challenges. In particular, we recognize the need to further educate the public about coexisting with local wildlife and the availability of other companion animals at our shelter. SF/ACC sincerely thanks all of our partners, our volunteers, our dedicated staff and the animal loving community of San Francisco for their ongoing support in helping us to continue improving our life saving efforts for San Francisco’s animals. We could not achieve success without you!