Last month, pets and politics made the news. In January, Governor Gavin Newsom rolled out his fiscal budget for 2020-2021 and as part of it, proposed $50 million to make California a no-kill state. The money would be awarded to the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program over a five-year period and would provide shelters – across the state – the training and resources needed to transform their organizations to no-kill.
The need is greater and more urgent than most of us realize. Best Friends Animal Society is carefully and publically tracking euthanasia rates across the country in its effort and mission to “Save Them All.” It turns out that California still euthanizes more than 100,000 pets per year, second only in the nation to Texas. Importantly, the governor’s proposed effort focuses on underserved and under-resourced shelters in the state.
We, in the Bay Area, will certainly benefit from this effort. We all win when pets are rescued and lives are saved. But how do rescues who have had to be highly reactive — pulling pets with time running out — evolve to remain relevant and stay involved in the process of eliminating pet homelessness?
SVPP was started in 2015 with that context in mind. Since the bay area culture believes in, supports and works toward no-kill, we’ve worked to envision and develop an organization that interactively involves the community – in saving lives, making sure adoptions are a good fit, and building the relationship with owners and their pets after adoption occurs. We focus on education, outreach, providing accessible resources, and pet/people involvement. Pup Plaza and our roster of activities there is our flagship example of enabling community engagement. All of these activities, in the end, support our mission of saving lives and ending homelessness.
But, not every community is as far along on the no-kill continuum and the governor’s budget proposal — if enacted — can help change our state-wide statistics. The budget will be revised in May, the legislature has until June 15 to approve it, and the Governor has until July 1 to sign it into law. Once that happens, the money will be available to make a difference to shelter pets – who don’t need to be at risk.
So, what’s the call to action here? Call or email the Governor, your state assembly member and senator today. Tell them that you support the proposed funds to make California a no-kill state!
Blogger Karen Zamel is a long-time SVPP volunteer and is now a member of the communications team.