San Francisco's Animal Welfare Partnership: ACC and The SF/SPCA
When someone asks what Animal Care and Control (ACC) does, they are often thinking that the municipal agency is the same as the private nonprofit, The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (The SF/SPCA). Even after they hear the difference, they often continue referring to ACC as the SPCA.
The confusion is understandable, since both organizations are in the same neighborhood , across the street from each other. In fact, there are SPCAs or Humane Societies in almost every major city, so even though each is an independent organization founded perhaps decades apart, as a "brand name," SPCA has become a generic term, like Xerox. Also, many of the functions of both ACC (never "the" ACC) and The SF/SPCA are similar. For instance, both organizations put animals up for adoption.
Though SPCAs are private organizations, some, like the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, have contracts with their county governments to perform many "public" duties. In fact, until 1989, that is what The SF/SPCA did. Wanting to divest itself of its contracted municipal responsibilities The SF/SPCA asked the city to take over those responsibilities. The city did so, and Animal Care and Control was born.
The summaries below clarify the roles of the two organizations and show how they complement each other. (All statistics refer to the 2002-2003 fiscal year and were reported by the respective organizations.) In 1994 they formed an Adoption Pact, affirming both organizations' partnership and commitment to common goals. It states that they "share a common purpose in saving animals' lives, preventing animal suffering and eliminating animal abandonment." In fact, they work so cosely together they report one collective live release rate, or "save rate," each year.
Hopefully, this listing of the unique characteristics of ACC and the SF/SPCA will contribute to an understanding and appreciation of both organizations, partners in animal welfare and deserving of every animal lover's support.
• A private, nonprofit organization, largely funded by donations, grants, bequests and service fees
• Founded in 1868
• Its mission focuses on animal welfare and adoptions.
• Annual budget: about $11 million
• 151 employees
• 1,024 volunteers
• Average population of animals: about 500
• 7,165 spay/neuter surgeries
• Has a veterinary clinic open to the public and runs several other public services:
- A free feral cat spay/neuter clinic
- A hearing dog program
- Animal-assisted therapy visits
- Other special programs and groups, such as a monthly pet loss support group
- A dog and cat hospital
- Dog training and behavior modification classes for the public
• Offers dogs and cats (only) for adoption.
• Took in 3,420 dogs and cats (61 percent of them from ACC, 27 percent from other shelters and 12 percent from the public in 2002-2003. However, as of 2004, about 80 percent of The SF/SPCA's animals come from ACC and virtually none directly from the public).
• Adopted out 3,274 dogs and cats.
• Services available during normal business hours only
• Has room to expand and is doing so with the addition of a major state-of-the-art animal hospital.
• A public agency, largely funded by the city, service fees, private donations and the Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control
• Founded in 1989
• Its mission focuses on public health as it relates to animals and secondarily on animal welfare and adoptions.
• Annual budget: about $3 million
• 42 employees
• 150 volunteers
• Average population: about 238 animals
• 684 spay/neuter surgeries
• Has animal control officers (ACOs) who respond to calls from the public on animal issues 24/7.
• Offers no public veterinary services, except six free microchipping clinics a year (sponsored by FSFACC; three a year beginning in 2006) and quarterly dog and cat vaccination clinics (sponsored by the San Francisco Veterinary Medical Association and the City). Public responsibilities include the monitoring of breeders and the welfare and conditions of privately owned pets, animals raised to fight, police animals, Golden Gate Park bison, live restaurant and pet store animals, and all wildlife in the County, from ducks to deer (works with the San Francisco Rescued Orphan Mammal Program). Cares for custody animals, who are wards of the court until their cases (probate, divorced or incarcerated owners, animal abuse cases, etc.) are settled (works with the nonprofit organization Give a Dog a Bone to socialize and exercise custody dogs). Retrieves dead animals from city streets and public property. Sends ACOs to speak to school kids about responsible pet ownership.
• Besides dogs and cats, offers most legal domestic species for adoption, including birds, reptiles, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and other small mammals.
• Took in 10,262 animals. As an "open-door" shelter, ACC accepts all animals of all species, whether abandoned, abused, surrendered, feral, vicious, illegal, injured, ill, elderly or neonatal.
• Adopted out or transferred 4,278 animals.
• Space is limited to its current single building (a former Muni Railway warehouse) for its lobby, kennels, administrative offices, vet clinics, officers' squad room, classroom, volunteer room, isolation room, wildlife room, custody animal kennels, laundry room and maintenance warehouse and all other operations.
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