The city of San Francisco has truly worked a miracle: It GUARANTEES that no adoptable dog or cat will be euthanized. That goal was reached in 1996!
The San Francisco SPCA and the city's Department of Animal Care and Control signed an Adoption Pact on April 1, 1994, providing that if the City Animal Control Center (pound) is unable to find a home for a healthy dog or cat, the SPCA will take the animal and guarantee to place it.
This Pact allows the SPCA to also save the lives of treatable animals which are sick and injured. In the past, these did not have a chance. The SPCA rehabilitates animals medically and behaviorally so that they may be adoptable, and takes in animals surrendered by individuals, strays, as well as animals from the City Animal Control Shelter, most of whom would otherwise be euthanized.
The SPCA mobilized the community and local humane advocates to accomplish this achievement. A large number of volunteers were involved, and the community's rental property owners were encouraged to allow people to have pets in rental property so more animals could find homes.
This incredible achievement was accomplished under the leadership of Richard Avanzino, a registered pharmacist, lawyer, and lifelong animal lover. Avanzino initiated many innovative programs designed to help sick and injured pets and particularly those of people who are homeless, homebound, or unable to afford medical care. The SPCA's programs enable people to keep their pets who otherwise would have to give them up, and even train strays to become signal dogs for the hard-of-hearing. The SPCA's spay/neuter program attacks the homeless problem at its root cause.
See the San Francisco SPCA's site for more information on its story and programs. Contact the San Francisco SPCA for information to provide to your local SPCA or humane organizations. Spread the word! If San Francisco did it, it can be done in other cities too. Find out how they did it, and ask your local SPCA/humane/city authorities to do it too!