A promise kept

“As Governor, Gavin will ensure that all California communities have the resources they need to meet the state’s goal that no healthy or treatable dog or cat is euthanized in an animal shelter.”

In the FY 2020-21 budget, Governor Newsom proposed $50 million in one-time General Fund dollars for the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to develop a program that provides expertise, support, and local assistance grants over a five-year period to help local communities achieve the state’s policy goal that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat should be euthanized.

Because of the enormous changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor scaled back his plan while showing his continued commitment to the goal with a $5 million allotment for a two-year pilot project funded in April, 2021. Governor Newsom’s proposed augmentation of $45M in May was signed into law on July 27, 2021. For more information on the trailer bill language and history of this proposal, see Governor Newsom Proposes $50M Investment to Help California’s Homeless Animals, posted January 10, 2020. 

Historical Background

In 1998, SB 1785 (Hayden’s Law) established a state policy that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat be euthanized at an animal shelter. At the time of signage, California shelters euthanized an estimated 531,000 dogs and cats.

While progress has been made, in 2018 California still euthanized ~ 180,000 animals, almost 500 dogs and cats each day. While some of those may be owner-requested or to relieve irremediable suffering, we know we can do better.

Koret Shelter Medicine Program Background

The UCD-KSMP team of veterinary shelter medicine experts is trained to approach shelter assessments holistically, taking into account community capacity, partnerships, local ordinances, and the overall culture of an organization and its board (when applicable), while simultaneously pinpointing specific bottlenecks presented in a shelter’s practices that, if relieved, immediately improve both efficiency and lifesaving results.

Looking Forward

The recommendations made by KSMP will be focused on high-impact, limited-term investments that result in sustainable gains by

  • Decreasing intake through expanded safety nets, public assistance and surrender prevention programs
  • Increasing community support and volunteer engagement
  • Making material improvements with lasting value
  • Implementing systemic changes that, once in place, increase efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs without requiring ongoing extra effort or resources to maintain

This program is only one step in reaching the state’s goal. The KSMP is committed to examining ways to leverage this initiative to attract other support. The KSMP also commits to working with stakeholders across the state to develop programming, procedures, and accountability measures.

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