Celebrate 30 years of the San Francisco SPCA and San Francisco Animal Care and Control saving lives together! We are more than neighbors; we are allies and partners, but we couldn’t do the work we do without you…so join us for our celebratory, neighbor-loving block party on Alabama, between 15th and 16th St. The street will be closed and filled with:
After 14 years of volunteering in the ACC vet room and walking dogs, Carri Lucas is a “newbie” again. When she read a message about the need for transporters, she decided to expand her volunteer efforts to transporting animals from SFACC to other shelters and rescue organizations. SFACC receives many types of wildlife that folks bring in to the shelter or are brought in by the Animal Control Officers responding to emergency calls. Pigeons, seagulls, and other birds, mice, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and other mammals that are injured and orphan babies that can’t survive on their own are often transported to WildCare in San Rafael or to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in Burlingame. (PHS/SPCA is one of a handful of animal shelters in the country that rehabilitates wildlife.) But SFACC doesn’t always have staff resources to do the transfers so they rely on volunteers to help out.
Carri didn’t know what to expect and the first week she ended up doing three transport trips (two birds and one dog). She was given clear instructions for the drive, the main one is to be silent in the car—no talking or playing the radio. The idea is to keep human sounds and interactions with wildlife to a minimum, so that the animal isn’t stressed and so it doesn’t become connected in any way with humans. This practice is important for the goal of eventually releasing a healthy wild animal.
Transporting domesticated animals—cats, dogs, rabbits—to rescue organizations or fosters is a different kind of trip. Carri recalls one time she took a small terrier named Scrub to a foster home. Scrub was pretty shut down at the shelter. He wasn’t available for adoption and the Fetch volunteers (specially trained dog volunteers) couldn’t get him to leave his kennel and go to the play yard because he was very shut down. All they could do was sit in his kennel with him and throw treats in his direction. DogZone Rescue, an SF-based organization offered to take him and a transport was needed to get him to the foster home in Newark. Carri answered the request and SFACC care attendants got Scrub into a crate and into Carri’s car. At the beginning of the drive to Newark he was whining and barking frantically. Carrie had read that dogs respond to music and that it can calm them, so she started singing Silent Night. “It was the only song I could remember that was fairly simple and quiet. After I started singing to him he settled down and was quiet and calm for the rest of the trip.” Carrie sang the Christmas hymn over and over all the way to Newark (~38 miles).
When they arrived, Carri stayed and observed how the foster couple, who had a large yard, put the crate on the lawn and opened the door. Then they ignored the crate and sat on the opposite side of the yard, talking quietly. The couple had fostered dogs three times before so they knew how to approach Scrub’s transition. Slowly he came out and soon he responded to their calling him, wagged his tail. He wasn’t ready to be petted but clearly was starting to relax and trust his surroundings. “Seeing Scrub’s transformation from being so scared he couldn’t move in the shelter, to wagging his tail and running around the grass was so heartening. Meeting foster parents and learning about all the amazing rescue organizations that partner with SFACC is very heartening.”
Carri shared that her transporting trips offer an immediate gratification: “I’m making a difference in a very direct way, taking these animals from the shelter to a more comfortable place, whether a specialized wildlife care center or a foster home.”
SFACC is expanding their range and the need for more transporters in the driving pool is growing. The group of dedicated transport volunteers who have been doing this for a long time would welcome reinforcements. The area for the trips is usually local (Marin or Burlingame) but can be further, like the East/South Bay, Half Moon Bay, or beyond. One recent need was to transport chickens to Sebastopol, for example.
If you’d like to become an animal transport volunteer, you must first attend a volunteer orientation (sessions are held twice a month). To sign up call (415) 554-9427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathan Andrews has been on the job as an Animal Control Officer (ACO) for SFACC since March. A native San Franciscan who grew up with a variety of pets in his household, Nathan got an early start in the animal shelter environment at 17, when he began working at Pets Unlimited (later the SFSPCA), a vet hospital and adoption center.
In his current role as an ACO, Nathan enjoys the variety of species he interacts with on calls for assistance. “Working on wildlife cases is new to me and interesting, whether we’re responding to reports about raccoons, skunks, coyotes…there’s so much urban wildlife in S.F.” His most memorable case to date involved rescuing a skunk that was stuck in an elevator shaft of a construction site 12 stories high. It was his first skunk case and a tricky one, “like diffusing a bomb—no sudden moves.” He had to walk very calmly on wooden planks to get to the skunk, who was not about to move from its corner. Moving slowly and carefully Nathan was able to pick up the frightened critter, who thankfully didn’t spray him, even in gratitude.
Nathan’s advice for those considering becoming an animal control officer: “This job is very public-serviced focused as well as animal focused. Spend time in the animal welfare field. Volunteer and maybe do a few ride-alongs with ACOs if you can.” Nathan says his experience at Pets Unlimited taught him a lot about animal care and customer service, both skills that inform his current job, “the customer service aspect of my job is underplayed. Much of what I do as an ACO is public education, either related to caring for a pet or dealing with wildlife situations.” For example, suggesting ways to avoid unwanted critters from making their home in a basement or crawl space, or pointing out that keeping pets safe by not leaving food for wildlife is a good idea. He’ll have many opportunities to use those people skills at SFACC.
Two of our Toni’s Kitty Rescue graduates, Frankie and Short Stack, were adopted in Sept. Their foster mom was Toni herself. Here they are ready to go to their new home. Thank you Toni, for your partnership with SFACC!
Maine Coon kitties Kota & Kai were adopted by Warriors rookie guard, Jordan Poole. It’s nice to see them settling in and enjoying life. Here’s a VIDEO update, courtesy of NBC Sports.com…“They complement each other really well: Koda’s a talker and Kai’s very athletic and is so graceful…”
Brie (formerly Toast)
“is the best dog we could ask for. She gets along so well with her two
brothers, constantly snuggling or bugging them to play with her. I bring her to
work with me every day, where she meets new people, dogs and occasionally cats
– she is playful and curious with everyone, a true social butterfly. She is an
absolute dream and we couldn’t be more in love with her – so thank you for
taking care of her and giving us the opportunity to adopt her.” Toast was
adopted in October of 2018.
Sushi, was adopted as a puppy in early 2018, is living his best adventurous life. Looks like he’s a water lover! We love seeing and sharing updates. If you have one you’d like to share about your ACC grad, please send them to ACC@sfgov.org.
LOTS of cat adoptions happened in September, including kitten Mateo, here with his new family. …Cats Lulu, Azalea, Frazzle and Kitty were also adopted that same day, as well as kittens Dynamite Kid, Charlie and Michelle. Congratulations to all our adopters!
Georgia and her new mom.
Mumford (was named Monster), a 14 year old diabetic Maine Coon came to SFACC because his owners were having a baby and his behavior changed. Luckily, Diabetic Cats in Need Rescue got wind of Mumford and called to say they were coming to get him. They drove from Modesto to pick him up!
Tweety adopted with new dad.
Scrumptious kitten Hector was adopted today and he went home with handsome tabby Max (R)! What a terrific tabby twosome!
Murphy is excited to go to his new home!
We’ve had lots of small animal adoptions lately! Conure Potate, rattie Ink, Yolanda the bun, and parakeets Sweet Pea, Boba, Snow White, Reggie & Belle all found their forever homes!
We have an update for Tenzing, the cat rescued from the Bay Bridge… “BB (for Bay Bridge), is doing great. He made it safely across the bridge and is happily adjusting to his new surroundings. He has two other cat roommates and they’re happily getting to know one another. Since his arrival, he’s been exploring the different rooms, climbing on the counter tops, playing with new toys, chasing lasers, and taking plenty of naps. I believe his two superpowers are eating and napping. We are so happy to welcome BB to our home and are excited for what the future holds.
SF ACC alum Finn (formerly Rushmore) is living his best Husky life with his new family. He was adopted in March, 2019.
Four kittens were found Sept. 23 in the wall of our neighbor’s building, Dandelion Chocolate! An employee heard teeny meows coming from a wall in an area under construction and convinced the construction workers to break into the wall, where they found four 3-week-old kittens! The kittens are now well fed and safely in the foster care of Toni of our partner Toni’s Kitty Rescue. Thank you Dandelion and Toni!
Sweet pup Millie went home to the happiest and
most excited new parents today!
Two bonded pairs were adopted the same day: Hideyoshi & Marishka (L), and kitten pair Hans & Gretchen!
Luna and Terra are both three-year-old ACC alumna and
frequently enjoy the beautiful outdoors by visiting the beach, parks, and going
hiking. Luna, Labrador Retriever/Pit Bull was adopted in June 2016, and Terra, a
Staffordshire was adopted the following summer, August 2017.
A huge thanks to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) for taking 13 SFACC dogs into their care this month. And hooray for superhero Animal Care Attendant Katy Jones who took care of all the paperwork required. Smokey Bear (R) was one of the lucky dogs!
For two days in August, SF City Hall’s South Light Court became KITTY HALL, an elegant room filled with lovely baroque music, courtesy of impromptuSF, and the mewing of many, many kittens. SFACC held the adoption events conveniently during lunchtime, and Dandelion Chocolate (a neighbor of SFACC) provided sweet treats–for the humans, that is.
Folks came by to cuddle kittens, and quite a few petting sessions ended in adoptions. Thank you to all the volunteers and staff members who helped out on this fun adoption event!