February 2021

In February, SFACC adopted out 21 animals (7 dogs, 12 cats, and 2 small animals). In addition, we transferred 167 (55 dogs, 39 cats, and 73 small animals) to adoption/rescue partners.

Charming Little Fluff came to SFACC last year after his owner was hospitalized and could no longer care for him. He quickly became a staff favorite. Little Fluff is now loving his forever home; he even gets rides in his stroller. Lucky boy!

These pretty young chickens were left outside our door. We’re happy to report that they’re now clucking and pecking at a rescue.

Tuxie brothers update: “Three years ago we adopted Rambo and Tootles (then Rodney and Bruce) from SFACC and they’ve made us laugh every day since. They love crinkle toys, lounging in warm laundry and cuddling each other. We’re so thankful to have them in our lives.”

Baby rattie cuteness! A person adopted 2 rats from a friend, not realizing they were a male and female. You can guess what happened next: baby rats! They’re now with our partner, Ratical Rodent Rescue

This lovely domestic pheasant was found in a San Francisco yard. Now they’re enjoying life with our partner One Living Sanctuary.

Kitten pair happy tails update, with bonus canine content. “We adopted these adorable siblings back in August, and they have fit in perfectly. Ollie (lilac point) is very playful and curious, and Zoey (white) is a little less curious but always willing to follow Ollie into trouble. Both are very social! They have adopted some pretty silly dog-like behaviors since they grew up with our rescue dog, Mondo…one interesting behavior includes eagerly checking out the mailman (as shown in one of the photos).”

We had some special guests recently: ducklings! So fuzzy! So cute! They were found alone in front of a house and are now with our partner One Living Sanctuary, complete with new names, Tilde and Umlaut.

A big thank you to our partner Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) for helping San Francisco animals in need! Because we were moving, we tried to find rescue placement for as many of our animals as possible. ARF stepped up and took 10 dogs and 3 cats in February!

New Building Art Celebrates All Species

For the past three years, artist Favianna Rodriguez has worked on a public art project with the San Francisco Arts Commission (@sf_arts_commission) for the new SFACC facility. We’re super excited about the gorgeous new art she’s creating for our shelter. She recently shared a few thoughts about the project’s status…

“I love animals and I believe in interspecies friendships, as well as the protection of ALL species. That’s why I’m so excited about this shelter project! Over the past few weeks, my team and I have been making progress with the building, painting the walls with my designs, and preparing for the arrival of the majestic creatures. These babies are looking sooo fly!! The cat looks like she is royalty from outer space. Doggo look like they’re waiting for me to throw the ball. The iguana just makes my heart sing! These cuties were finally wrapped up and prepared for transport. I’m really thrilled to have worked with Magnolia Editions (@magnoliaeditions) to produce these cuties. The folks packing the art are Atthowe Fine Art Services (@atthowefineartservices). What I love is that all these companies are located in West Oakland, near my studio!! The painters who I’m working with are all Bay Area OGs as well! Artists supporting each other, yes!”

Thank you, Favianna, for honoring all species in your designs. SFACC’s mission is to do the same–protecting and caring for all animals in San Francisco. Your art embodies the wonderful spirit that animals bring to our lives.

See more of Favianna’s work on her website.


January 2021

In January, 32 animals were adopted directly from SFACC (13 dogs, 14 cats, and 5 others) and 136 animals were transferred to partner organizations (48 dogs, 37 cats, and 50 others). Here are some of those adoptions, plus updates, and a happy reunion.

Milo went missing and the shelter received many sightings of a white fluffy dog running in the streets of San Francisco. SFACC officers responded to several of the sightings. Meanwhile, a wonderful citizen on a scooter and friend were able to follow Milo, and coax him to them. They took him home for the night and the next day brought him to SFACC. Milo’s owners had also contacted SFACC, posted on Paw Boost, Nextdoor, Facebook and other social media platforms. That afternoon, SF ACC was able to reunite Milo with his family. Watch their reunion on Facebook!

Beautiful senior lovebug Trixie was a stray who showed up at a Good Samaritan’s front door. After no one came to claim her, her finder adopted her. They’ve previously adopted senior cats from us. Yay for Trixie!

This gorgeous Golden Pheasant was found as a stray. Because it’s a domesticated species, it wouldn’t survive in the wild, and it definitely couldn’t hide well from predators. It went to a rescue partner and has since been adopted.

Hooray! Sweet Lemon (was Emoji) is jumping for joy as she goes home with her new family.

Our playful little pirate panther has been adopted (and has inspired some fun Photoshop art)!

Handsome sweetie Grant has found his forever family and a new name, Finn.

Sweet puppy boy Barnaby has gone home with his forever family.

SFACC grad Charlie blissfully enjoying some gentle brushing with a toothbrush is the kind of soothing content we can all use. Enjoy!

Chicken in a bush? Yep! That’s where this lovely was found. No one came in to claim her, so she’s now pecking and clucking away at a partner rescue.

Lovely lady Daffodil came in as a stray when she showed up on a Good Samaritan’s porch. No one came to claim her, so her finder adopted her.

Sweet girl Friday was adopted before we even had a chance to promote her. Go Friday!

Gorgeous fluffy Jackson, adopted before we got him posted (via a virtual adoption application). You can see why!

Sweet little Kiwi has been adopted! Her new family includes a 13 year old doggy brother and two cat siblings.

“Four years ago on January 7th, I met and adopted this tiny, chatty, velvety-soft old lady cat, then called Noelle and now named Opal. At 16 years old, Opal is the matriarch of the household and spends her days snuggling on her mama’s lap or chest, voicing her deeply-held opinions on any and all topics of conversation, pretending to be irritated by her secretly beloved dog sister Minnie, and reminding the world at large that it’s time for her next meal. Opal is a constant source of cuddles, hilarity, and comforting purrs, a caring and attentive nurse when any of her family members are under the weather, and in every way the perfect shelter-in-place companion. Endless thanks to SFACC and Toni’s Kitty Rescue for taking such great care of her during her time with you and for bringing the two of us together!”

Adorable Winnie has been adopted!

Reya (formerly Remi) Update: “We adopted Reya last year–on New Year’s Day, 2020. Reya has fit into our family perfectly and brought us so much joy during this difficult year…Thank you for taking good care of her when she was there!”

Double senior Westie happy tails update! Senior cuties Lafawnduh and Dillinger went from our shelter to a foster home with WRAP Westie rescue. In November they were adopted by one of our fosters and are now leading a happy life, complete with an Instagram account: @westies_of_sf

Live Rescue – Ride Along with Officer Rebecca Fenson

By Rebecca Fenson,
Animal Control Officer, #22

Over the past several months I had the privilege of having the Live Rescue film crew, Alecc and Brandon, in the field with me. Several other officers were also filmed, and they did a wonderful job representing SFACC and our work. This is my experience.

Alecc would interact and liaise with the public, other city agencies such as SFPD and SFFD, and anyone on scene who might be involved with the call. He would explain what the filming was about and get permission forms signed.

Brandon was the cameraman. He handled the filming and facilitated our commentary, including the lead-in comments and the wrap-ups. All that talking we did–that was at Brandon’s prompting. We don’t generally wrap up our activities cheerily announcing to anyone within earshot, “I feel great about this one … this is why we do this.” Or, “This sweet pup is gonna have a wonderful life from here on out!” Or, “What a victory, rescuing a raccoon, then releasing him back to the wild!” (Officer Pone is always wildly enthusiastic and interactive, so this might not apply to her.)

For me, this was the biggest challenge: talking about the call before, during, and afterward so the audience had context for what transpired. Drama, suspense, excitement, and, especially, a build-up to a happy outcome are the ingredients for a good segment on Live Rescue. It was a bit too choreographed for me. After I loaded the dog into the van or released an animal to the wild, or when a relieved family came to redeem an exuberant dog, Brandon would ask, “So, what happened here? What’s the next step? And how do you feel, is this the great outcome you wanted?” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, what is my next call? Or, where is the nearest bathroom? Being a New Yorker, it was all I could do to not summarize a call with, “She’s safe, she’s back with her family, yada going to yada. Let’s roll.”

That is not to say the crew got in the way…they did not. The crew was very respectful of the work we were doing, and they went out of their way not to be a distraction or to impact the call or our work in any way. I really appreciated that. They also were incredibly nice, friendly, and easy to be with.

I was always sure to try and convey information about the animal that was accurate. And if I wasn’t sure about something, I would qualify what I was saying or be more vague. For example, I did not want to be filmed calling a Boston Terrier a Frenchie, or a vole a gopher. And because we often have to assess an animal’s condition out in the field, it can be tricky initially, knowing if a raccoon is sick or injured or is just napping; wildlife will do everything they can to avoid appearing weak or vulnerable. So I tried to not be too declarative about anything I wasn’t sure of.

We had to judge whether the film crew should accompany us on some calls. Most of the time, this was easy. For example, they would remain in the vehicle when I was responding to a report of abuse or welfare violations, when I was seizing an intact pit, or on calls for protective custody of a dog whose guardian was hospitalized, in jail, or had died. Those are some of the many calls we regularly respond to that would not be appropriate to film.

Occasionally, Brandon and Alecc decided to hang back on calls that would have been great on air. One example is a call I handled for a code 2 (priority) sick raccoon. I told Brandon that, based on his reported condition, the raccoon was likely to be euthanized. So, they did not accompany me. On scene, the person who called SFACC emergency dispatch showed me the raccoon in the backyard of their business … a brewery. I approached the raccoon, who was lying on his stomach, making a groaning sound. This was not a demeanor I had ever seen a raccoon in, nor were these typical sounds. All that was missing was a foam “number 1” finger and a plastic cup. Was my raccoon drunk? The staff admitted that it was possible that he had accessed some alcohol-in-the making. I scooped up the party boy with a catch pole. He did not put up a struggle, flopping into the cage like a furry jellyfish, still groaning. I left the brewery, saying I hope he’d paid his tab and, on the more serious side, confirming the place was secure and that this break-in was an anomaly. I brought the raccoon back to SFACC, and reported to the vet staff that I suspected this guy had a few too many and maybe we should let him sleep it off. After examining him, they agreed. Sure enough, after a few hours, the raccoon sobered up. Swing shift released him that night. The film crew was very disappointed that they had elected not to film this one. From then on, during calls for sick wildlife, Brandon would say, “If the animal is drunk, let us know immediately!”

One of my favorite and unanticipated aspects to having the film crew ride along was seeing San Francisco through their eyes. Brandon, from Salt Lake City, constantly pointed out unique architecture and art. He marveled at the steep hills and the famous SF views of the bay. Where I would drive around remembering suffering animals and challenging interactions I’d had in certain locations, he’d point out whimsical buildings and beautiful murals. He loved the classic cars cruising the city. Meanwhile, I’d wonder about the nearest good burrito place and complain about the traffic. His fresh perspective on San Francisco was a welcome change.

I’m pretty sure during the course of our conversations, Brandon and Alecc learned something about humans’ relationship to animals. They learned that while pigeons might not be as novel and as impossibly cute as baby raccoons, they matter just as much.

My favorite part of being with Alecc and Brandon was when they asked me if I wanted to help animals because they have no voice. I replied that all animals have a voice, we’re just not listening. That sparked a conversation about the rich and complex lives that animals have─which is the reason I do this job─and why I agreed to do the show.

New SFACC Facility to Open in March 2021

Here at the shelter, 2021 is off to a great start!

The new shelter has received its official temporary occupancy permit and we’re putting the finishing touches on the building. From the freeway you can see our name in lights on the brick façade. We’re eagerly looking forward to the day when we can show you all around our new digs and welcome our volunteers back!

One of the first things you’ll notice is that we’ll have three entrances: a beautiful adoption lobby that will allow families to begin exploring pets they can bring home, a secure lobby for pet surrenders and lost pet searches, and a separate entrance for Bernie’s grooming customers. Being able to spread out a bit should result in a better experience for all of our clients.

Central to the first floor is a large outdoor play space, an ideal location to meet the dog of your dreams. Every dog will have much more space than they have in our current building.  The new veterinary suite is at least twice as big as the current space. We’ll have room for surgical and dental procedures, and separate recovery spaces. Behind the veterinary suite are isolation rooms to keep our contagious animals separate from the rest of the population.

To see more photos of the new building, click HERE.

The second floor is home to all of our other species. From the top of the stairs you’ll be able to see cats, birds, turtles and bunnies all in their separate rooms, ready to greet you.

As I write this, furniture installation has begun. We’re scheduled to move in the first week of March and will keep you updated on our progress. Hope to see you all soon!

Virginia Donohue
Executive Director