Friends of SFACC 2020 Rescue Grant Awards

Boise Bully Breed Rescue volunteer transported Luigi, an SFACC grad, to their shelter in Idaho where he was adopted soon after.

Each year, Friends of SFACC awards partner organizations with small grants to help them rescue all species of animals from SFACC. This aid keeps the adoption flow going and increases the shelter’s capacity to help more animals. Helping our partners also keeps the Bay Area (and sometimes beyond) rescue community engaged with our shelter and by including our animals in their own network, adds a potential adopter base.

The Friends of SFACC Board of Directors works closely with SFACC to develop a list of 501(c)(3) partners that are invited to apply for a grant, which generally range from $500- $2,000. “This year, we invited over 50 rescues to apply,” Friends Board Member Andrea Gremer told me. Thirty-one invited groups applied and all of them received a grant from Friends of SFACC for their great work in 2019.” (Last year, 20 groups received grants, so the program is expanding.)

Andrea explained that the grant awards are determined by several factors: the number of animals pulled from the shelter (including those with special needs), financial status of the rescue group, and overall impact on SFACC and the community. A group’s service to SFACC is not measured only by the number of animals it takes. Some animals might have medical or behavioral issues, or for some reason are being overlooked in the kennel. For example, Boise Bully Breed Rescue has taken a few of the dogs who were not doing well in a kennel. With the combined efforts of volunteers to transport the dogs from SF to Boise, all of them were adopted to their forever homes.

Some groups, like Muttville and Palomacy, have partnered with SFACC for years. Others are new, like Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue, which has stepped into the big shoes of SFROMP and is taking in wildlife. (I had to look up“Yggdrasil,” a mythical tree that holds all the world’s animals). Sonoma Reptile Rescue tops the list with 188 animals rescued from SFACC (they take other animals besides reptiles). Wildcare took the highest number of wildlife (161); Muttville is the top dog group, with 159 senior dogs, and Give Me Shelter Cat Rescue brought 45 cats into rescue in 2019.

Because of the shelter-in-place order, the annual grant presentation and reception could not be held, but Muttville shared their appreciation in writing:  “We are proud of and grateful for our relationship with SFACC and Friends of SFACC—a partnership that grows stronger each year.”

Here’s the complete list of groups who received awards for their work in 2019. *Ordered by the number of animals they rescued in 2019 from SFACC (top down).


SFACC Rescues 27 Birds in Golden Gate Park

On one day in February, SFACC rescued 27 domesticated birds: King pigeons, Japanese Button Quail, and an assortment of other types of pigeons from Golden Gate Park. Because of the number and variety of birds, it’s likely that someone bought them at a live market and thought they were saving them by releasing them in the park. But in truth, setting them free condemns the birds to a slow death by starvation or a cruel one by predators.

Deb Campbell, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator for SFACC recommends bringing such birds to SFACC, especially birds that can’t fly: “A word to the wise… Don’t release domesticated animals and expect them to fend for themselves. Good intentions can go awry. Especially with living creatures that are unable to defend themselves from predators (including cars…) and find food/water when they have no experience doing so.”

Releasing non-native species into the wild is also bad for native critters and can result in non-native species infestations, like the red-eared slider turtle, which competes for food and territory with the western pond turtle (a native). Red-eared sliders are popular pets and sold in pet stores, but are often released into public ponds (like Stowe Lake in GGPark) when they get too big to handle or their owners don’t want them anymore.

Back to the birds. Says Deb C. “King pigeons don’t fly well (if at all). They’re primarily bred for food.If someone sees any bird that can’t fly, they should call us or better yet–try and safely contain the bird and bring it to SFACC. We can sometimes trace companion birds, homing pigeons and raptors through bands. …As an open admission animal shelter, Animal Care & Control takes in animals of all species, and works with groups like Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions to keep them safe. So bring them to us.”

Note: All of the birds rescued from GGP were evaluated by Elizabeth Young of Palomacy (shown during a local news shoot), and transferred to either Sonoma County Reptile Rescue (they take birds too) and Palomacy.

MARZIPAN & FONDANT (A440570/A440569) are a strikingly gorgeous duo. They were among the 27 birds ACC recently took in and they can’t wait to find their forever home. These beauties will do well indoors or in a secure aviary. They each come with their own pair of pigeon pants.

Read Across America and at SFACC

Two rows of girls and women with a cart of donations.

March 2 was annual READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY, which takes place every year on the birthday of internationally acclaimed author and life-long animal advocate and enthusiast, Dr. Seuss. Our shelter was fortunate and grateful to have Girl Scout Troup 62770 come to our shelter to read to our available shelter cats and dogs. On top of that, the group also delivered donated food and supplies that they collected for the animals in our shelter’s care during their special SFACC Donation Drive.

After reading to some dogs and cats in their kennels, all members of the group enjoyed a very special meet and greet with adoptable dog, CORY, conducted by SFACC Animal Care Attendant, Alistair Callaway in our shelter park. Special thanks to SFACC Animal Care Supervisor, Tim Feldman and to SFACC Animal Care Attendants, Jessica Martinez and Alistair, who made this volunteer service project an educational, engaging, and safe experience for everyone!

FUN FACT: Theodore Geisel aka Dr. Seuss was a life-long animal advocate whose family always included animals starting when he was a young boy and rescued/adopted a homeless, special needs (tripod) “pit bull terrier mix” dog he named Rex. Photo Credit from the book: “i am a good dog” Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet by Author, Ken Foster.

2019 Impact Report & Meet Lauren Weston, Chair

As 2019 draws to a close, I want to introduce myself as the new Chair of Friends of SFACC, and to thank Genevieve Herreria for her many years of service as board chair, animal champion, and friend of San Francisco Animal Care and Control. Her leadership has been foundational to our successes, the most important of which is that construction began in April on the new shelter building, with completion expected Spring of 2021!

The facility will be a state-of-the-art, modernized and retrofitted historic building. Constructed in 1893 and rich in San Francisco history, the building at Bryant and Alameda Streets will be preserved for all San Franciscans to visit and enjoy. The new SFACC facility will follow best practices in disease, noise, and odor control, and improve the overall well-being and adoptability of animals in their care. Our goal is to raise $4.3 million over the next four years for the new building as well as to ensure continued support for programs that are not covered by the City budget.

Because of people like you who want to make a difference, Friends provides support to SFACC that allows this incredible shelter to better serve the community. Please read our 2019 Impact Report and consider a year-end gift. With your help, we can better serve the County of San Francisco and all the domestic and wild animals in need in 2020. We could not do this work without the financial support of friends like you. Thank you for being our partner.

Thank you for all you do for animals,

Lauren Weston

P.S. I would love to show you the new building site and the progress made so far! Please contact me to schedule a tour. I also encourage you to visit our website at, sign up for our newsletter, and keep an eye out for emails from Friends to learn more about the other programs we support.