Fun Activities for Kids & Adults During SIP

Train your cat to high-five!
You know your cat is smart. They can read your mind and manipulate you to serve their goals. Why not spend some quality quarantine time training them to impress your friends with tricks? If your cat loves treats, you can probably teach them to high-five in no time. A great activity for kids and kitties!



Match the dog to their person!
For those who enjoy a good coloring book and love dogs, download and print this Dog Activity Book, shared by the SFACC B&T team. Includes, word games and loads of great info about dog behavior. A fun learning tool for kids and adults!

Changes in SFACC Procedures During COVID-19

Starting on April 11, 2020, San Francisco Animal Care and Control will provide special “Kitten Care Kits” to people who find underage kittens on their property and have the ability to care for them. 


Update from Executive Director Virginia Donohue…

As we are all aware, the world has changed dramatically in the last three months. The urgency of the pandemic requires that we rethink how we operate to keep staff, volunteers and animals safe. In light of the seriousness of the pandemic, University of California at Davis and University of Wisconsin have teamed up to make a broad set of recommendations on how animal shelters should operate in these tumultuous times.

As with every other aspect of the pandemic, information and best practices evolve. We pledge to stay up-to-date on it all for the best possible outcomes for the animals in our care, our community members, volunteers and staff. Most importantly, we must take the shelter in place order seriously. Every time you leave your home, you put yourself and other people at risk. As an organization, we cannot support or promote any activity that jeopardizes human health.

These recommendations run counter to the soul of any animal welfare organization and are staggering to contemplate. However, with shelter-in-place orders in much of the country, we are placing a premium on human health and safety.

Spay/neuter surgery has been deemed not essential at this time. Shelters are being asked to place animals in homes and ask adopters to return for surgery when normal activity resumes. Veterinarians stress that while our mutual goal is population control, at this time elective surgery takes valuable protective equipment away from human health providers. It also exposes staff members to unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. SFACC is developing a system for virtual adoptions and for tracking animals who will need to be brought back for surgery.

Also, the national recommendation is that shelters no longer take in healthy kittens of any age. Advocates should not be leaving their homes to trap cats and kittens. This is not an essential function and violates the health orders that are in place. SFACC will continue to take in all animals who are ill or injured.

The guidance is based on concern for everyone involved and the extraordinary number of human interactions that take place in the care of kittens. We recognize that this will result in a surge of intact, homeless kittens. Even worse would be a surge in COVID-19 cases amongst the trappers, foster homes, kitten advocates, volunteers and shelter staff. All of the guidance can be found HERE.

If San Francisco residents find kittens in their yards, they can call SFACC and describe the situation. We will prepare customized kitten kits that can be picked up outside the shelter by appointment. This will allow residents to care for the kittens in place. If kittens are sick, injured, orphaned and unweaned, in immediate danger or the caller is unwilling to provide care, they can bring the kittens to the shelter.

SFACC is the only shelter in San Francisco that will take in animals whose guardians are hospitalized due to COVID-19 infections. We currently have three in-house, and are planning for more as the number of cases increases. To make room for them, we have more than 60 animals in foster care with fabulous volunteer families.

We expect the guidance to continue to evolve and we will adapt accordingly. Meanwhile we will be making plans for how to move forward after the crisis eases. We realize that we will have a lot of catch up work to do and hope that all of you will be there to help us.

Please stay in your homes and be safe.

Virginia Donohue, Executive Director

You can help SFACC keep Kitten Care Kits supplied by donating items from the shelter’s Amazon Amazon Wish List.

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.