California for All Dogs and Cats

California for All Dogs and Cats logo

In the FY 2020-21 budget, Governor Newsom proposed $50 million in one-time General Fund dollars for the 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 future of the California for All Dogs and Cats proposal is unknown at this time.

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 estimate that more than 100,000 dogs and cats are euthanized annually because the infrastructure does not exist to help them.

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 life-saving results.

Looking Forward

If the Governor’s proposal is funded, the KSMP would provide regional conferences and make web-based resources reflecting current best practices available to all California shelters. In addition we would identify a target group of highest priority local government and non-profit shelters. These target shelters would receive a combination of in-person assessments and in-depth online training. KSMP would also administer a grant program to aid implementation of assessment recommendations.

The recommendations made by KSMP would 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 would be only one step in reaching the state’s goal. The KSMP would commit to examining ways to leverage this initiative to attract other support. Should the proposal be funded, the KSMP would be committed to working with stakeholders across the state to develop programming, procedures, and accountability measures.

Scheduled Listening Sessions

Dr. Kate Hurley, Director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program, has set up a few Zoom-based listening sessions to gather thoughts from stakeholders and answer questions about the current status of the proposal. To be notified about upcoming listening sessions and kept up-to-date about developments, please sign up for this mailing list.

Thur, Feb 20, 3pm
View the recorded video

Tue, March 26, 5pm
This listening session has been cancelled because of the pandemic.

Thur, April 23, 10am
This listening session has been cancelled because of the pandemic.