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 governor scaled back his plan while showing his continued commitment to the goal with a $5 million allotment for a two-year pilot project funded in April, 2021. Governor Newsom proposed an augmentation of $45M in May. For more information on the trailer bill language and history of this proposal, see Governor Newsom Proposes $50M Investment to Help California’s Homeless Animals, posted January 10, 2020. Please sign up for this mailing list if you’d like to receive information once we know more.
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.
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.