While running for Governor, Gavin Newsom made a promise to all Californians and to the over 100,000 shelter animals still euthanized annually: Ensure that all California communities have the resources they need to meet the state’s goal that no healthy or treatable dog or cat is euthanized in an animal shelter.
The desire to eliminate euthanasia as a management tool for animals that are not dangerous or suffering is not new; in fact, there is a two decade-old state policy stating no adoptable or treatable dog or cat be euthanized at an animal shelter. Yet last year California was second only to Texas in the number of animals dying in shelters. The state stopped reimbursing local governments for some animal shelter costs during the recession and many communities have struggled to meet the goal ever since.
What is new is a meaningful commitment from the state to help make the kind of life-saving success envisioned twenty years ago a reality for all communities, including those with fewer resources who have been left out of the successes that communities with more have been able to achieve.
On January 10, 2020, Governor Newsom put forward the first proposal in California’s history aimed at addressing these disparities and closing the gap, ensuring that all California animal shelters have access to the training and resources needed to transform their organizations.
If approved by the legislature, the Governor’s proposed $50 million dollar investment in homeless animals and the shelters that serve them will provide:
- Prioritized investment and direct professional engagement with animal shelters in underresourced and overburdened communities
- Regional best-practice summits open to all animal sheltering personnel
- Access to the most current research and shelter management models available, as well as the subject matter experts who pioneered the veterinary medicine field that concentrates on the health and well-being of animals living in shelters
- Interactive group training that guarantees shelters have access to best-practice protocols and models
- Robust resource library complete with sample forms, protocols, case studies, policies and tool kits
The governor has asked the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, led by Dr. Kate Hurley, to implement this ambitious initiative, should it be funded. More will be known when the California legislature completes the budget process in June.