The San Diego Animal Defense Team supports the specific requests for SDHS policy changes made in this letter. If you also believe changes at the Humane Society are needed, please let the current Board know your opinion. Only public outcry can end animal suffering and overpopulation in San Diego County.
The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines St. San Diego, CA 92110
Names and positions of current Board Members are listed below.
To: Board of Trustees-San Diego Humane Society and SPCA October 5, 2010
Fred Baranowski/Chairperson, David Hickey/Finance Chair, Diane Gilabert/Board Governance Chair, Beverly Oster Ornelas/ Secretary, Sandy Arledge, Allen Blackmore, Robert Brown, George Coles, Lee Collins, Susan Davis, Dana DiFerdinando, Diane Glow, Eve Godfrey, Alyce Lynn, Dave Mason, Patrick Mead, David Mittleman, John Parker, Anne Perry, David Sear:
In 2000, the San Diego Humane Society in collaboration with the City of San Diego and the Department of Animal Services, published a capital campaign brochure and distributed it to the public to solicit funds to build a new animal welfare complex. The county Board of Supervisors called for San Diego to stop killing treatable and adoptable pets by 2005. Recognizing that it was a “community obligation” the brochure called for “a significant degree of cooperation and creativity among the County’s public and private animal shelters and humane societies, veterinarians, rescue groups, animal breeders and animal advocates.” The brochure advocated a reduction in the number of unaltered domestic pets by “comprehensible, affordable and accessible spay and neuter programs, increased adoptions, and community education towards responsible pet ownership.” In that brochure, the following statement was made to the public:
“The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and the San Diego County Department of Animal Control (the two largest animal welfare agencies in the county,) have enthusiastically accepted responsibility for helping to implement this policy.”
When the public generously donated a total of $21 million dollars to build this animal welfare complex, they did so to help end unnecessary euthanasia county-wide by 2005. The SDHS has lost sight of the responsibility it accepted, and instead of achieving the purpose for which the funds were donated, its animal intake and adoption numbers have gone down and its euthanasia numbers have gone up since the Campaign was inaugurated. Incredibly, the amount of money donated to the SDHS annually has nearly tripled.
It is YOUR responsibility as a member of the Board of Trustees, to set the SDHS’s strategic objectives, and it is the responsibility of the staff to achieve those objectives. It is time the Board took back its authority and to that end, we ask that the following steps be implemented to re-focus the San Diego Humane Society on the responsibility it accepted for leading the way to ending the killing of homeless animals in San Diego County:
Towards ending the Euthanasia of Treatable animals in the County:
1) Hire a president who will lead the SDHS toward meeting the objectives set forth in the Gaines Street brochure;
2) Within six months implement low-cost and no cost spay- neuter clinics, and make the service available to the public and rescue groups;
3) Modify the behavior assessments policy (B.A.) such that B.A.s will only be performed on animals with a reported history of aggression or breeds of dogs that have a reputation for aggression;
4) Make adoptions and low-cost or free spay-neuter services a priority and market the animals by placing all adoptable animals in view of the public, expediting the time from intake to adoption. Set policy goals for the increase in the number of animals adopted and hold staff accountable to the Board for meeting those goals.
5) Work with the many rescue groups in the county. Share resources with and encourage relationships with rescue groups;
6) Increase the Annual Live Release rate to above 90% of intake as soon as possible
This ground-swell of discontent by the public did not originate from our first letter. Instead, it was this ground-swell that was the catalyst for that letter and the response from rescue groups and animal welfare organizations county-wide. These are the people who have encountered true resistance from the San Diego Humane Society when it comes time to saving and servicing (e.g. spay and neuter) the pets in this community. Now we write because of YOUR failure to respond to them.
“Business as usual” is no longer an option. It is time for YOU, the trustees of the animals, the public trust and the public’s funds, to be accountable for the mission of ending animal suffering and ending pet overpopulation in San Diego County.
Signed (In alphabetical order): FORMER BOARD AND ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS: