Suffering, Euthanasia in Shelters Will Rise Without Immediate Action

Hundreds of thousands of animals impacted while shelters struggle to cope with the statewide veterinary shortage.

Recently, the SF SPCA received a grant to conduct a survey* to assess access to veterinary care in California animal shelters. Along with a small working group, we developed and sent the survey to all 237 shelter members of Cal Animals, our state shelter association.

The results are in, and unfortunately, our findings are even more alarming than anticipated.

Over 344,000 California shelter animals do not have adequate access to veterinary care staff. Veterinarian shortages are profoundly impacting California’s most vulnerable animals. Shelters are becoming overcrowded, illness is rising, and adoptable animals are being euthanized.

Read more about how California animals are impacted here>

Map of California veterinary shortage survey results

How are animals being impacted?

78% of shelters are unable to consistently provide low-cost spay/neuter services, which can often lead to more “unwanted” animals surrendered to shelters.

68% of shelters cannot consistently provide complete care to treat conditions commonly seen in shelters, such as fractures, eye injuries, and dental problems.

Of the shelters that have budgeted positions for veterinarians and veterinary nurses, more than 50% of those positions remain vacant due to a lack of candidates.

Read more about how California animals are impacted here>

Animals Need Your Help

Contact your local animal shelter to learn about adopting, supporting, and volunteering. 

Woman taking home adopted animal from SF SPCA
SF SPCA Shelter Dog Being Treated By Vet
sfspca volunteer at mobile vaccine clinic
Together we can find solutions to these access to care issues impacting California shelter animals.
Email to get involved.

*The survey was conducted by the SF SPCA in partnership with the UC-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, CalAnimals, University of Tennessee Pet Health Equity Program, Humane Society of Silicon Valley, and San Diego Humane Society. It was made possible through a California for All Animals grant from the UC-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

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