"A growing and increasingly influential movement of philosophers, ethicists, law professors and activists are convinced that the great moral struggle of our time will be for the rights of animals." – Michael Pollan

Advocacy and Shelter Policy and Legal Services (Shelter PALS)

The San Francisco SPCA was founded on the principal that a small group of people, working together and working strategically, could make a huge impact on the lives of animals.  Over a century and a half, that has proven to be true. We are in the constant pursuit of how to make the work more effective and the changes long-lasting.   

While we have a long history of profound achievements in supporting legislative changes to secure the rights of animals, our participation in the broader scope of companion animal advocacy has been marginal – until now.   In fact, no organization in the country has focused on the rights and welfare of companion animals as a legislative priority.   

The SF SPCA founded Shelter PALS and is defining a new discipline of animal law.   It is an effort supported by distinguished legislative strategists and eminent litigators contributing their talents to defining and defending the rights of animals in California.   

The impacts of working on a prioritized legal agenda can potentially far exceed the impact we can make through rescue and treatment alone. 

What does Advocacy look like in action? 

The San Francisco SPCA has a long history of advocating for animal welfare.  We have actively participated with fellow animal advocates, lawyers and governmental representatives to accomplish much in California in the last ten years.  Here are some of the highlights.


  • Bear & Bobcat Hounding Ban (SB 1221)
  • Abolish Cruel Wildlife Killing (AB 789)
  • Non-lead Ammunition (AB 711)
  • Stockton Ordinances & Litigation


  • CO2 Gas Chamber Ban (AB 2505)
  • Support Animal Tenants’ Rights (AB 2760)
  • Vicious Dog Definition (AB 1825)


  • Pets in Divorce (AB 2274)
  • Underage Kitten/Puppy Rescue (AB 2791)
  • First Aid to Pets (SB 1305)
  • Prevent Cruelty California (Prop 12)


  • SF Wild Animals Performance Ban
  • Bullhook Ban (SB 716)
  • Ivory & Rhino Horn Ban (AB 96)


  • Pet Store Sales Ban (AB 485)
  • Deceptive Online Pet Ads (AB 1138)
  • Pets & Housing Developments (AB 1137)
  • Stockton Sustainability Plan


  • $5MM Grants for Homeless & Pets
  • Public Transit & Pet Evacuation (SB 397)
  • Domestic Violence & Pets (AB 415)
  • Underage Kitten Adoption (AB 1565)

Leading Animal Welfare Organizations Herald State Support for Grants Benefiting People Experiencing Homelessness and Their Pets 

California’s 2019-20 budget includes $5 million to support veterinary care and other pet-related needs for those experiencing homelessness. 

July 3, 2019 – Three animal welfare organizations are applauding the newly enacted 2019-20 state budget’s inclusion of $5 million in grants to ensure the State of California supports local efforts to aid people experiencing homelessness and their pets. San Diego Humane Society, San Francisco SPCA and Front Street Animal Shelter have been working diligently in their communities to highlight the significance of the human-animal bond for people experiencing homelessness. 

The San Francisco SPCA and The Humane Society of the United StatesHerald Coalinga’s Commitment to Animal Welfare Improvements 

Thanks to police chief’s humane leadership, last animal shelter gas chamber in California is dismantled as state legislation advances to close loophole that allowed its use 

June 3, 2016 – With financial, training and moral support from the San Francisco SPCA (SF SPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the City of Coalinga Animal Shelter today dismantled its gas chamber for good. Believed to be the last remaining shelter in California using any method other than the industry standard “euthanasia by injection,” Coalinga’s move paves the way for California to enact Assembly Bill 2505 (AB 2505) authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), which would outlaw the use of carbon dioxide to kill dogs and cats in California. 

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