Prop 26 Provides a Financial “Lifeline” to the Horseracing Industry with a Terrible Animal Safety Record

SACRAMENTO, CA – August 4, 2022 – Organizations across the state dedicated to the humane treatment of animals have come together to announce their opposition to Proposition 26 which will be on the November 2022 ballot. Prop 26 contains a provision that allows in-person sports betting at private horse racetracks in addition to tribal casinos. This amounts to a special interest giveaway that hands millions of dollars to horse racetracks – a dying industry that has led to the death of more than 1,600 horses over the last 10 years.

“Prop 26 will give millions of dollars to an industry that has a terrible record on animal safety with horses dying every year,” said Madeline Bernstein, President of spcaLA. “This industry has been failing and attendance declining over the last few years – even before the pandemic – and we should not give them a bailout. The people have already ‘voted’.”

“Prop 26 provides a financial ‘shot in the arm’ to private horseracing tracks with no requirement or accountability towards increasing animal safety,” said Jill Tucker, CEO of California Animal Welfare Association. “This is not good policy as the industry needs to independently improve animal safety to attract back its customer base rather than ignoring these serious challenges and focusing on millions of dollars coming their way due to Prop 26.”

“We are seriously concerned about Proposition 26 as it ignores the animal safety record and instead gives the horseracing industry a new funding stream in the form of millions of dollars,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, President and CEO at San Diego Humane Society. “We encourage voters to reject Prop 26.”

“Horse racing amounts to animal cruelty and exploitation,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, CEO of San Francisco SPCA. “It is a dying industry that should not be given millions of dollars in aid through in person sports wagering. If Prop 26 passes, countless horses will suffer in the coming years. For this reason, we strongly oppose Prop 26.”

California horseracing tracks reported 144 horse deaths in 2018 as well as reporting 122 horse deaths from July 2019-June 2020 and 72 horse deaths during the height of the pandemic from July 2020-June 2021. In fact, a nationally-recognized horse racing expert stated in a January 2022 Daily Californian opinion article, “From breeding for speed, to employing pubescent bodies, to the incessant grinding – not to mention the commodification – of those bodies, to forcing them to run at an unnatural rate, in an unnatural way, and through unnatural means, horse racing guarantees killing. Guarantees.Source

Santa Anita has already experienced another eight horse deaths in the past six months while the horse racing industry is touting Prop 26 as its “lifeline” stating:

USA Today headline last week proclaimed “How legalized sports betting in California could revive horse tracks” and the article discusses how Prop 26 will help a dying industry. One owner of 76 race horses said, “The addition of this wagering could be monumental for horse racing, a major shot in the arm.”

“It’s going to be very powerful” for the racing industry. Horse racing is never going to get monies from the state or from the casinos. This is our last lifeline, and it’s extremely important to us.” – Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) vice chairman, Bob Liewald, Thoroughbred Daily News

Due to this handout to horse racetracks, organizations today announcing their opposition to Proposition 26 include:

● California Animal Welfare Association
● Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County
● Fresno Humane Animal Services
● Inland Valley Humane Society and S.P.C.A.
● Marin Humane Society
● National Animal Care and Control Association
● Public Interest Coalition
● San Diego Humane Society
● Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA)
● San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (San Francisco SPCA)

If enacted, Prop 26 will propagate the horse racing industry by allowing horse racetracks to accept sports wagers at their facilities and receive millions of dollars in new revenue. For years, horse racing has been declining in popularity, with attendance dramatically down at racetracks even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Handing millions of dollars to special interest racetracks will enable them to continue operating despite their concerning animal safety record and declining popularity with Californians.

For more information on Prop 26, go to https://tasimcoalition.org/

###

Barbara brings over 20 year of unique public policy expertise and extensive experience in the animal welfare industry

San Francisco, CA – July 5, 2022 – The San Francisco SPCA has announced that Barbara Schmitz, JD, will join the Shelter Policy and Legal Services (PALS) team as Advocacy Counsel starting in August 2022. Shelter PALS is the country’s first and only legal aid program dedicated exclusively to the needs of animal shelters. Shelter PALS leverages the expertise of the best minds in animal welfare, and channels significant legal aid to animal shelters. The program champions policy change and counsels shelter clients to reduce imbalances of expertise and resources that result in poor outcomes for animals.

Barbara has over 20 years of experience in public policy and advocacy on behalf of animals nationwide. Most recently, Barbara was the Staff Services Manager for the State of California. She previously served as the Director of Advocacy and Outreach for Alley Cat Allies and State Director for the Humane Society of the United States.

“Animal shelters in California are facing significant and mounting challenges; intake numbers are rising while the national veterinary staffing shortage continues to worsen,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, CEO of the SF SPCA. “Barbara has the experience and policy background needed to expand Shelter PALS services and help shelters save lives.”

Barbara also has experience providing pro bono legal support to organizations such as Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Volunteer Lawyer Program, St. Louis Animal Rights Team, Missouri’s Humane Advocacy Network, and Missouri River Otter Protection Coalition. Barbara received her JD from the St. Louis University School of Law.

To learn more about Shelter PALS or support the SF SPCA’s advocacy efforts, visit sfspca.org/shelterpals

# # #

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting, and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill, or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit sfspca.org

Animal shelters across the nation are experiencing an influx of dogs and a decrease in demand for adoption

San Francisco, CA – June 6, 2022 – Animal shelters across the nation, including the San Francisco SPCA and San Francisco Animal Care & Control, are unusually full of dogs. The problem is twin fold: Many spay/neuter surgeries were delayed because of the pandemic, and consequently we’re now seeing more homeless animals. At the same time, the demand for adoptions is declining as the pandemic ends and life returns to normal. This is creating an unsustainable situation for shelters that simply can’t accommodate all of the dogs coming through their doors.

To help animals find their forever homes more quickly, both the SF SPCA and SFACC are waiving adoption fees:

“When you adopt, you’re not just saving one animal’s life, you’re also opening space in our shelter so we can save another animal,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, CEO of the SF SPCA. “If you’ve been thinking about adopting, now is a great time. Our shelter is full and we have a huge variety of dogs – especially bigger dogs.”

“As an open-door animal shelter, SF Animal Care & Control (SFACC) takes in all species of animals, and all types of dogs, including lost dogs, dogs that need protective custody, dogs that are linked to investigations, and dogs surrendered by owners,” said Virginia Donohue, Executive Director of SFACC. “The number of dogs in our care – especially large ones – has significantly impacted our operations. We’re hoping that waiving our adoption fees will lead to many of our dogs finding loving new homes.”

Unfortunately, due to a lot of misunderstanding, bigger dogs often have a harder time getting adopted and are therefore being disproportionally impacted by the recent decline in adoption demand. Finding the perfect dog is less about size and more about personality and lifestyle. Big dogs can make wonderful family dogs and thrive in city apartments. Read the SF SPCA’s big dog myth busting article.

How you can help:

 

###

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit sfspca.org.

 

About San Francisco Animal Care & Control

The Department of Animal Care & Control is a taxpayer-funded open-admission animal shelter.  Animal Care & Control provides housing, care and medical treatment to wild, exotic and domestic stray, lost, abandoned sick, injured and/or surrendered animals. Animal Care & Control aims to adopt, rehome or reunite domestic animals with their guardians and to release wildlife to their native habitats.  Animal Care & Control responds to animal related emergencies, including animal abuse and neglect, as well as matters of public safety. Animal Care & Control is located at 1419 Bryant Street San Francisco, CA 94103

For more information, visit  www.sfanimalcare.org

“Riley was always a playful puppy. She loved the off-leash dog park. While her play style was rough, we never saw a problem. One day a new dog joined the dog park and a fight between Riley and the other dog broke out. The other dog was injured and had to be taken to the hospital.

We hired a trainer right away and didn’t go back to the park. More than a year later, while Riley was playing in the backyard she slipped by me and hurt another dog who was on a walk with their owner. I was beside myself and again called the trainer.

We made a plan to secure our backyard. Unfortunately, Riley slipped out and again injured another dog. I desperately looked for pet behavior services and found Dr. Wailani Sung at the SF SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Clinic.

During our consultation, Dr. Sung provided multiple recommendations to help Riley. Dr. Sung recommended counter conditioning exercises as well as switching to a harness and gentle lead instead of the chain collar the trainer had recommended. We started Riley on Fluoxetine, which has helped calm her anxiety. These recommendations combined with information for me on how to work with Riley were necessary for Riley and me to succeed.

The bond my family has with Riley now is much stronger after working with Dr. Sung. Riley is less anxious and my family and I better understand her strengths and weakness, making it possible for her thrive in our home.”

Need help with your pet’s behavior issue? Contact the SF SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Services.

Learn from world-renowned experts in the field of animal behavior at next month’s virtual two-day conference 

January 13, 2022 — Fear Free, LLC and the San Francisco SPCA have teamed up once again for the second annual Fear Free Pet Behavior Symposium, which aims to prevent fear, stress, and anxiety in pets by educating and inspiring those who care for them.

With all the false and harmful information on the internet, it can be hard to know what is truly best for pets. Fear Free aims to provide veterinary teams, pet professionals, pet parents, and animal welfare communities with the scientifically backed knowledge and tools needed to look after both a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

The best minds in veterinary medicine will present virtually at the Fear Free Pet Behavior Symposium, February 12 and 13, to three focused audiences: pet guardians, shelter personnel, and veterinary professionals. This year’s symposium will feature all new content focusing on the practical and environmental concepts of Fear Free as well as the latest strategies and processes demonstrated in veterinary clinics and shelters today. Attendees can view the sessions live or on demand for 90 days after the event.

Pet guardians will learn how to help their cats and dogs live happy, healthy, and full lives. Presentations from veterinary and behavior experts will explore topics like common behavior problems, enrichment, the emotional wellbeing of pets, and tips for new adopters.

Shelter and veterinary professionals will learn how to integrate Fear Free concepts into their everyday work, such as identifying stressed body language and gently handling animals. These tracks will give attendees a deep dive into the latest science-based animal behavior research, like Fear Free dentistry, implementing Fear Free into animal anesthesia, reducing stress in the shelter environment, and feline body language.

The symposium features Fear Free experts from the veterinary and shelter world, including renowned Fear Free founder Dr. Marty Becker and board-certified SF SPCA veterinary behaviorists Drs. Jeannine Berger and Wailani Sung.

“We received wonderful feedback from attendees of our first Fear Free Symposium, and we’re excited to offer it again this year,” explained Dr. Berger. “This symposium has something for everyone, whether you’re a pet guardian or animal welfare professional. We will teach practical ways to incorporate Fear Free concepts, and what you learn at this symposium will have a real-life impact on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the animals in your life.”

Since 2016, Fear Free has provided online education to more than 140,000 veterinary professionals, pet professionals, animal welfare communities, and pet owners. By closely listening to the needs of the profession and those of the new generation of pet owners, Fear Free has become one of the single most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice, providing unparalleled education on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets and improving the experience of every human and pet involved.

“We are so excited to once again connect and inspire communities that are highly intertwined and need to all be working together to ensure the emotional wellbeing of pets,” Fear Free Founder and Chief Professional Relations Officer Dr. Becker said. “When shelters, the veterinary community, and pet parents all learn the most current tactics, tips, and strategies to keep pets happy and healthy, everyone wins.”

RACE CE credit will be available for both the shelter and veterinary sessions.

Pricing for the various tracks is $9.99 for pet guardians, $149 for shelter personnel, and $295 for veterinary professionals.

Learn more and register at sfspca.org/fearfree.

Symposium hashtag: #SFSPCAFearFree

 

###

 

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit sfspca.org.

 

About Fear Free

Founded by Dr. Marty Becker and developed by hundreds of experts in behavior, medicine, and handling, Fear Free® offers online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, the pet professional community, animal shelter staff and volunteers, and pet owners. Fear Free provides both professionals and pet lovers alike with the knowledge and tools to look after a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Veterinary or pet professionals can learn more about becoming Fear Free Certified® by visiting fearfreepets.com. Pet owners can visit fearfreehappyhomes.com to access free videos, articles, and more that will help improve the physical and emotional health of their pets right at home. Shelter, rescue, and animal welfare employees and volunteers can visit fearfreeshelters.com to enroll in the complimentary program.

The iconic tradition will continue to bring holiday magic while prioritizing health and safety

Meet Tiptoe, Macy’s loveable reindeer, this year’s holiday window theme

San Francisco, CA – November 12, 2021 – The San Francisco SPCA and Macy’s Union Square are excited to announce that its annual Holiday Windows will return for the 35th year and be available for viewing from Nov. 23 through Jan. 2, 2022. The San Francisco holiday tradition will continue to delight shoppers and passersby. To celebrate the Holiday Windows and partnership, Macy’s has donated $5,000 to the SF SPCA to support their year-round lifesaving work helping animals who are ill, injured, homeless, or in need of an advocate.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the 35th anniversary of Holiday Windows,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, SF SPCA President. “This event truly embodies the holiday spirit and has helped more than 10,000 animals find loving homes. We are so grateful for Macy’s continued partnership and their $5,000 donation, which will help save lives year-round.”

The SF SPCA has created brand new videos of adorable rescue animals and SF SPCA shelter alumni, fresh for the 2021 holiday season. The videos will play in the Macy’s Holiday Windows on the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell Streets, as well as on the first floor of Macy’s Union Square. In addition, the SF SPCA will livestream videos of shelter animals at sfspca.org/holiday. Santa himself will make special appearances on the livestreams! The digital Holiday Windows experience promises to help viewers safely get into the spirit of the holidays.

The theme for this year’s Holiday Windows is “Tiptoe,” a lovable reindeer who is afraid to fly. With a little encouragement from her friends, Polar Bear and Penguin, and a dash of holiday magic, Tiptoe takes to the skies. The Tiptoe theme, on display in the Macy’s windows, will complement the adorable SF SPCA rescue animal videos.

“This beloved holiday tradition has brought generations of San Franciscans joy, and thousands of animals homes, for more than three decades,” said John Sparks, Store Manager at Macy’s Union Square. “Macy’s is proud of our continued partnership with the San Francisco SPCA and, while the holidays continue to look a little different this year, Macy’s Union Square is excited to share the magic of the season with our shoppers through our Holiday Windows.”

Keep an eye out while shopping this year, because the SF SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy team will be bringing their specially trained therapy animals to Macy’s! Shoppers will be able to interact with the animals, whose surprise visits are meant to bring a little extra holiday cheer to Macy’s.

On floors 1-7 inside Macy’s Union Square, shoppers can take selfies at four “Instagrammable moment” stations featuring giant cutouts of cats and dogs. Shoppers can learn about the animals’ stories and snap a photo to share with friends.

Looking for a new best friend this holiday season? Adoption will continue by appointment at the SF SPCA’s Mission Campus Adoption Center. To view adoptable animals, visit sfspca.org/adopt

Holiday Windows would not be possible without our sponsor, Nestle Purina PetCare Company, and the SF SPCA holiday live cam sponsors, Morrison and Foerster, Fiduciary Trust International (FTI), and BasePaws. To learn more about Holiday Windows and donate to support the SF SPCA’s lifesaving programs, visit sfspca.org/holiday.

 

# # #

 

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit sfspca.org.

 

About Macy’s

For more than 160 years, Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., has served generations at every stage of their lives. Through a digitally led shopping experience powered by macys.com, our award-winning mobile app and a nationwide portfolio of stores, Macy’s customers come to us for fashion, value and high-quality products. We are proud of our heritage and the unique role we play in American culture and tradition. We celebrate occasions big and small and have created decades of memorable experiences through Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. With the collective support of our customers and colleagues, Macy’s helps make a difference in every market we serve, supporting local and national charities through funding and volunteer service. With fashion, value and celebration as our guide, Macy’s makes life shine brighter for our customers, colleagues and communities.

 

About Nestle Purina PetCare Company

Many thanks to our longtime supporter, Nestle Purina PetCare Company. Purina believes pets and people are better together, which is why they support events like Holiday Windows. Purina supports the SF SPCA’s mission to put pets and the people who love them together every day. Purina generously donates all of the food and litter for the SF SPCA shelter animals who are waiting for loving people like you to take them home. Meow, woof, thank you Purina!

Plus, view the Halloween shelter live cams through October 31!

October 26, 2021 — The San Francisco SPCA has tips for keeping pets safe during Halloween. With the right preparation and common sense precautions, both you and your pet can safely enjoy the spooky season together.

“Keep pets inside the house whether you’re out trick-o-treating or at home passing out candy,” advises Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, SF SPCA President. “Pets are safest indoors, away from frightening noises and potential hazards. If you’re passing out candy, consider putting your pet in a separate room so they don’t accidentally slip out the door.”

If the constant influx of strangers to the door spooks your pet, keep them in a quiet and comfortable room with a bed or crate, favorite toy, treat, or food puzzle. Some pets can benefit from having the TV or radio on. Calming pheromone products like Adaptil spray and collars work well for both dogs and cats. If anxiety is still a problem, talk to your veterinarian or contact the SF SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Clinic.

“This is also a good time to ensure that your pets are microchipped and wearing an identification tag,” said Dr. Scarlett. “Lost animals who end up at a shelter are far more likely to find their way home if they’re microchipped.”

The microchip should be registered with a universal microchip registration database such as petlink.net. Take a current picture of your pet as an added precaution.

Additional safety tips:

HOWL-O-Ween Live Cams: Celebrate Halloween by watching adorable, adoptable puppies and kittens doing what they do best: act like adorable puppies and kittens! Tune in daily 10am to 5pm through October 31. Plus, download the free SF SPCA Halloween Pet Safety Guide. sfspca.org/halloween

# # #

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit sfspca.org.

Airport’s team of San Francisco SPCA certified therapy animals is back after 20-month absence

October 18, 2021 – The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today announced the return of the Wag Brigade, a team of certified therapy animals, after a 20-month absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will be returning to SFO terminals this week on a limited schedule. All animal and volunteer teams comply with the Airport’s enhanced health and safety protocols, which includes mandatory mask wearing and vaccination for all onsite workers.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Wag Brigade back to SFO,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “Since its launch, this program has been a favorite for travelers and airport employees alike. We appreciate the efforts of our Customer Care team, and the pet owners who generously volunteer their time at SFO.”

“Our Wag Brigade volunteer teams are excited to begin returning to SFO,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, SF SPCA President. “Interacting with animals can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Our goal is to help ease the stress of air travel and delight passengers at SFO.”

Launched in December 2013, the SFO “Wag Brigade” brings trained animals to the terminals to make passenger travel more enjoyable. The San Francisco SPCA certifies all participating animals through their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program. Prior to returning to SFO, the SF SPCA recertified all participating animals.

For more information about the Wag Brigade, please visit: www.flysfo.com/wag-brigade.

 

About San Francisco International Airport

SFO is excited to welcome travelers back to the skies with an airport experience featuring seamless access, thoughtful amenities, sustainable design and inspiring artwork and exhibits. SFO reminds travelers that face masks are still required by federal mandate for air travel.

For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation, masks and COVID related protocols and more, visit www.flysfo.com. Follow us on twitter.com/flysfo and facebook.com/flysfo.

 

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit sfspca.org.

The passage of AB 1282 will end California’s ‘Captive Donor Dog’ Blood Banks

October 18, 2021 — After a multi-year effort, the San Francisco SPCA announced that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 1282, making it legal for California veterinarians to operate community-sourced donor blood banks, similar to the voluntary model used for people. This will help increase the blood supply available for pets in emergencies while also addressing the welfare issues around captive donor dogs. A huge win-win for animals in California!

California was the only state still requiring blood used in veterinary hospitals to come from caged animals. At two privately owned facilities that held a monopoly on the market, greyhounds were kept in cages for years for the sole purpose of collecting their blood. The SF SPCA Shelter PALS team spent more than three years working alongside other advocates for legislation to end this inhumane practice, and earlier this month Governor Newsom signed AB 1282 into law!

“We’ve had significant blood shortages in California veterinary hospitals for many years, so the current system isn’t working,” explained Brandy Kuentzel, SF SPCA Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, and General Counsel. “This new model, which is already used successfully in all other states, will help alleviate the blood shortage while ensuring the safety and welfare for both the donor and recipient animals.”

The passage of AB 1282 will also help bring transparency to the animal blood banking system. The two facilities operating ‘closed colony’ animal blood banks were exempt from many public records laws, including sealing their state inspection records. AB 1282 requires records related to commercial blood banks to be available to the public, in addition to mandating supervision of community blood banks by veterinarians and testing all donor animals for disease.

AB 1282 will reduce the suffering of many animals and the people who love them. The SF SPCA would especially like to thank Assemblymember Richard Bloom for championing this legislation and Governor Newsom for signing it into law.

Ready To Adopt?