I am pleased to share that Governor Gavin Newsom just issued an update to his shelter-in-place order, clarifying that animal care facilities – including animal shelters – are categorized as essential services. Until now, the public has been confused about how to engage with vital animal services in their communities. Each animal shelter – and there are over 300 brick and mortar shelters in California – has been left to interpret the order. Today’s clarification will remove uncertainty and help shelters operate in accordance with Governor Newsom’s mandate, which will save animal lives while prioritizing the health and safety of shelter employees and the public.
We are excited that we can continue our lifesaving work as we conform to our current reality. Over that past few weeks we have seen a significant increase in requests to adopt and foster animals with the SF SPCA, as well as with our shelter partners across the state. Today’s directive helps us understand how we can move forward with activities like fostering and adoptions. Doing so will help keep families in positive spirits as they cope with social distancing guidelines. Today’s directive also lays down the framework for continuing to end animal homelessness.
The Governor’s announcement today is great news for shelters, families, and the animals we have dedicated our lives to saving. We are proud to have assisted with the development of this language and joined other animal welfare leaders to elevate the need to state officials. Our very own Brandy Kuentzel, Chief Counsel and leader of our Shelter Policy and Legal Services (Shelter PALS) Department and her team are currently working with under-resourced shelters across the state to deploy lifesaving legal support and adjust both local and state laws to create good outcomes for animals.
This Coronavirus outbreak is a marathon not a sprint, and today we just won a lap for animals in California. Please consider donating to the SF SPCA today to continue to move the ball forward.
Jennifer Scarlett, DVM