Prescription refills associated with a veterinary-client-patient-relationship (“VCPR”) are normally valid for only twelve months after an animal patient is last seen in-person by a veterinarian.  As veterinarians offer fewer appointments due to COVID-19 restrictions, it has become more difficult to renew a pet’s prescription before it expires.  But thanks to legislative efforts by Shelter PALS and its partner organizations, the Department of Consumer Affairs has issued several waivers extending this twelve-month period so that prescriptions related to that VCPR may be refilled without another in-person veterinary exam.

September 15, 2020 – Shelter PALS Shelter Law Webinar Series – Shelter Intake

Shelter professionals are invited to join us for a webinar in which Shelter PALS attorneys discuss intake in California animal shelters. In one short hour, shelter leaders will gain a better understanding of California’s legal framework and a shelter’s legal obligations for animal intake in the state. This knowledge will help shelter professionals more confidently communicate to diverse constituents about their operations and explore creative ways to optimize lifesaving in their own communities, in times of both crisis and calm.

If the video does not play, click here to watch.

August 18, 2020 – Shelter PALS Expands Veterinary Care for Shelter Animals

In exciting news, Shelter PALS has unlocked ways for shelters in California to legally offer telemedicine to needy shelter animals in our state. Thanks to both our legal ingenuity and our willingness to offer free 1:1 legal support to shelters on this complicated issue, Shelter PALS has the potential to transform medical care delivery for hundreds of thousands of California’s most vulnerable animals.

To amplify our impact, Shelter PALS joined our friends at the University of California Davis to share this information via webinar with shelter leaders across the state. Shelter professionals who want to understand the circumstances under which veterinary medicine may be legally appropriate for shelter animals in California are encouraged to watch here.

If the video does not play, click here to watch.

June 4, 2020 – CA Telemedicine Victory as DCA Waives Restrictions – 

California veterinarians now have another tool available to them to help keep pets and people healthy. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) temporarily waived certain restrictions on the use of telemedicine for pets in California and extended the time to refill prescriptions, effective June 4, 2020. In short:

Read the waivers here and additional guidance here.

DCA has the sole authority to extend these waivers during the declaration of emergency, in accordance with its standard 60-day review cycle.

Shelter PALS worked hard alongside other advocates for these changes because they will protect human and animal lives. Thank you to everyone who joined us in speaking up about the importance of veterinary telemedicine and securing this important victory for pets and people.

May 20, 2020 – CDPH Shares Lifesaving Protocols for Animal Shelters during COVID-19 – 

Shelter PALS is very excited to announce that, in a victory for shelter animals, the California Department of Public Health has shared important shelter protocols and legal guidelines proposed and written by the San Francisco SPCA. These important shelter community resources explain how to safely and legally save animals lives during COVID-19.

Shelters can access these protocols via the California Department of Public Health and on our website.

Among other essential activities, shelters can utilize these protocols to safely transport animals, and to make foster and adoption matches between animals and the people who need those connections desperately. Now more than ever, we must continue to advocate for homeless pets and provide a critical safety net for the burgeoning number of animals whose lives depend on us.

March 22, 2020 – Governor Clarifies Animal Shelter Workers as Essential – 

Governor Gavin Newsom updated his shelter-in-place order to clarify that workers in animal care facilities – including animal shelters – are “essential”. Until now, the public has been confused about how to engage with vital animal services in their communities, and each animal shelter has been left to interpret the order. This clarification removes uncertainty and helps shelters operate in accordance with Governor’s mandate, which will save animal lives while prioritizing the health and safety of shelter employees and the public.

The Governor’s announcement today is great news for shelters, families, and the animals we have dedicated our lives to saving. Shelter PALS is proud to have timely assisted with the development of this language and joined other animal welfare leaders to elevate the need to state officials.

October 9, 2019 – Keeping Families Together During Emergencies – 

The San Francisco SPCA is thrilled to report that it will now be easier for Californians to evacuate from disasters with their pets. Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 397, helping to ensure that families who are evacuating can bring their beloved pets on public transit.

California is home to nearly 19 million pets, and about seven percent of California households do not have a motor vehicle. Numerous studies have shown that people are hesitant to evacuate during a disaster without their animal family members. Creating a plan for pets on public transit during disaster will save human and animal lives and keep families together. The SF SPCA is proud to have supported this important measure, and we thank Senator Steve Glazer for this important legislation.

July 3, 2019 – California’s Budget Includes $5 Million for Compassionate Veterinary Care – 

The San Francisco SPCA applauds the compassionate inclusion of funding to aid people experiencing homelessness and their pets in California’s newly adopted budget. The 2019-20 budget, which went into effect on July 1, includes $5 million in grants to fund veterinary and other care for pets of people facing homelessness.

Pets are part of the family, no matter where you live. That is why the SF SPCA works diligently in our community to highlight the significance of the human-animal bond for everyone. Providing veterinary care for the pets of those experiencing homelessness is a critical issue that we are facing in San Francisco. This funding will help provide life-saving services to those who might otherwise go without.

Learn more here.

October 1, 2018 – SF SPCA Leads the Way to Protect Pets in Divorce Law – 

Thanks to the San Francisco SPCA’s advocacy efforts, California’s pets with divorcing owners scored a huge legal win. In partnership with Assemblymember Bill Quirk, we worked to pass Assembly Bill 2274, which ensures that the care of a pet is taken into consideration both during and after legal separation proceedings. The new California law, which goes into effect January 2019, is groundbreaking because pets are now seen as more than just property, like a car or a sofa, under California law. Pets are part of our families, and it is important that courts be able to award custody based on what is best for the animal.

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