Animal Update: San Francisco, Safest Major City for Cats, Dogs

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A dog walker escorts dogs along the beach at Crissy Field near the Golden Gate Bridge. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A dog walker escorts dogs along the beach at Crissy Field near the Golden Gate Bridge. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Jeff Bell20100908_KCBS_0122r Jeff Bell
A Bay Area native, Jeff is thrilled to be at KCBS, a station he...
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(KCBS) – KCBS’ Jeff Bell talks to Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at The San Francisco SPCA, about San Francisco being designated the “Safest Major City” for cats and dogs and what this means.

The number one cause of death for cats and dogs is euthanasia in shelters. Over 4 million animals a year are abandoned or find themselves homeless and are euthanized in shelters, many of which are already overcrowded and miserable for animals. When compared with major cities across the country, the rate of animals entering shelters in San Francisco and finding a new home rather than being euthanized, is the highest in the nation – 87%.

How did San Francisco accomplish that?

This city has a holistic approach. It has implemented aggressive population control efforts for many years, which over time has reduced the number of unwanted animals overall. The San Francisco SPCA is also active in the community constantly encouraging spay/neuter of owned pets and providing access to spay/neuter surgeries to those who can’t afford it. And the prolific feral cat population has been tackled with a Trap-Neuter-Release program. Many of the kittens we see in shelters every year come from feral cats, so targeting that population is critical. There is also have a supportive community who supports the SPCA’s efforts with donations and volunteering.

Donations are critical in keeping programs afloat in tough economic times like we’ve seen lately. The San Francisco SPCA is funded entirely by donations, bequests and revenue from its services- we don’t receive government funding. But our partner Animal Care and Control and all other city and county shelters in the country are reliant on government resources to operate. It’s essential to do whatever we can as taxpayers to make sure our legislatures keep these programs alive and well funded.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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