Make Animal Care & Control an "Open-Door" Shelter Again

Make Animal Care & Control an "Open-Door" Shelter Again

August 11, 2022
Petition to
Mayor of the City of San Francisco The Honorable London Breed and 3 others
Signatures: 3,495Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Bill Hamilton

This petition acquired 3,212 signatures by October 2022 and has 3,417 signatures as of 9/24/23. It was presented to the Mayor's staff and its other intended recipients on October 22, 2022, but I am planning to make another presentation to show the petition's growing support. The Mayor's staff presented it to City Administrator Carmen Chu, the supervisor of the Executive Director of SFACC, Virginia Donohue in November 2022. Since then — silence from all City administrators.

However, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. A court case against the San Diego Humane Society is now scheduled to go to trial on April 24, 2024 (postponed from August 7, 2023). It concerns the same issue at the heart of this petition. If the plaintiffs (on our side) prevail, it will set a precedent in California and possibly nationwide.

I'll keep you posted!

Bill Hamilton

San Francisco Animal Care & Control (ACC), formerly the city’s only “open-door” animal shelter, has CLOSED ITS DOORS to lost, abandoned and homeless cats. ACC’s new $76.4 million facility will not admit cats from the public for medical care, food or shelter. Not even to scan for a microchip! Not even orphaned or nursing kittens! Not even if the cat is injured, sick or near death! Not even if the cat is rescued from heavy traffic in the middle of an intersection! (Yes, this has happened.) These policies are published on their website.

If a Good Samaritan finds a cat in danger and wants to bring her into ACC to be reunited with her guardian, ACC now says it is up to the Good Samaritan to find the guardian by posting flyers and using social media. However, in most cases, ACC advises the Good Samaritan to simply put the cat back where he found her, claiming the cat is “likely” an outdoor cat owned by a neighbor. If the cat is actually lost, too bad, even though lost cats are threatened by vehicles, other cats, raccoons, coyotes, parasites, diseases, etc.

ACC has also abandoned its hold policy, whereby the shelter could notify an individual or rescue group after an impounded pet’s waiting period is over, so the animal could be immediately rescued or adopted.

These changes violate the San Francisco Municipal Code (Section 41.6), the California Penal Code (597(b)), and the California Food & Agricultural Code (§ 31752 (c)(1)).


Dear Mayor Breed:

San Francisco Animal Care & Control (ACC), our taxpayer-funded, open-admission animal shelter, is refusing to admit healthy, lost and abandoned cats, violating its Mission Statement, the San Francisco Municipal Code and state laws. ACC is telling the public to return lost cats to wherever they were found, even if the location is clearly dangerous, and to assume ACC’s responsibilities by posting flyers and using social media to find the pets’ owners themselves. This policy places residents at risk by forcing them to be in prolonged contact with potentially frightened and unsocialized animals, making the City liable for lawsuits. ACC’s new $76.4 million shelter, which cannot harbor as many animals as the old shelter, stands half empty due to these inhumane policies. We are requesting that you ensure that ACC accepts abandoned and lost cats brought in by members of the public for microchip scanning, basic medical care, shelter, food and adoption; and that ACC reinstates its hold policy, allowing unclaimed pets to be adopted by individuals or partnering rescue groups.

cc: Carmen Chu, City Administrator; Brooke Jenkins, District Attorney; David Chiu, City Attorney

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Signatures: 3,495Next Goal: 5,000
Support now

Decision Makers

  • The Honorable London BreedMayor of the City of San Francisco
  • Brooke JenkinsDistrict Attorney of the City of San Francisco
  • David ChiuCity Attorney of the City of San Francisco
  • Carmen ChuCity Administrator