Foster 500 Off to a Roaring Start!!

Thanks to Jeanne Saadi, Volunteer Services Coordinator at Animal Care Services for letting us borrow her announcement.

Animal No KillOn March 16, UTSA and local high school students joined the TalkAboutIt campaign and Animal Care Services (ACS) to spread the word about the need for foster homes at ACS. We tweeted, facebooked, blogged, emailed, called and had a live video stream on Ustream all day (you can watch the recorded version here:

We had a lot of media coverage for this, which should air on just about every channel this evening. Keep your eyes open. If you know someone who is interested in fostering or just learning more about it, they can call 399-4848, ext. 1 or visit the Foster 500 website to learn more and fill out an online foster application.

We expect to start getting a lot of inquiries about it beginning tonight and tomorrow following the news broadcasts. This program will reward people for fostering pets by offering incremental awards (coupons, gift certificates, t-shirts, etc.) for successfully fostering pets (i.e. after 5 successful fosters, they receive a coupon for a free pizza. After 10, they receive a Foster500 t-shirt, etc.).

We estimate it would take 500 foster homes to make ACS a no-kill shelter. It’s an easy and fun way for the community to get involved. Please don’t hesitate to mention this option to people as they are looking at the pets in our shelter.

Thanks for everything!!

For more information contact Gavin Nichols, Program Officer for the San Antonio Area Foundation Animal No Kill Initiative.  Phone: 210-242 4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community


Animal Groups Collaborate to Reach No Kill in San Antonio

Citizens with their pets at the Pet Pawchanga hosted by Talk About It! and Big Dawgs San Antonio

The progress that San Antonio has made towards achieving No Kill is definitely heading in the right direction. Despite what kinks that still need hammering, the progress that has been made is a result of the collaborative efforts made by animal welfare agency staff, dedicated community volunteers, universities, businesses, City officials, and the San Antonio Area Foundation. Texas’ population had a 20 percent increase over the last ten years, making San Antonio the 7th largest city in the nation with over 1.7 million people! So resolving our city’s pet overpopulation issue while reaching no kill has shown to be a multi-step process that must involve all the key players, which we are proud to say our community has worked very hard in doing so.

Last week we reported that the San Antonio Area Foundation released their Quarterly Report of the Animal No Kill Program. This week, we wanted to touch up on some of those successes. In 2006, 4,684 dogs and cats were adopted, transferred to rescue groups, or returned to their owners from Animal Care Services.  In 2010, Live Release was 6,983, which is a 49% improvement, but becoming a No Kill City cannot be accomplished by one single organization. In 2010, our community came together to collaborate resources and coordinate programs that has shown to be a more effective approach to becoming No Kill.


Last year, the San Antonio community worked together to:

  • Finally yet importantly, San Antonio launched the Talk About It! campaign to promote a centralized theme of – Care. Adopt. Neuter.

UTSA Project Leaders of the Learn and Serve No Kill Project at one of the Talk About It! Pet Fiestas.

The Talk About It! campaign provides a venue for animal welfare organizations, community leaders, and local businesses to expand the impact of the animal no kill initiative collectively through partnership and collaboration. Talk About It! urges San Antonio residents to spay or neuter their pets; provide them a safe and healthy home; and adopt, foster or help homeless pets. Working together, we can realize the goal of making San Antonio a no kill community. Talk About It! is focused on what we CAN do in San Antonio – Care, Adopt, Neuter. Achieving No Kill means that the City of San Antonio will not euthanize any healthy, treatable or adoptable cats or dogs due to lack of space or because their owner does not want them any longer.

Last August, we introduced the Talk About It! campaign to the San Antonio community. Since then, the Talk About It! campaign has collaborated with a number of organizations within the animal welfare community; accomplishing so much in just four months:

  • 468 spay/neuter surgeries from the 14 spay/neuter clinics organized by Talk About It!
  • Organized 10 Pet Fiestas that included trainings and information sessions by groups such as: Alamo City Bully Breeds United, Bully Breeds Need Love, Rivercity Weight Pull Club, and San Antonio Big Dawgs.
  • Recruited over 208 volunteers
  • Had a total of 5,000 event attendees
  • Canvassed over 3,000 homes in the grassroots block walking program
  • Informed 35,177 households about upcoming free or low-cost spay/neuter events in their neighborhood
  • Collected over 1,000 signed petitions in favor of making San Antonio a No Kill  community
  • Released 25 media alerts resulting in much needed local news coverage for our cause
  • Placed 17 advertisements promoting upcoming events for AAPAW Mega Adoptions, spay/neuter clinics, and Pet Fiestas

SA Humane Society partnering with Talk About It! at the Red McCombs Spay/Neuter Week!

When we look at San Antonio’s efforts towards achieving No Kill, too often we focus on the challenges and obstacles of this initiative because each day we know that innocent lives are at stake if we do not act fast. All the meetings, brainstorming and planning for collaboration seems so tedious and slow moving at times to our fellow partners, but to create a social impact by saving the lives of San Antonio’s dogs and cats, we need to do so collectively.  Yes, everyday wonderful dogs and cats are still being euthanized which means we have not reached No Kill and we (as a community) still have a lot of work to do. However, on the bright side, the fact is that everyone working on this initiative loves animals, they want to share their love of animals with others, and they want to help the dogs, cats, and people of San Antonio. It is because of this passion, people are working together to create a bigger impact towards becoming no kill.

With Talk About It!, the message of “Care. Adopt. Neuter.” came down from the billboards and transformed into one-on-one conversations with people in the city.  When you can have that kind of conversation with someone and build the connection between the three actions to the No Kill initiative, you can see the light bulb turn on in their minds and we have brought another person on board in understanding why this cause is a crucial one.

Everyone involved in San Antonio’s efforts to becoming No Kill has fueled the momentum so many times and in so many ways.  Let’s continue to build progress San Antonio and make 2011 the best year yet for our dogs and cats.

SNIPSA’s Big Fix

The San Antonio Area Foundation is pleased to welcome as a guest blogger Shannon Espy, DVM, Top Dog at SNIPSA.

SNIPSA is an organization formed by a group of veterinarians and caring individuals dedicated to helping homeless and unwanted animals in San Antonio and the surrounding area. SNIPSA does not have a standing shelter and instead depends on a core of volunteers to foster and rehabilitate animals in their homes.  Dr. Espy, her staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make San Antonio an Animal No Kill by 2012.

Dear Big Fix supporters,

This is a belated thank you from our last event in late January. Life at SNIPSA is busy as always. Well we broke all records performing 224 spays/neuters, 94 of which were female dog spays. Yes that is right, 94 fewer females reproducing on the streets. And if you think about the exponential number of offspring this prevented, we did quite a good deed.

The amazing thing was we were pretty much finished with surgery by late afternoon. The challenge is always finding enough experienced technicians to keep up with the efficiency of the doctors. Each time we learn a little more and tweak things here and there. It is always nice to have new faces- a new veterinarian at discharge to help answer questions and our old-timer military veterinarian was back to work recovery. We trapped a handful of cats and continued to work on a colony throughout the following week.

While blockwalking, we discovered a very sick dog suffering from distemper. She could barely stand and was doing her best to get around in an open field. We left her a can of cat food and returned the following days to check on her. If you remember, this was the day before the Arctic front hit. So knowing she would most likely succumb to the elements, we ventured back out and found her lying on a discarded mattress. She also had a well-loved television tube decorated with graffiti adjacent to her mattress. She weighed all of 25 lbs or so and should have weighed at least 50. Every rib was in plain view. Dr. Neelish was kind enough to take her to his hospital and give her a fighting chance. She is still with us today though we know this is a debilitating disease and her chances of making a full recovery are very slim.

I share this story because this is the very thing we are working diligently to prevent. Just one vaccine would have spared this poor dog. Every Big Fix, there is a new set of circumstances and group of animals we encounter. Many have mange, are pregnant, lived tethered, and just basically get by. We are so busy during the day that it is often difficult to reflect about the good we are doing. But when the dust settles the following day, I am awed by everyone’s compassion and commitment. I know we are doing God’s work serving people who have less than we do. And in blockwalking, we are reminded of that even more.

I want to personally thank each of you that participate in our Big Fix days. You are an integral cog in their success. To date we have sterilized, vaccinated, and microchipped 1442 dogs/cats since May 2009. We plan on going strong this next year.

With appreciation,

Shannon Espy, DVM

If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community

Animal No Kill Initiative-How are we doing?

Dear Friends,

The San Antonio Area Foundation’s Animal No Kill Initiative is pleased to provide the calendar Quarter 4 2010 report of the goals and status of our City’s Animal Care Strategic Plan.

Talk About ItThis report shows statistics from Animal Care Services for January through December 2010 across all components of the No Kill program. The statistics for Feral Cats and Spay/Neuter Surgeries are those reported by the high volume spay/neuter clinics in San Antonio.

The statistics for Adoption, Rescue Groups, Pet Retention, and Volunteers are from the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services reports.

In addition, this report provides the San Antonio Area Foundation grants awarded to nonprofit agencies for No Kill related projects and the gifts received into our Animal No Kill Fund through Q4 2010.

The report is distributed to the office of the Mayor, the office of each City Councilperson, the City Manager’s office, the office of each member of the Bexar County Commissioners Court, each member of the Animal Care Services Advisory Board, each member of the Animal No Kill Consortium of Partners, and each member of the San Antonio Area Foundation Animal Services Community Advisory Committee.

For more information on the Area Foundation’s role in the 2012 No Kill Goal visit the San Antonio Area Foundation website.

Gavin Nichols

If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community

San Antonio Works Together for Animal No Kill


Here is an uplifting Animals Matter blog by Cathy Rosenthal at the San Antonio Express News.

As much as we beat ourselves and each other up in the local animal welfare community, San Antonio is doing much good work, especially when compared with many other cities.

Animal No KillIn addition to what is in the linked article, I would like to point out that December 2010 was a great month for Live Release at Animal Care Services. ACS had 377 Adoptions and 727 Live Releases. Both of those numbers are the highest monthly totals dating back to July 2008 when I first started tracking these numbers. That is good news! Let’s go out and do even better!

Hopefully, this gives us some validation of the work we are doing and encourages us to go out and make 2011 the best year ever for making San Antonio a No Kill community!

To learn more about what No Kill means and why it is important read this blog by Laura McKieran

Gavin Nichols

If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community

McCombs MASH–Doing it Again

Animal No Kill Initiative

Speedy Gonzalez of Red McCombs Enterprises and three participating spay/neuter clinics are at it again! They are kicking off 2011 with 4 clinics at McCombs Ford West, 7111 N.W Loop 410 and Culebra.

Free surgeries and every owner who gets a pet sterilized will receive lunch or dinner for 4 from Rudy’s BBQ!

Low cost microchips, vaccines, and heartworm or FIV/FeLV testing are also offered.

Call to make appointments:

• Monday, Jan 10th – Animal Care Services 207-6653

• Tuesday, Jan 11th – SpaySA 351-7729

• Wednesday, Jan 12th – SA Humane Society 226-7461 x127

• Thursday, Jan 13th – SpaySA 351-7729

Please share with your friends and neighbors; and please print the attached flyer and put it up in your organization’s break room!


If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community

Learn and Serve at UTSA

Animal No Kill InitiativeI am still sky high from the Learn and Serve presentation this morning. Learn and Serve is a UTSA Master of Public Administration service learning program for which they were awarded a $50K grant from the Animal No Kill Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation this year. In this program, MPA graduate students are mentoring high school student groups to plan and execute projects that will have an impact on the No Kill effort that we have underway in San Antonio. The program is led by the Co-Directors of the LEARN from each other AND SERVE San Antonio: No Kill Project: Molly Cox, Director of the Center for Policy Studies and Dr. Renee Nank, Assistant Professor of Public Administration.

There are eight area high schools participating in the Learn and Serve program: Lanier, Highlands, Southwest, Edison, Memorial, Roosevelt, Harlandale, and East Central. Each high school presented its project description and plans. They were each outstanding! The students all showed that they understand the essence of the pet overpopulation problem, and have projects that address the root causes of the problem. Each of them had components of community education about the importance of spaying and neutering pets and what residents must do to practice responsible pet ownership.

The projects included pet festivals (“petstivals”), block walks, spay/neuter clinics, and fundraising to provide vouchersAnimal no kill initiative for more clinics. The high school groups will work with ACS, SpaySA, ADL, the SA Humane Society, Rackspace, and others to accomplish their project goals. Several of them are also including other student groups and their school’s Art Departments in their projects to get help and share in the fundraising. One of the high school groups plans to make a movie of local dogs and promote it to You Tube. These student groups have all set high goals and they have very concrete, specific plans to achieve them. They have shown that they are willing to work together to address the problem that adults in our community have been unable or unwilling to address. I hope that they will shame the adults in the community into getting on board with them.

Edison High SchoolThe general mood in the auditorium this morning was exciting and infectious. The students were very excited and proud about what they are doing. When I saw them, listened to their presentations, and saw the support from their fellow students in the audience, I truly felt that the future of our City, and our Country, is in good hands.

Several members of our Consortium were in the audience this morning: Chris Bellows, Dr. Jo Ann Gonzalez, Marcy Lynch, Kathie McGowan, and Lisa McGrath. I also saw Cynthia Martinez from the San Antonio Humane Society, Rocsy Acosta and Hugo Vital from the Animal Defense League, Ronnie Guest and Vincent Medley from Animal Care Services, Karen Pearce from Alamo City Bully Breeds United, and Elsa Gonzales and Mollie Walker from Drew-Walker on hand. Assistant City Manager Erik Walsh and City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor were also present. They Area Foundation was well represented by Crystal Del Bosque, Bernice Uresti, and Reggie Williams. I believe there is a tremendous amount of interest and high hopes in what these students are doing.


If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community