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Shelter Myths

100% of healthy and adoptable dogs and cats are rehomed

​When Peninsula Humane Society (PHS) states, as it often does, that "100% of healthy and adoptable dogs and cats are rehomed" the community may want to know this only includes animals that PHS has deemed "adoptable". By "adoptable" they mean has passed the (outdated) behavior evaluation. Many healthy cats and dogs DO NOT PASS this evaluation, are subsequently euthanized and are not counted in the "100%". It would be more accurate for PHS to say "We adopt out 100% of the cats and dogs we adopt out". See Why Shelter Animals Need Your Voice for typical examples of animals that don't make it out of the Coyote Point shelter alive.

We are 100% local and depend 100% on local donations

When PHS says "we are 100% local and depend 100% on local donations" PHS is failing to mention they receive roughly $6.6M annually from the County of San Mateo to perform the County's Animal Care, Control and Sheltering services. This funding comes directly from property taxes paid by San Mateo County residents. While it may be that the $6.6M falls short of covering PHS's costs - we believe misleading the public is inappropriate and it would be better to explain where expenses fall short and invite donations to cover those expenses.

In Foster Care

When PHS lists on its website that animals are "in Foster Care", many of those animals are in fact, housed at the Coyote Point shelter. We believe this is unhelpful as a) it implies there are plenty of foster homes when in fact there is a shortage of foster homes, b) adopters may feel that since the animal is in a home, they will prioritize an animal housed at the shelter leading to longer wait times for some of PHS's longest residents and c) it misleads adopters to believe more is known about the animal because s/he has been in a home when in fact s/he is living at the shelter. Why falsely advertise an animal’s location when there is no need to? UPDATE: we are pleased to report (and commend PHS) for stopping this rather puzzling practice. This is an instance where speaking up for the animals paid off!

1400 volunteers

For as long as many of us can remember PHS has marketed having 1400 volunteers. There are at best 20-25 active dog volunteers at the Coyote Point shelter where the majority of dogs are housed. That's nowhere near enough volunteers given they are part time and often volunteer only 1-2 days per week for a few hours since many of them also work. PHS has opted not to respond to pressure to attend to the behavioral and emotional needs of the animals by either assigning more staff to get the dogs out of the kennels every day (a standard the more progressive shelters are committing to); to increase the number of volunteers getting the dogs out (there is no shortage of volunteers wanting to help at Coyote Point) or to implement modern methods like large scale playgroups to get many more dogs out at one time (the Dogs Playing for Life model). It is well known that dogs being the sentient, social beings they are, quickly deteriorate when confined to kennels for long periods of time. UPDATE: in a recent (2019) article PHS reported having 1200 volunteers. While that is progress on getting closer to the actual numbers it does not address having only 20-25 active dog volunteers at Coyote Point. If this concerns you - see the Join Us section of this website.


PACC Position

The PACC Board believes euthanasia is a necessary service that the shelter must provide for animals that are overtly aggressive and/or irremediably suffering. We have witnessed this firsthand and are relieved there is such an option. What we do not accept is seeing animals put down for the way they react to the extremely stressful shelter environment when once outside of the shelter, they are normal every day cats and dogs. Volunteers are often the ones who spend hours with the animal, often outside of the shelter. We watch them decompress and show their true personalities "off-site" only to see their shelter fears return when brought back to the shelter. Many of us are also experienced fosters so we see the dramatic differences in the animal once in a home environment that staff often do not see, and for reasons we don’t fully understand, often don’t want to hear. To witness animals that could easily, or even relatively easily (some of us like the high maintenance challenge :-) live safely and comfortably in a home, euthanized because of their individual reaction to stress, or for not getting out of the kennel for extended periods of time is heartbreaking, unnecessary and quite frankly old school. The bar must be raised for the animals in our County’s care.

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