Why Shelter Animals Need Your Voice

The stories below are common examples of the kinds of dogs and cats that don't make it out of the Coyote Point shelter (managed by Peninsula Humane Society) alive. Many community members have no idea animals like the ones below are euthanized on a regular basis. PACC Board Members understand the need to euthanize overtly aggressive and/or irremediably suffering animals. We do NOT, however, accept applying euthanasia to dogs and cats with minor behavioral issues, that often do not manifest in a home environment, or can be easily managed when they do.


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2005 - Sierra was trapped off the Sierra Point Parkway landfill as a ~6 month old stray puppy. She was terrified at the Coyote Point shelter, shaking and growling from the back of the kennel. Happily a foster home was arranged, and Sierra blossomed under the tutelage of Ursa, the resident dog.


Unfortunately, each time Sierra was evaluated back at the shelter, she would growl at the staff, despite never growling in the home environment. At the time it was not well known that the “shelter dog” is little to no indication of the “real dog” and Sierra was slated for euthanasia.


Today it is well understood, with research to support it, that many shelter behavioral evaluations are no better than “flipping a coin” (see research & references pg). Yet sadly, dogs at San Mateo County’s Coyote Point shelter are still regularly euthanized for failing the outdated shelter evaluation as Sierra did. Sierra’s foster home, became her forever home where she spent 15 years being an impeccable canine citizen.


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2015 - Xena entered the Coyote Point shelter as a young pup with one of the worst cases of mange we’d seen, and the extremely stressful environment wasn’t helping. A PACC Board Member volunteered to foster her and true to her tough spirit she blossomed quickly with the right medication and calm home environment where she could romp with the resident pack.


When it was time for Xena to be adopted, despite the recommendation she be adopted to experienced dog owners (because little Xena needed a leader or she was going to take on that role herself, as warrior princesses tend to do), Xena was adopted to first time dog owners with a special needs child, who became obsessed with her. When the family returned Xena to Coyote Point she was slated for euthanasia for being too pushy with the child.  Xena returned to her “forever” pack and is an impeccable canine citizen.



2016 - Mindy (pointy ears, center) was dropped in the Coyote Point shelter night box because conceivably her owners hoped fellow humans could better meet her needs. Unfortunately Mindy failed the outdated behavioral evaluation because she exhibited common shelter stress induced behaviors including food guarding (being given a pig's ear and growling at the fake hand that was trying to take it away) and reacting badly to other dogs on leash (extremely common in stressed out shelter dogs). Mindy was also inaccurately labeled not good with dogs and was slated for euthanasia.


Companions in Waiting, a local rescue, took her in. Mindy’s stress related shelter behaviors vanished in her foster home and she was adopted to a couple who completely adore her. Mindy is an integral part of her owners dog walking / dog sitting business and is known for working as a mentor with difficult dogs. See a glimpse into Mindy’s life at Coach Mindy Dog

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2016 - Kona, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, was surrendered to the Coyote Point shelter along with his best friend Luna, an older female version of his handsome self. Kona’s struggling owner had suddenly become homeless when his siblings sold the family home where he was living with his two dogs and a cat.


Luna was euthanized absent her owners consent shortly after being surrendered. Based on his breed and size Kona was labeled vicious and the transportation-less and homeless owner given 48 hours to retrieve Kona lest he also be euthanized. Kona is great with people, kids, dogs and cats. He is a poster child for why the animals in San Mateo County’s care need our voice. Kona is enjoying life with a PACC Board Member alongside several other dogs. He also takes care of the households used tennis balls.



2017 - Sandy had the unfortunate experience of failing the outdated and largely invalid behavior tests currently in use at the Coyote Point shelter, and sadly was euthanized. This fabulous boy, like virtually all of the dogs at Coyote Point was terrified in the shelter environment. He initially exhibited the extremely common, largely shelter induced, behaviors of being reactive to dogs on leash and food guarding. In just one week's time of volunteers working with Sandy (totaling only a few hours!) he showed astronomical improvement. But just as he was beginning to adjust to shelter life, that life was ended. Sandy never got the chance to show what he's like when not terrified, meeting a fate that too many Coyote Point dogs meet under Peninsula Humane Society's outdated sheltering model. 


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2018 - Luna came to the Coyote Point shelter as a stray but it was suspected she was surrendered by her owner because she did not get along well with the owner’s other dogs. Luna was determined to be unadoptable because she exhibited the extremely common behavior of acting badly on leash (despite being a model dog on leash, outside of Coyote Point).


While Luna demonstrated an ability to get along great with big male dogs she was not great with some female dogs, hence was slated for euthanasia. Companions in Waiting, a local rescue, took her in understanding not every dog needs to get along with every other dog, and that in the modern age, this is no longer grounds for ending an otherwise incredible dog’s life. CIW found Luna a fabulous home where she is the cherished “one and only” dog in the family.


Grizzly was brought to the Coyote Point shelter by a concerned citizen at just a few days old - he weighed only a few ounces and his eyes were not yet open. He had been found trying to nurse on his dead mother. Word in the neighborhood was that someone had been trying to poison cats, and his mom had succumbed. Due to his young age and low risk of survival, he was slated for euthanasia.


A local rescue group, working hard to further the no-kill movement in the Bay Area, stepped in. Grizzly was small but latched onto the bottle immediately and luckily, after being kept warm and fed every 2-4 hours through the night, began to grow. As he got older, volunteers noticed he would shake when he walked. The vet informed the volunteers that there was nothing they could do - he was trying to walk, putting on weight, and able to feed himself. Just wait and see.


Grizzly was fostered by a dedicated family who nurtured him every day, making sure he was encouraged to do everything a growing kitten should do: play, sleep and eat! As he grew stronger, the shaking began to lessen, finally to the point that now you'd never know he'd had such a rough start at life. While we'll never know if his shaking was residual poison or just a developmental delay, he is a happy and healthy young cat who was adopted into a loving family.


Tulip was a senior girl who lived by her own rules. Cantankerous when she felt like it, she could be equally loving to those who took the time to get to know her. So, when a local rescue organization was contacted by the Coyote Point shelter and told her time was up, they knew they had to act quickly.


Tulip had a long and rough life on the streets before being picked up by Animal Control, underweight and grumpy, she never warmed up in the stressed shelter environment. Once the rescue took her in, she had extensive dental work. Her poor teeth, and the fact that they discovered several old bullets in her body, may have contributed to her grumpiness. But once Tulip realized she was in her forever home where she could be herself, she thrived. Tulip has since passed on due to old age, but she did so with a loving adopter by her side.  


Momma was brought to the Coyote Point shelter along with her five newborn kittens. The person who brought them in had to bring Momma in a humane trap, since they were not able to handle her. The shelter quickly realized that she was feral, and per Peninsula Humane Society policy, Momma and her five babies were slated for euthanasia. A local rescue organization stepped in and took all six cats.


Momma was given a safe space to nurse her kittens, and once they were weaned, she was given her shots, spayed, micro-chipped, ear-tipped, and released back to her neighborhood to live out her natural life, healthy and with no more pregnancies. The five babies went to foster families, and were all adopted into forever homes.

Joey & Middy


Joey and Middy were brothers. They were with their caretaker in her mobile home in Half Moon Bay from the time they were puppies until she passed away when they were 10 years old. It was a very quiet home. The boys were by themselves in the home for several days with their deceased caretaker before being taken to the Coyote Point Shelter. Coyote Point is a very noisy, stressful shelter. The brothers were older and each had a significant heart murmur which had not affected them. The boys were deemed unadoptable and aggressive and were set to be euthanized. Some of their caretakers' neighbors learned what the shelter planned to do and worked to rescue them. One of the neighbors adopted Middy and in due time Companions In Waiting found the perfect family for Joey. The boys have passed away now but both had 2+ wonderful years in loving homes.