Animal care & control

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2001:

The San Francisco SPCA on June 1 announced a 22-position, 10% staff cut and termination of the contract it has held for about one year to provide night veterinary care at the San Francisco Animal Care and Control shelter, both effective on July 1 as part of a 15% budget cut. The budget cut was reportedly the first for the SF/SPCA in more than 20 years. Critics of SF/SPCA president Ed Sayres noted that the cuts closely followed recommendations issued by former SF/SPCA operations director Nathan Winograd in an October 27 memo to SF/SPCA vice president Daniel Crain.

Winograd, who resigned from the SF/SPCA two weeks later, now heads the Tomkins County SPCA in Ithaca, New York. Sayres acknowledged to ANIMAL PEOPLE that taking over the SF/ACC night care contract from Pets Unlimited of Pacific Heights “required significant investment on our part that we hoped to recapture by opening to the public for emergency services in late 2000. As it turned out we could not integrate the projected public night cases into the hospital because we are full with the daytime case load. So we had to take a step back and return the contract to Pets Unlimited until we complete the expansion of the hospital and training center” that Sayres has been advancing since his arrival.

The expansion plan was drafted but not fulfilled under Richard Avanzino, the SF/SPCA president from 1976 until 1999. Avanzino now heads Maddie’s Fund. Sayres said the budget cuts were “sensible,” since SF/SPCA investment revenues fell 25% in 2000, and “the economic forecast is cloudy at best, affecting our endowment value and projected return on the endowment. I expect annual donations may be affected down the road,” Sayres added, “as most nonprofit sector analysts are forecasting.”

Maddie’s Fund, encouraged by the runaway success of a California Veterinary Medical Association feral cat neutering program which as of May 2001 had fixed 82,000 cats in 20 months, on June 22 announced a grant of $610,000 to the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association to start a similar program for the pets of low-income residents of Alabama. “As goals are achieved, Maddie’s Fund will make approximately $2.5 million dollars available to the project,” the announcement explained. Facilitated by the Alabama Humane Federation, Maddie’s Big Fix, as the project is called, is expected to sterilize 10,000 animals within the first year and 30,000 within the second. Pet caregivers will be charged $5 per cat surgery
and $10 per dog surgery. Maddie’s will pay $45 per cat surgery and $70 per dog surgery. The project is Maddie’s first venture into the South.

University of California at Davis professor of reproductive biology Irving Liu and researcher Barry Ball have begun a $250,000 study of the potential of a drug combining synthetic
gonadotropin-releasing hormone with an anti-viral protein derived from pokeweed as an injectible sterilant for dogs. “Eleven male dogs on the U.C. Davis campus got test shots last fall,” reports Sacramento Bee science writer Edie Lau. “Based upon blood analysis, the shrunken size of the dogs’ testicles, and their relatively passive behavior, akin to castrated males, Ball says the shot shows promise. Liu and Ball will expand the study using more dogs this summer, working with collaborators in Italy and Spain.”

“I just received an emergency communication from Michael Smith, DVM, president of Turks & Caicos Veterinary Associates, concerning the proposed introduction of canine distemper to the island of Providenciales to control the wild dog population,” Spay/Neuter Assistance Program founder Sean Hawkins e-mailed to ANIMAL PEOPLE on June 18. “SNAP has been working with the Turks & Caicos government for months to develop a massive trap/neuter/return program for the island. We have secured volunteers and funding, but
it seems the tourism department does not feel it will produce the desired rapid reduction of dogs. The introduction of distemper is a horrific end, causing immeasurable suffering, to a problem that can be humanely solved with spay/neuter.” Get update info and how-to-help from Hawkins at <SHawkins@Snaptx.org>.

DeKalb County, Georgia, on June 18 announced that it would no longer provide dogs and cats to the Emory University School of Medicine. “Although the county animal control department has not provided any animals to Emory since October 1999,” county CEO Vernon Jones said through a press release, “the formal separation allows the county to contract with a local veterinarian who will provide other services that were formerly provided by the School of Medicine’s animal resources division.”

“Animals on highways caused 2,171 crashes in 1999, leading to 685 injured people and four human deaths,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesperson Lt. Chris West said in May. “The still incomplete 2000 figures show that animals venturing in front of vehicles caused at least 1,612 crashes, leading to 572 injuries and 10 human deaths.” Get the ANIMAL PEOPLE roadkill avoidance tip sheet free at <www.animalpeoplenews.org>, or request it c/o
<anmlpepl@whidbey.com>

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