Dear Friends and Supporters of the San Jose Animal Care Center,
I wanted to inform each of you that the San Jose Animal Care Center is going to be the subject of an upcoming undercover investigative report by the NBC Bay Area News Channel. It was disclosed to us that they have received several ‘undercover’ photos and videos over the years showing some of our kennels that were not as clean as we would want them to be. Some of you may be aware, via our social media posts, that our shelter has been balancing staff resources between saving lives and cleaning cages with ever increasing service levels for quite some time.
Since I was appointed as the Director of Public Works, which includes oversight of the Animal Care Center, I have been learning a lot about my new responsibilities and I am eager to be part of the successful programs at the shelter which are a national model in many cases, as well as to help solve our resource challenges. It is clear to me that additional resources would help us continue to save and enrich lives as well as keep our kennels clean.
Our shelter currently has a 91% animal save rate which is fantastic but it definitely increases the level of service we need to provide. For the shelter to have achieved that status, we have had to hold our animals for a much longer period of time. We save a great many of them via our rescue partner groups, who often take several days to come and pull them, as they have to free up space too. This of course means the occupation of many more cages for the small number of Animal Care Attendants to try and keep up with and clean.
Here’s what I’ve done so far: Last month, I was able to secure some additional money for the shelters budget to help with additional cleaning. Of course, this money does not go as far as anyone would like, but it is beginning to make a difference. Our shelter was able to hire a few additional staff members just 2 weeks ago.
The challenges we face at our shelter are no different than at any other shelter. The only difference is the number of animals that come in and the size of an agency's budget. We have about 18,000 animals who arrive at our shelter annually. It is sometimes true that our animal shelter is not as clean as we want it to be. But our animals are never neglected. They are fed and watered daily. We have 2 full-time veterinarians on staff so they all have medical attention as needed. All our adoptable pets are socialized daily. We have a special team of volunteers who provide daily treat enrichment to our animals 7 days a week. In fact, we offer many great programs at the shelter such as adoptions, low-cost spay and neuter, feral cat trap-neuter-return and our ‘Guardian Angel’ program, which has helped hundreds of our special needs pets over the years with medical issues thanks to our many donors and Supporters.
We are also very proud of our Volunteer program where members of the community can come and help us socialize pets, bottle feed kittens, help in our medical clinics and help with laundry and dishes. In fact, we just rolled out a new volunteer training program to help us keep up with our kennel cleaning. Not only will it help us but it will also benefit people interested in working at shelters or vet clinics gain experience to be able qualify for jobs in the animal industry. In summation, we do a lot of great things!
Unfortunately, this upcoming media story is coming at a time when the funding we've been able to secure is just starting to make a positive difference. We do however, really appreciate the NBC team allowing us to have the opportunity to respond and talk about all the good things we do for our shelter animals and our community.
I am asking for your continued support and understanding as we continuously improve our services. I promise to give it my best effort on behalf of all concerned.
City of San Jose
Director of Public Works