This year, we have had more Code Red days than in my four years at San Antonio Pets Alive! (SAPA!). SAPA! defines a Code Red when 25 or more dogs are being released to euthanasia by San Antonio Animal Care Services in one day. As soon as we learn from San Antonio Animal Care Services that 25 or more dogs will be euthanized, we follow our Code Red protocol and we move into action. All staff are notified, we prepare a news release and distribute it to all local media outlets, we post on our main Facebook page, we notify our fosters, we notify all supporters, we notify our Rescue Partners and we each begin making phone calls to fosters for help. This week (Monday to Friday) a total of 127 puppies and dogs were scheduled to be euthanized due to capacity and lack of safe outcomes. SAPA! was able to help 56 of those puppies and dogs from being euthanized. 42 dogs were placed in our Rescue Center transitional kennels, seven were tagged by partnered rescue organizations, and seven found placement through our foster program.
The reality is that the dogs are coming in faster than SAPA!, and our Rescue Partners, San Antonio Animal Care Services, and other local rescues can get them out safely. SAPA! made a promise nearly ten years ago to the community that if no other population entering the City Shelter would be safe, the puppies would be. We have been able to stay true to that promise to the community for ten years. However, for the first time, puppies are at-risk and we need the community’s help to ensure their safety. We have very few kennels to house puppies and dogs and every single kennel we do have is full – we have even moved dogs to a private boarding facility to save their lives.
Many of the dogs entering the city shelter are not altered and not microchipped so their chances of making it back home are slim. If you are thinking about adopting a pet, now is the time. If you aren’t fostering, please do so. If you can volunteer, we can use your help. If you find a pet, please try to find it’s owner. Taking dogs to San Antonio Animal Care Services needs to be the last resort, not the first.
Rebecca Mayberry, Executive Director
San Antonio Pets Alive!