Make a Gift Today &


Who is San Antonio Pets Alive!?

Established in 2011, San Antonio Pets Alive! (SAPA!) is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization created specifically to work in partnership with San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) to reduce the number of dogs and cats killed in San Antonio.

The only organization of its kind in San Antonio, SAPA! has saved more than 70,000 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens. The majority of these animals were slated for euthanasia at ACS. Animals who are often overlooked by other rescues and adopters, are saved by San Antonio Pets Alive!. This includes puppies with parvovirus, neonatal kittens, neonatal puppies, and animals with illnesses and injuries.

SAPA! operates uniquely in that we do not have a shelter. By leveraging partnerships and resources, we keep our administrative costs low to have the staff and tools needed to save lives. SAPA! is the only animal welfare organization with a building and dedicated staff at the city municipal shelter. We do not have to pay rent for this location but San Antonio Pets Alive! Pays the salaries, benefits, cell phone, pet food, supplies etc for operating out of that building. Our Petco Love Adoption Center is free and the administrative office and Medical Care clinic's rent are a nominal amount.

Which pets do you save?

SAPA! focuses on pets that have arrived at the city shelter who have run out of time or options. As many other shelters and rescues pull desirable animals into their care, SAPA! pleads out the remaining animals to our rescue partners, fosters, and volunteers.

Our Building One Rescue Center transition kennels give these urgent animals more time to find safe placement. Our model targets animals that other organizations may not want or may not have the resources to treat or house. Our dedicated foster network supplements the limited kennel and cage space available at our facilities.

How does SAPA! save so many animals each year?

We are a foster-based rescue organization and can save thousands of lives each year due to our foster volunteers and rescue partners. We have more than 1,000 fosters each year.

The number of animals we can save depends entirely on the number of people who open their hearts and homes to foster them. Foster volunteers do not have to be home all day, and one can have personal pets. Many times, four-legged foster siblings help our animals learn how to be a pet.

In some cases, a foster home is needed to help a dog or cat transition from the stress of living at the shelter. For some dogs and cats, they will need to stay in a foster home until they are adopted.

Length of foster care varies based on each animal. Some foster animals may only need your hospitality for a week or two while awaiting transport, and others may require up to three months of care. The length of time can depend on the animal's age, medical issues, and the amount of effort placed into marketing the pet. Most foster animals stay in their foster homes until they are adopted out, so marketing your foster animal is an important factor in length of stay!

How can you help?

We need help from the community so we can continue our life-saving work!

What programs does SAPA! offer?

SAPA! provides the essential programs and services needed to eliminate the killing of at-risk dogs and cats in San Antonio and surrounding areas due to lack of space, adopter, or foster.

Our comprehensive foster program saves lives by providing temporary homes for dogs and cats awaiting placement into permanent homes. SAPA! Provides all medical care and supplies needed for the animals to be ready for adoption. An inclusive adoption program is offered at three separate locations around the city with frequently reduced adoption fees to eliminate financial barriers for people interested in adopting a dog or cat. Applications are required.

Collaborating with animal welfare organizations across the country is essential to save as many lives as possible. We partner with more than 110 animal welfare organizations based in 25 states and Canada, where there is available space. Each year, we aim to transport as many animals as possible safely out of Texas.

Treating approximately 80% of all SAPA! animals, our medical care center provides preventative, routine, and emergency medical treatment and care. We are one of only three Texas shelters that purposefully take in parvovirus-positive puppies. Our clinic houses animals receiving critical medical treatment, recovering from illnesses, and healthy dogs and cats ready and waiting to be adopted.

Are your dogs in your transitional kennels at ACS safe?

No! The Building One Rescue Center transition kennels give ACS animals that were at risk of euthanasia more time to find placement. The majority of the dogs that are in our transitional kennels are still ACS animals. However, we employ nine individuals to work at our Rescue Center and care for these animals, and SAPA! pays for their salaries and benefits.

SAPA! is the last chance rescue in San Antonio pulling dogs that are often overlooked by other organizations. Without SAPA!, the dogs in our transitional kennels would already be dead.

When SAPA! is not able to successfully find a safe place for the dog with a foster, rescue, or adopter, the difficult decision must be made whether to remove the dog from building one to allow another dog additional time. While these dogs are waiting for miracles in the transition kennels, they are not actually “owned” by San Antonio Pets Alive! and are not “safe” until they have a confirmed outcome and leave the ACS campus. We can only provide this temporary refuge with the help of the community (fosters, adopters, and rescue partners), who free up kennel space and allow more to be saved in their place.

Does ACS tell SAPA! what to do with the dogs in its transition kennels?

No. San Antonio Pets Alive! staff determines which dogs, if any, are returned to ACS. It is up to ACS staff to determine the dog's future at this point.

Is every animal spayed/neutered before adoption?

Yes! SAPA! provides a complete medical workup, including spay/neuter for every animal prior to adoption in addition to vaccinations and preventatives. This reduces the financial burden on the adopter and ensures that our animals do not contribute to the pet overpopulation crisis in our community.

What are SAPA!'s funding sources?

SAPA! is funded by revenue from programs, contributions from individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations, and municipal contracts with the City of San Antonio. Most of our funding comes from the many compassionate individuals giving small gifts.

Where do I send donations?

Thank you for your support. Please mail-in donations to P.O. Box 830006 San Antonio, TX 78283 or donate online here.

Are donations tax-exempt?

Yes, we are a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Our EIN # is 45-4141531.

Does San Antonio Pets Alive! intake stray animals?

San Antonio Pets Alive! focuses on the dogs and cats on the euthanasia list at the city municipal shelter; however, we do have an owner surrender program and take in animals from the public depending on available space and other factors. Please contact our foster team on the contacts page for more information or fill out the form here.

I found a stray dog or cat, what do I do?

Before taking to a shelter, please:

  1. Get the pet scanned for a microchip at your closest veterinarian office, pet store, or animal shelter
  2. Take clear photos of the pet and post them on the following online and social media outlets:
    1. Petco Love Lost
    2. Nextdoor
    3. PawBoost
    4. Petfinder
  3. The protocol is different if you find a tiny neonatal kitten. Click here to determine what you should do.

I found a stray animal and couldn't find the owners, what do I do?

Please call Animal Care Services at 311.

What are the low to no cost options for medical care in San Antonio?

Low cost vaccinations



Pet food pantry