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2007 Press Releases

An adoptable dog names Skywalker wears a red tie that spells woof while sitting in the indoor play yard of PHS/SPCA

Free Fixes on Peninsula Humane Society’s “Surgery Suite on Wheels” to Reach 1,000 Mark This August

August 2, 2007 (San Mateo) -- With free spay/neuter clinics scheduled in Pacifica, Daly City, East Redwood City and South of Market in San Francisco during August, the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA’s (PHS/SPCA) mobile spay/neuter program will pass the 1,000 surgery market since first hitting the road in January of 2006.
In late 2005, PHS/SPCA supporter (now Board member) Vanessa Getty funded the purchase of a 26-foot long vehicle, specially designed to house a surgery suite and post-surgery recovery kennels. Later, Getty and a small group of friends formed the San Francisco Bay Humane Friends and committed to funding three years of operational expenses for the program. All expenses -- gas, insurance, staff time, surgery supplies, printing for promotional flyers, etc. -- are paid for by the San Francisco Bay Humane Friends.

Now, at least once per week, PHS/SPCA staff -- led by one of the shelter’s veterinarians -- bring the custom vehicle to a targeted community in San Mateo County or San Francisco and offer low-income and fixed-income residents free spay/neuter surgeries for their pets.  In many cases, these are folks who otherwise would not be able to afford the surgery. More “fixed” animals means fewer accidental litters and fewer unwanted animals at the shelter. And, fixed animals are much less likely to act aggressively and contract forms of cancer.

“It’s wonderful when we have a donor or small group of donors in this case who ask how they can make a difference, then they make it happen,” said shelter spokesperson Scott Delucchi.

In the mid 1970s, PHS/SPCA took in as many as 45,000 dogs and cat per year.  The last few years, the number has been around or below 10,000 – a significant decrease largely due to spay/neuter advocacy and education efforts. The mobile spay/neuter program is further driving down the number of unwanted pets in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties by reaching people who previously could not or would not fix their pets.

The clinic format is simple.  The shelter schedules a series of clinics in one community, then promotes the clinics in the targeted community a few weeks before the first one. Pet owners do not make appointments; they simply drop-off dogs or cats between 8-9 am – first-come, first-served -- and return in the late afternoon for pick-up.  “No strings attached, expect for the little ones our vet uses during surgery,” said Delucchi.

For safety and practical reasons, PHS/SPCA does not accept dogs over 80 pounds or over 8 years old; puppies and kittens must be at least 16 weeks of age and all animals must be vaccinated. Owners, for most clinics, are limited to one pet per family. Pets must fast from midnight on the evening before surgery. Clinic staff give pet owners recovery instructions at the time of pick-up.

PHS/SPCA has been visiting East Redwood City and San Francisco regularly for the past year.  Upcoming Pacifica clinics are set for August 11, September 8 and October 13 and will be held in a parking lot adjacent to the Little Brown House at 1850 Francisco Blvd. PHS/SPCA has chosen Serramonte Shopping Center for the Daly City clinics, and will visit on August 8 and 22, September 12 and 26, and October 10 and 24. The mobile unit will be parked near the shopping center’s electronic message board in the main parking lot.

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No Mid-Life Crisis for Cats Awaiting Adoption at PHS/SPCA
-- Shelter Offering Free Adoptions Through July

May 11, 2007 (San Mateo) –  Beginning today and through July, the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) will be adopting, for free, cats at least 5 years old.  The promotion coincides with what shelters call “kitten season,” the annual spring and summer flood of incoming kittens which leads to adopters bypassing older cats awaiting adoption.

“The idea is to avoid a cat-astrophe,” said PHS/SPCA President.  “As an organization, we take flack for going against convention, but we are consistent in that we look for ways to save lives, which this will do.”

The catastrophe is the lives of middle-aged to older shelter cats during spring and summer months.  They get little or no attention from potential adopters who are drawn instead to cute, bouncy kittens and languish in cages for months, perhaps even longer than a year until they can be placed in homes. Older cats with medical conditions may be euthanized due to a lack of available space.

Some shelters will argue that animals adopted to the public for free aren’t properly valued, while others may contend that people with bad intentions will seize the opportunity to get cats for free.

PHS/SPCA counters that adopting older cats as part of this promotion is far better than seeing cats languish and potentially be euthanized.  Plus, they rely on their staff matchmakers to spot bad matches.

“People with bad intentions will simply not spend the time we require for our adoption process,” said shelter spokesperson Scott Delucchi.

“I know we’ll have to answer to some members of the public, and possibly even some of our own volunteers who question the promotion, but we are clear,” continued Delucchi.   “This is good for animals and will mean we are able to place more into homes this spring and summer.”

Today, PHS/SPCA has a few dozen cats at least five years of age, and another dozen or so awaiting space in the adoption areas.  Kittens continue to enter the shelter population daily.

Unlike the cats advertised as “free to good home” in the paper and online, PHS/SPCA’s free cats come with all the same extras included in all dog and cat adoptions from the shelter: a spay/neuter surgery, license, microchip form of identification, health exam and a post-adoption health assuredness plan.

“That cat advertised as ‘free’ in the paper will cost most people at least $200 if they do what we do for free with every adoption,” said White. “We are aggressively seeking good homes for cats who have at least three or four of their nine lives left.”

PHS/SPCA is open for adoptions seven days per week.  Weekday hours are 11 am to 7 pm while weekend hours are 11 am to 6 pm.  The shelter asks potential adopters to arrive an hour before closing in order to complete the adoption process. Some cats are featured on PHS/SPCA’s website,

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PHS/SPCA Employee Sue Kelly Receives National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association “Lifetime Achievement Award”

March 29, 2007 (San Mateo) – Susan Kelly, Wildlife Services Manager for the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA), received one of the highest national animal welfare honors over the weekend when she was given the 2007 National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association’s (NWRA) Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony in St. Louis.

Kelly has served as PHS/SPCA’s Wildlife Rescue Center manager for more than 16 years and has been affiliated with the department for all of its 32 years. As manager, Kelly oversees all treatments and rehabilitation of incoming sick, injured and orphaned wildlife including ducks, ducklings and geese, hawks, owls, eagles, songbirds and all mammals common to our area.

“This is an incredible honor for Sue,” said PHS/SPCA President Ken White. “And, it speaks to the incredible lifesaving work Sue, her co-workers and our volunteers have done for decades. Because our domestic animal sheltering and adoptions are more visible programs, many people don’t realize the outstanding work PHS/SPCA does on behalf of wildlife.”

PHS/SPCA’s Wildlife Rescue Center, located on the same grounds as the Society’s facilities for dogs, cats and small domestic animals, houses more than 100 animals at a time during peak seasons. PHS/SPCA cares for all wildlife from San Mateo County and many from San Francisco. On average, the shelter’s Wildlife Rescue Center sees a few thousand animals in need of emergency treatment each year. Many are rehabilitated and returned to their natural habitats following stays at PHS/SPCA ranging from a few days to months.

Care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife at PHS/SPCA is not covered under the shelter’s contract with San Mateo County and all cities for animal control services, but is made possible by donations.

PHS/SPCA was established as a private nonprofit in 1952. In 1974, staff realized a growing need to care for sick and injured wildlife and established what was the first wildlife rescue facility at a California humane society.

Since its 1974 inception, the Wildlife Rescue Center has treated more than 110,000 animals and during this time has been the only such wildlife rehabilitation facility in San Mateo County.

The NWRA is dedicated to improving and promoting the profession of wildlife rehabilitation and its contributions to preserving natural ecosystems. It has presented an annual Lifetime Achievement Award since 1984. Kelly is just the fourth Californian to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

PHS/SPCA is always in need of volunteers to help the Society continue its mission of caring for local wildlife. Currently, a few dozen volunteers help four paid staff. To become a volunteer, please call 650/340-7022, ext. 328. To make a donation, please call 650/340-7022, ext. 327.

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Humane Society Offering $1,000 Reward for Info in Stolen Dog Case

March 8, 2007 (San Mateo) – The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who broke into the 12 Airport Blvd. shelter and stole a quarantined dog during the early am hours of January 14.

Anyone with information can call (650) 340-8200 ext 320.

The dog, a black Labrador named Peteie, belongs to Belmont resident Rick Repetti. A day after the dog was stolen, Repetti contacted the media and suggested that shelter staff had euthanized his dog and offered the theft story as a cover-up.

Surveillance footage, now in the hands of the San Mateo Police Department (SMPD), clearly shows a male using bolt cutters to break into a kennel, then leaving the kennel with a black dog. PHS/SPCA can confirm that this is the same kennel where Peteie was being held. The male shown in the footage was accompanied by a female. SMPD is conducting an investigation and hopes to positively identify both individuals.

Even prior to receiving the surveillance footage, SMPD believed signs of a break-in and theft were evident.

“Someone definitely knows something and we will be happy to hand them $1,000 cash for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for these crimes,” said shelter spokesperson Scott Delucchi.

Peteie was being held at the shelter under quarantine for viciously biting a little girl’s face. On December 22, 2006 Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp upheld a decision made by San Mateo County Environmental Services Agency that the dog should be euthanized. Both Repetti’s attorney and Belmont City Attorney Mark Zafferano received the court’s decision the week of January 8, 2007. Peteie was stolen from PHS/SPCA the following weekend.

Since the theft, PHS/SPCA has learned Repetti has chosen not to appeal the court’s final decision.

In dangerous or vicious animal hearings, PHS/SPCA does not make rulings, but is required per its contract with the County and all cities in the County to quarantine animals and euthanize them if a hearing officer or judge orders such action.

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Fix Your Pit for Free March 2 at the Peninsula Humane Society

February 26, 2007 (San Mateo) — The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) will spay and neuter local residents’ pit bulls and pit bull mixes for free on Friday, March 2 as part of the Bay Area Pit Fix Day.

Several shelters around the Bay Area are currently taking appointments for the free surgeries with the goal of curbing the problem of pit bull overpopulation.

Pit bulls are a breed in crisis. Because of overbreeding and careless breeding, the pit bull population is increasing at a time when other breeds’ numbers are under control. Many Bay Area shelters consistently receive more pit bulls and pit bull mixes than they can adopt to new homes. Spaying and neutering pit bulls is vital to reducing this population to manageable numbers.

There are other benefits: “fixed” pit bulls are generally healthier, are less likely to run away, exhibit less aggression toward other dogs, and won't contribute to the tragic pit bull overpopulation problem. Plus, in the great majority of dog bite incidents, the attcking dog is an intact (not neutered) male.

“PHS/SPCA is making the deal impossible to turn down,” said PHS/SPCA spokesman Scott Delucchi. “In addition to giving San Mateo County residents a free surgery for their pit or pit mix, we’re also handing them $10 cash!”

Appointments must be made in advance by calling the PHS/SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic at 650/340-7015. Dogs must be healthy, five years or younger and vaccinated.

For non-San Mateo County residents, please call 1-877-4-PIT-FIX (1-877-474-8349) for the participating shelter in your area.

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