Getting to Zero
Lately, conversations have been swirling around San Diego County about “Getting to Zero.” Since this is truly a historic milestone for our entire region, we’ve gathered the main points on what this campaign really means and most importantly– why you should care about it.
What it is.
“Getting to Zero” is the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition’s commitment to reaching zero euthanasia of healthy or treatable* shelter animals in our community. Previously, treatable shelter animals were at risk of euthanasia in shelters due to sheer numbers and limited resources.
With more than 45,000 homeless animals flooding San Diego shelters each year, shelter facilities are constantly full to capacity and their resources are stretched incredibly thin. As such, we do everything they can to help the healthy and treatable animals in our care. But the reality is, we can’t do it all. And we can’t do it alone. No shelter can. It takes collaboration in its strongest form to create the safety net needed to care for so many sick and injured animals.
And that’s what “Getting to Zero” is – a partnership between eight local animal shelters**to prevent healthy or treatable animals from being euthanized in San Diego County. This is truly a milestone for San Diego because it’s the first time in our region’s history that no healthy or treatable animal is at risk for being unnecessarily euthanized. Together, we’re on our way to making San Diego one of the pet-safest communities in the nation. And that’s something we should all be proud of.
How it works.
The impetus of the “Getting to Zero” partnership is transferring treatable animals from full Coalition shelters to other Coalition shelters who may have available space or certain resource to provide the medical or behavioral care the animals need to become ready for adoption. By moving animals through our shelter systems in this strategic way, the risk of unnecessary euthanasia is eliminated and we provide relief to stressed shelters in our system so they can continue providing excellent care to the high volume of animals they’re already helping.
While we are now in the homestretch of “Getting to Zero,” this life-saving campaign has actually been in the works for three years. In 2012, 3,500 treatable animals were euthanized in shelters county-wide. In 2013, the number was reduced to 2,910 by transferring animals with treatable conditions to other Coalition shelters that had the capacity to help. In 2014, that number was reduced to roughly 1,500. As of July 1, 2015, that number will be 0 – and it will stay there.
Why it matters.
Going forward, every healthy or treatable animal that enters a San Diego coalition shelter will be safe.
Gone are the days when an animal’s fate was decided by shelter overcrowding or resource availability. Now, every treatable animal in San Diego County will receive the second chance at health and happiness they deserve...regardless of how complex their needs are or how long their rehabilitation takes.
As a pet-friendly community, this is truly a tremendous accomplishment. As people who are passionate about animal welfare, our goal is to do everything we can to protect the animals who need our help. And now, thanks to the “Getting to Zero” partnership, we can finally do so comprehensively.
How you can help.
We’ve eliminated unnecessary euthanasia in our community, but the incredible amount of work needed to maintain this will never end. This comes with a substantial cost and impact on resources, so community support – in any form – is needed now more than ever before.
Volunteers amplify the impact of each shelter’s work by providing the manpower needed to help more animals.
Donations tangibly strengthen a shelter’s ability to purchase and provide the food, supplies, veterinary care, medicine, behavior training and love to animals in need.
Adoption helps open up more space in shelters for other vulnerable animals to be brought in.
Rescue Partners—stick with us! Just because we’ve pledged to save every adoptable life, that doesn’t mean we can do it without you. Our partners are a significant part of the success of this partnership and we need you now more than ever before.
Please consider volunteering, donating or adopting today. The continued success of the “Getting to Zero” commitment and the lives of so many vulnerable animals depend on it.
*In case you’re wondering, “What does treatable mean?” The word “treatable” describes any medical or behavioral issues that can be corrected with the appropriate treatment. For example, an animal with a broken leg is considered medically treatable since this injury can be remedied with veterinary care.
An example of a behaviorally treatable condition would be an animal that comes in displaying shy/fearful behaviors which prevent normal interaction with humans. This behavioral condition may be treatable through work with specialized trainers so that animals can learn to become comfortable and thrive around people or things that previously scared them.
**The seven local shelters that comprise the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition (SDAWC) are: Chula Vista Animal Care Facility, PAWS of Coronado, Friends of Cats, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, and San Diego Humane Society
Published: August 25, 2015