“This really will be a new day for California”
– Dr. Gary Michelson, Philanthropist & Founder of
Michelson Found Animals Foundation
Gov. Gavin Newsom is ready to uphold California’s role as a bellwether state on many important national issues, including animal welfare. In a bold move Newsom’s 2020-21 budget offers a one-time $50 million fund to the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to develop a new grant program. According to the budget summary, the goal is to help local communities “achieve the state’s policy goal that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat should be euthanized”.
“We want to be a no-kill state,” Newsom said during a press conference.
Dr. Michelson has been an advocate for shelter animals for over 15 years. He launched the first free national microchip registry in 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Michelson Found Animals Foundation has grown to operate a range of lifesaving programs including adoption centers, national animal welfare grants, and several robust thought leadership initiatives – all of which help put pets in good homes and keep them there.
According to Dr. Michelson, this moment signals a national shift in perception of animals.
“This really could be a new day for California. It is reflective of the evolving consciousness around these precious animals who have had the misfortune of ending up in municipal animal shelters. They deserve loving homes – not to have their lives ended. When we open our hearts and homes, they give everything in return.”
The program’s success rests in experienced and capable hands. Dr. Kate Hurley has led the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program as Director for 15 years, helping make significant advances in animal welfare in CA. Hurley shared that the Koret Program will work with approximately 100 local shelters, prioritized by need. Over the next five years, the program will provide much needed spay and neuter services, support pet owners struggling to care for their animals, and help ensure that facilities that serve animals are safe and physically sound.
Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion in Legislation, an animal activist group that has lobbied the California Legislature on several laws, offered her support.
“I’m thrilled that Gov. Newsom wants to put funding toward stopping the euthanasia of dogs and cats in California shelters. That has been going on way too long without any attention being paid.”
She also shared specific ways California can bring down euthanasia numbers.
“If the money goes to spay and neuter, microchipping, then yes, we’re on the right track. And then promoting adoptions. This is not rocket science. There’s only a few things that will alleviate this pet overpopulation. And that is controlling how many animals are born.”
Together, policymakers, animal welfare organizations, and individuals are making monumental improvements in the lives of animals in California – and soon, we hope, across the country.