My three-year-old daughter says hate is a bad word and I try really hard not to let an h-bomb fly. That said, I hate "the pound." The term, that is. It comes from the word impoundment, and dates back to days when shelters impounded tons of animals and very few of those animals left alive. Our world has changed drastically, but the term stuck, unfortunately.
We feel we’ve done our share to live up to the kinder, gentler humane society which is part of our name and has been since the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA was incorporated in 1952. Let me give a few examples.
In the 1970s, our shelter took in 45,000 dogs and cats annually; perfectly healthy and well adjusted dogs and cats were euthanized by the dozens each week simply because we ran out of space. Incoming animals overwhelmed our resources and far outnumbered the people looking to adopt. In each of the past several years, we’ve taken in fewer than 10,000 and we’ve found homes for 100 percent of our healthy, adoptable dogs and cats. By providing low-cost spay/neuter services for three-plus decades, and by employing full-time veterinarians, behaviorists and adoption counselors who “get” customer service, we have completely changed the picture for homeless dogs and cats.
We’re humane in other ways. We never turn away an animal in need, despite the fact that an animal may need significant medical care or behavior work. This includes stray and owner-surrendered domestic animals as well as sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. We employee specially-trained humane investigators who respond to calls about animals being mistreated, and we work with our District Attorney’s Office to see that abusers are punished. And, our Education Department reaches thousands of schoolchildren each year with our important messages; 16 young people ages 9 to 12 are here this week for Animal Camp.
There’s more. We shelter pets belonging to domestic abuse victims so they can leave their abusers and we help other people in crisis, like the dozens of San Bruno residents who needed temporary sheltering for their pets when the horrific gas explosion left them homeless. And, for the past two years, we’ve been working with inmates who live with and train shelter dogs.
Despite all this, we still get “the pound.” I got my dog from the pound in San Mateo. Do you really work at the pound over there by Coyote Point? Someone from the pound gave a talk at my Rotary Club meeting.
In 75 days, this will change. Our people, programs or animals won’t change, but the community’s perception will and this will be good for the animals. In 75 days, the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA is moving many of its programs and people, and all its adoptable animals into a brand new state-of-the-art center 2.5 miles north of the facility at Coyote Point.
The Peninsula Humane Society & PSCA’s Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion at 1450 Rollins Road in Burlingame opens Sept. 10. Inside this 54,000 square foot green facility, dogs will be housed comfortably in 20 dog “dorms,” not sandwiched, side-by-side in chain link kennels which elevate stress levels and encourage barking. Cats, too, will have room to roam in cat condos with lots of glass, no bars. Visitors will have viewing windows into a wildlife treatment room, a kitten nursery and a dog training and socialization room with a retractable roof and one-of-a-kind water wall feature; they’ll catch glimpses of vital work that has been behind the scenes. Front office staff won’t be plopped down on chairs behind a big counter that has all the charm of the local DMV. They’ll be out with the animals and visitors.
Please visit. Visit if you are looking to adopt a new pet. Visit if you adopted a pet from our . Visit if you simply love animals. Visit if you’re curious or if you like interesting architecture. We'd love to see you!