California Budget Includes Money to Help Homeless Animals

Dr. Delaney at the Yolo County Animal Shelter

California Budget Includes Money to Help Homeless Animals

UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to Administer Grants and Outreach

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed budget legislation that includes $45 million in one-time support for a statewide Animal Shelter Assistance Program. The program will be administered by the Koret Shelter Medicine Program, at the University of California, Davis, Center for Companion Animal Health. The increase will be used to fund grants and outreach for the state’s animal shelters over a period of five years.

The funding increase reflects the governor’s commitment to providing resources that can help communities realize the state’s long-held policy that “no adoptable or treatable animal should be euthanized.”

Newsom tapped the Koret Shelter Medicine Program to set up a grant process, create and distribute educational materials and perform in-person consultations to help achieve the goals of the policy. He cited the program’s reputation for leadership in the field of shelter medicine and long history of working with California shelters.

“This represents a promise fulfilled for animal shelters and communities, especially those that historically have been under-resourced. As the first academic shelter medicine program in the world, the Koret Shelter Medicine Program is well-positioned to provide the expertise required to earn the greatest return on this investment,” said Michael Kent, director of the Center for Companion Animal Health at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

A $5 million allotment for a two-year pilot project was funded in April. The $45 million augmentation restores the funding and longer timeline of the governor’s original proposal of $50 million over five years that was made in January of 2020.

“We’re honored to be chosen to administer this pioneering program. This truly is a generational investment that has the potential to change the landscape for vulnerable animals and their families in California,” said Kate Hurley, founder and director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

“The additional $45 million allocation not only shows agencies throughout the state just like mine that our sacrifice and dedication is recognized, but also provides crucial fiscal support for programs essential to helping our communities rebuild from this devastating time,” said Cassie Heffington, animal services manager at Tulare County Animal Services.

You can read more about the Animal Shelter Assistance Act. For a history of the governor’s original proposal, see Governor Newsom Proposes $50M Investment to Help California’s Homeless Animals and the California for All Dogs and Cats page at

Thanks to a $51,042 grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, the Koret program also recently launched a 'Behavior, Training, and Enrichment Bootcamp' for animal shelters. The program is expected to launch in the winter of 2022 and will include assessment and training in running a behavior, training, and enrichment program in the shelter setting. These wellness-centric programs are goal-oriented: preserve the mental and physical well-being of animals while in the shelter setting, help improve behaviors in preparation for adoption, and support post-adoption success through behavior support and training. Shelters will learn how to create virtual behavior resource centers that help guardians work through behavior issues instead of surrendering their animals to the shelter.  

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