UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program chosen by Gov. Newsom to lead animal shelter initiative

gov. Gavin Newsom signed budget legislation which includes $45 million for the Animal Shelter Assistance Program to be administered by UC Davis

By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org

The Koret Shelter Medicine Program (KSMP) at the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health has been chosen by Gov. Gavin Newsom to direct a five-year project aimed at improving the lives of at-risk animals and providing support for shelters statewide.

Newsom signed budget legislation for the project known as the Animal Shelter Assistance Program in 2021, which includes $45 million, an augmentation of $5 million allotted earlier in the year. The program was enacted to stand by the state’s policy goal that “no adoptable or treatable animal is euthanized,” according to the Animal Shelter Assistance Act.

“What’s really important is that the shelter medicine team has always been very accessible and inclusive in their consults with animal shelters and really works with groups on solutions,” said KSMP California State Director Allison Cardona. “It shows that the state of California recognizes that work and trusts us to be stewards of this funding.”

The Animal Shelter Assistance Act states that the program should provide resources based on assessments and training to prevent animal cruelty as well as administer a grant program to aid shelters in the implementation of best practices.

“The University of California houses the nation’s premier animal sheltering research, service, and teaching program,” Article 6.4 of the Animal Shelter Assistance Act states. “The shelter medicine program at the University of California, Davis promotes a welfare-centric, life-saving approach to the management of animals in shelters, focused on prevention and grounded in science.”

The program serves as a way to track the stability of animal shelters and connect them to others in the state, according to Cardona.

Grant opportunities and applications are listed on the California For All Animals site. Along with the application, there is a questionnaire for shelters that will indicate where the greatest need is within the state.

An online launch party was held on Feb. 14 to accompany the opening of the first round of grants. Newsom made a special online appearance in support of the launch and thanked the UC Davis team for leading the initiative.

“Four years ago we pledged that all California communities would have the resources they need to ensure that no healthy or treatable animal dies in a shelter,” Newsom said in the online launch party. “I’m really proud that California is following through on these promises, and I’m confident together we can meet the goal of finally becoming a no-kill state.”

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org