Best Friends Blog

A great day for San Antonio, Texas

A no-kill San Antonio became an official strategic goal of that city in 2006. To their credit, city leaders have done much more than simply make an empty gesture under pressure and then kick the can down the road like some municipalities. In fact, San Antonio has replaced its 60-year-old shelter and engaged business leaders and the community to flesh out a coherent approach to achieving their goal, but the city has consistently fallen short. However, things are about to change.

Enter Austin Pets Alive

Austin Pets Alive (APA), under the leadership of Dr. Ellen Jefferson, has demonstrated the effectiveness of an independent, high-volume adoption agency in pushing a city over the no-kill hump as they did in Austin. Again, to their credit, city leaders in San Antonio have engaged Austin Pets Alive as a contract partner to develop the all-important adoption, volunteer, and foster care elements for San Antonio Animal Care Services. It will be called San Antonio Pets Alive (SAPA), and the city has committed $200,000 to the effort. The final details of the project were officially approved by the San Antonio City Council on January 19th.

Best Friends sees this public/private partnership, like our own work in Los Angeles, as an important marker for the future of no-kill in this country, and we are backing up that sentiment with a $300,000 partnership grant to help San Antonio achieve the impressive goals that have been set for this partnership. The check was presented today, February 9th, at an official ceremony held jointly with city officials, San Antonio Pets Alive, and Best Friends.

San Antonio has already made a good start, but SAPA will bring the know-how and confidence of Austin Pets Alive’s accomplishments to the table. San Antonio is expecting 4,000 additional adoptions from the arrangement per year, but Dr. Jefferson is thinking more like 6,000 is realistic and very doable.

Some of the signature programs SAPA will introduce are bottle baby and parvo puppy initiatives that have proven highly successful in Austin and greatly reduced the kill rate at Town Lake Animal Center. SAPA will also provide enhanced veterinary support for people who adopt an animal with a minor health issue arising from the stress of homelessness and a stay in the shelter.

Best Friends strongly supports San Antonio’s progressive thinking in engaging APA, and we encourage all of our members and friends in the San Antonio area to get involved with this exciting initiative

For information about how you can help San Antonio go no-kill, please email:


Julie Castle
Senior Director, Communications

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  • Jabachman

    I appreciate the efforts of Austin Pets Alive and Best Friends on behave of the animals of San Antonio.  I am sure they will make a difference.  They must however use their influence to push the city into a real No Kill effort.  They, right now, are just concerned with looking good.  They base their No Kill effort on the premice that they will be at No Kill when the Live Release Rate reaches 70%.  They define every puppy and kitten less than 8 weeks as unhealthy and untreatable.  They are engaged in an enforcement campaign which hassels animal loving people including TNR care givers.  They also have plans to increase their capacity for picking up animals by 10 thousand over the nest couple of years.  Their present interim Director has no experience with animal issues and definately does not fit the definition of Compasionate.  He has made some  progress based on his preoccupation with “numbers”.  That progress is primarily due to the intervention of Austin Pets Alive  and local rescue groups.   Please Best Friends, continue your assistance but do not be fooled by the City Management.  Trust but verify.

  • Stephanie Brown

    What amazing gift!  This is wonderful.  My littlest and newest family member joined us from San Antonio and I am continually astounded by what the city has accomplished.  This latest organization can only bring SA closer to its no kill goal. Way to go!!  Animal lovers everywhere have an eye on San Antonio!

  • Sarah N Nank

    Thank you for your support of SAPA! It means a lot to me and my family!

  • Peg


  • Mitch

    What a wonderful helping hand from Best Friends!  I know someone actively involved in the cause and she is thrilled by your generosity!

  • Patty Alexander

    Today was an amazing day for us and I’m beyond excited to think of all the lives that will be saved with this generous check given to SAPA! Today!

  • Great article, Julie! We are so very proud of the leadership in San Antonio working with Austin Pets Alive! to make the life-saving transformation to a no kill shelter! And we are so thankful for the Austin Pets Alive team reaching out to help other communities achieve no kill. And the support Best Friends Animal Society is providing is both a blessing and a catalyst to achieve no kill. Thanks Best Friends! The no kill momentum is really spreading in Texas and it is our dream that in the not too distant future, our entire state will embrace no kill and implement.
    Pawsitively Texas

  • Reneenank

    We in San Antonio are so grateful for the confidence and support you have given us.  I will take the challenge seriously.  There is a groundswell here, and San Antonio Pets Alive and Best Friends are responsible for a big chunk of that momentum. Thank you for your good work!