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