Animal Care celebrates 20th anniversary

July 1, 2009 4:13:00 PM PDT
San Francisco Animal Care and Control celebrated its 20th anniversary Wednesday by dedicating an off-leash park to its outgoing director, who helped found the agency in 1989, department spokeswoman Deb Campbell said.

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The off-leash park adjacent to the center, located 1200 15th St., was dedicated as the Carl Friedman Municipal Shelter Park.

To mark the milestone, the department is also offering 20 percent discounts on all animal adoptions, and adopters will receive free pet supplies and special prizes such as gift certificates to local businesses, Campbell said.

Campbell said the department has been hit by a double whammy caused by the slowing economy, Campbell said.

City agencies have been asked to cut back financially. "We've been looking at ways to raise money and ways to cut expenses, which are pretty bare bones to begin with," Campbell said

At the same time, the department is handling an increase in animals surrendered by owners who can no longer afford to pay for them, she said.

However, there has been an upswing in volunteer numbers, so "the animals are getting a lot of help," Campbell said.

Rebecca Katz was named interim director of the department after Friedman's departure.

Since San Francisco Animal Care and Control opened on July 1, 1989, it has handled many unusual animals, including a circus bear, a tank of piranhas, venomous snakes, a herd of sheep and various primates.

The department once cared for a horse and donkey that a man wanted to bring along on a pilgrimage from San Francisco to Jerusalem. He was stopped before he even left the city, and law enforcement officials convinced him to end his quest, Campbell said.

An anniversary celebration was held at noon today at department headquarters. The discounted adoptions will last until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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