Help San Francisco Ban Shock Collars

Two like-minded SF dog trainers—Ren Volpe ( founder and CEO) and LT Taylor (SFACC Behavior & Training Div.)—are on a mission to help enact a city-wide ordinance banning the sale and use of shock collars/e-collars in San Francisco.  The ordinance aims to improve the health, safety, and welfare of dogs in San Francisco and would be the first of its kind in the nation.

Top veterinary doctors and behaviorists agree that using aversive methods like electronic shock collars leads dogs to suppress or mask their outward signs of fear, often causing them to act suddenly with heightened aggression and with fewer warning signs when they feel threatened. In addition, after being repeatedly shocked, the dog may begin to feel unsafe, which can cause them to live in a constant state of fear. As a result, shock collar/e-collar training can make aggressive dogs more dangerous and put the public at risk.

Electronic shock collars are an outdated and inhumane method of animal training and are currently banned in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, the Netherlands, Wales, Quebec, and parts of Australia. New York State is currently considering legislation banning the sale of shock collars. Research shows that it is more effective to train and handle dogs without punishment and aversive techniques.

Pet-related equipment terminology can be confusing. For the purposes of this legislation, a “training e-collar” (also known as a “shock collar) refers to any device affixed to a dog that produces an electric current designed to decrease or change behavior, including electrical stimulation collars and anti-bark collars. This legislation does not apply to GPS collars and attachments (such as Whistle, Fi, or Apple AirTags) used for tracking. Vibrating-only collars (with no shock or stim option) are excluded from the ban and may be used in the training of deaf dogs. If you are confused about the difference between a shock collar and an e-collar, read this article.

In October 2022, the SF Animal Welfare Commission voted to support a proposed shock collar ban and the next step is for an SF Supervisor to sponsor the bill and vote to enact the legislation. To read the draft legislation text and peer-reviewed scientific studies, visit

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Pledge Your Support: If you are in the dog services industry in SF (trainer, pet store, walker, groomer, etc.), add your name to our growing list of supporters.
  2. Call or Email Your Supervisor: Call or write and tell them you support this legislation. Find your supervisor’s phone number and email here.
  3. Lend a Paw: Send us a message if you want to join us in making this a reality.
  4. Sign this petition and spread the word. Share with your dog-loving friends.
  5. Print, make copies, and share this handout.

2022 Halloween Pet Costume Contest

It’s baaaack!

The Friends of San Francisco Animal Care & Control is hosting an online pet costume contest beginning October 1st! We’ve added a new category: Twinning─which means the best match in appearance.

Spooktacular Categories!

  • Best homemade costume
  • Best cat costume
  • Best small animal costume
  • Best group costume
  • Best Twinning costume

Terrific Prizes!

Your choice of either:

  • $50 Chewy gift card
  • $50 Pet Food Express gift card

To enter, DM your photo to @friendsofsfacc on Instagram or Facebook OR email your photo to and you’ll be entered in a chance to win some spooktacular prizes. No entry fee is required.

All submissions must be in by 12 PM on October 30, 2022. Judges will select six winners and they will be announced on HALLOWEEN.

Good luck!

#SFtrickypets2022 #petcostumes #halloweenpets

September 2022

In September, SFACC had 142 adoptions (99 cats,21 dogs, and 22 other species). In addition, the shelter transferred 243 animals to adoption partners (122 cats, 60 dogs, and 61 other species). A total of 385 animals! Thank you to everyone involved in giving these animals a second chance!

 Update: House panther Maru (left) was adopted in January and he even has a buddy to hang out with. “He’s been doing great! Thank you for all the work you folks do!”

Statuesque beauty Liz Taylor went home with a family who recently lost their SFACC alumni bully.

Bonded junior house panthers Jaadoo and Kismet have gone home.

Cutie pie pup Zela has gone home.

Yay! Gorgeous guy Willis went from stray to his forever home!

Small animals volunteer Sharon adopted sweet wee bun Sterling! Hoppy tails!

Adoption update! Sweet elder pig Prubs was feeling blue because she’d lost her lifelong piggie companion. Her person brought her to SFACC to find her a new friend. She hit it off with neutered male Gimlet and home he went. He’s now named Ringo “because of his moptop and gentle goofus face and he’s settled in beautifully…and Prubs is scampering around like a girl again.”

Another update: Empanada is growing up fast, almost 20 lbs now, she is super happy and healthy! Her new name is Poppy (as California Poppy.) See more photos of Poppy here.

Petite pittie girl Doechii has gone home with a canine sibling.

Wow, that was fast! Pufnstuf has been adopted! He’s gone home with one of our dog walking volunteers, who met him on her shift today and fell in love!

Chonky sweetie Alexandra was adopted today. How happy are her adopters?!

Wee pup Sweet Pea was available for maybe an hour before she met her new family.

Chocolate velvet hippo Dunkel has gone home! Looks like he’s pretty happy about it.

Playful cutie Max was adopted today. He’ll have lots of people to play with.

So many cat adoptions and many happy faces, in one weekend! Kittens Jasper & Emerald went home together. House panther kitten Jameson rode home in style. Tabby cutie Mica went home, as did gray sweetie Chia. And kittens Dragonite & Prune met, became new sisters, and went home together.

Pretty pup Dumpling is so happy to have gone home. (Never mind her worried face!)

Darling kitten Bobo has found his forever family.

Longtime resident guinea pig bonded pair French & Toast.

Ashley and Harley

Isabella update

Jaadoo and Kismet

Lorenzo and Giuseppe

Merlin, Winnie, and Munchkin

Merv adopted and now has an older sister.

Woohoo! Puppy Ramen has gone home. Something tells us she’s very pleased.

Kitten siblings Ah Mui & Ah Goh went home with some human siblings! And Ruby went home after being left alone when her siblings were all adopted. Happy tails!

Virtual Coyote Talk

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Keli Hendricks from Project Coyote, SF Animal Care & Control, and the SF Recreation & Parks Department held a virtual talk about the coyotes in our midst, common coyote myths, ways to keep you and your pets safe, what to do if you see a coyote, laws and coyotes, and so much more. A Q&A followed the presentation with questions about coyote behavior in general and SF coyotes in particular.

If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording on Youtube.

For additional questions, please contact

The Nose Knows – Dog Enrichment Sessions

By Carri Lucas
SFACC Volunteer

Enterprising Dog Volunteer Carri Lucas recently started an enrichment program for SFACC dogs and volunteers after taking a class called “Nose Work Enrichment for Shelter Dogs.” She’s been coordinating sessions on Saturdays for several weeks using low-tech resources—empty boxes and shelter treats—and the dogs love it! Thanks to Carri, many volunteers have learned and participated in this stress-relieving activity. Carri shared with us her inspiration for starting the sessions and how it works.

I became interested in enrichment methods for dogs when I took a class here at ACC which was given by a member of our Behavior and Training team, Mary Giuffrida. She taught us ways that we could provide enrichment for the dogs in our shelter with food puzzles that you can make by using egg cartons, cereal boxes, and so on. The game for the dog is to use his/her brain and sense of smell to find the treats hidden in these items and figure out how to get at them. There are many forms of enrichment that dogs can participate in, but Mary’s class showed us things we can easily do in an animal shelter. She opened up a whole new world for me of understanding that all dogs need activities that stimulate them mentally. The added bonus is that play like this can be a stress reducer and even help with behavior issues.

So, when Lauren Taylor from SFACC’s Behavior and Training team told me about an online class titled, “Nose Work Enrichment for Shelter Dogs,” I signed up for it immediately. The course instructor does nose work with dogs at a Southern California animal shelter and I thought maybe we could do this at SFACC. The teacher from the course emphasized that nose work for shelter dogs has many benefits:

  • Enriching because dogs get to express naturally occurring behaviors
  • Mentally and physically exhausting
  • Stress buster
  • Teaches focus
  • Helps prevent behavioral deterioration
  • Fun activity for staff and volunteers

How it works

First, we start all the dogs on something easy: four to six boxes all in a straight line with their tops open. One of the boxes contains a high value treat. That is called the “dirty” box.

The handler comes into the room with the dog and says one word, one time: “Search.”  When the dog finds the box with the treat, we all say “Good dog!” with great enthusiasm.  We then set up the course again, putting the dirty box in a different location in the line. Kind of like a shell game. We run the dog through this course several times until it is no longer a challenge. Then we close the tops of the boxes. When that becomes too easy (the dog finds the treat in the dirty box almost immediately,) we put the boxes with their tops closed into an array and no longer in a straight line. Maybe one on top of another, some on their sides or upside down.

Well, Legend (now adopted) advanced quickly as you can see from this video.

Dogs search differently. Legend is a very methodical searcher. Even after he found the treat in the dirty box, he went back to see that he hadn’t missed anything. And he has a great nose. The first box he keyed on didn’t have a treat in it but we had used it prior as “dirty” box so it still had a scent. That was human error. But Legend was able to triumph over that. He is one smart dog.

Based on NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work) methodology, nose work enrichment for shelter dogs is uniquely successful because the dogs get the perception of having control in an environment where they have very little control of anything. They self-reward.

We have a new nosework superstar: Pink! Lots of closed boxes, a tiny piece of hot dog hidden in one, was no challenge for Pink. Watch her go! Come by and meet this budding genius and all-around sweet dog! She is available for adoption.