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Electronic shock collars are an outdated and inhumane method of animal training and are currently banned in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, the Netherlands, Wales,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

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

Bubbles & Brunch Reception to Thank Major Donors

“Hi…hi…hi”  A lovely parrot visiting with Mike Reed from Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, greeted guests as they came through SFACC’s door to attend a reception on June 18. Hosted by the Friends of SFACC the reception was held in appreciation of major donors who contributed to the new building fundraising campaign. On the rooftop, everyone enjoyed made-to-order crepes and chilled mimosas, and mingled with board members, SFACC staff and volunteers, bunnies, and dogs.

Meanwhile on the second floor, visitors learned how to make a dog toy, cuddle with a guinea pig at Guinea Pig Village, and have the pleasure of experiencing a parrot on their head. In a presentation and Q&A with Officer Stephanie Pone, guests learned about the breadth of shelter services and especially the work of Animal Control Officers. Everyone had a nice time and it was a fun way to spend a sunny morning and say thank you to supporters.

The Friends of SFACC is also purchasing canopies to help shade the upstairs rabbit run. The canopies will reduce the heat and allow for more small animal playtime on the roof. Thank you Friends!

The Friends of SFACC: Development and Communications Director McKenzie Joseph (second from left); board members (L-R) Alex Lin-Goldsmith, Lauren Weston (chair), Leah Wilberding, Kristina Kaiser, and Tim Tandun. (Not pictured are board members: Remy Savin and Ian Fraley. Ian poured mimosas for guests and hung out with ACC dog Stilton.) 

More photos from the event, by Garrett Minnie…

Convicting Animal Abusers: Charlie’s Case Study

By Lead Animal Control Officer Rebecca Fenson #22, CACO

Remember the Brian Cook case involving Charlie, the sweet Golden Retriever puppy? In January 2022, Cook was charged and pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and neglect, a misdemeanor. The word got out (including a great TikTok video!) and reached the University of San Francisco School of Law. Matthew Liebman, Associate Professor and Chair of the Justice for Animals Program invited former Assistant District Attorney Paige Zielinsky (who prosecuted the case and has since left the DA’s office) and me to speak to his law students and give them an inside glimpse into how SFACC’s Animal Control Officers (ACOs) investigate crimes-against-animals cases and then present the cases to the District Attorney’s office.

Professor Liebman specializes in animal law and was teaching a seminar about whether animals are entitled to justice and how such an entitlement intersects with human social justice struggles. Paige and I were invited to speak to the students in late March on a day when they were exploring the relationship between animals and the criminal justice system, and discussing how restorative justice principles might be applied in animal cruelty cases. He specifically asked us to share how the Cook case was investigated and prosecuted.

Paige and I put together a Power Point presentation and I spoke first, describing the work we do at SFACC and in Field Services, and then explaining how we investigated the case and created a case file to bring to the DA’s office. I talked about the challenges of this case (for example, we found no direct evidence, just piles of circumstantial evidence), Cook’s demeanor as the investigation progressed, and how this case differed from the other cases I’ve handled. For example, Cook was consistently taking his injured puppy to the veterinarian and paying for all of the recommended treatments. This was unusual because one of the most common violations we see when we respond to and investigate cases of abuse or neglect is that the animal (usually a puppy or adult dog) is suffering from a medical condition such as Parvo, a severe skin condition, a broken leg, or is emaciated, and is NOT taken to a veterinarian. Also unusual was the fact that Cook was consistently cooperative and polite (later this absence of emotion and his odd detachment was creepy and weird, but the lack of hostility was initially surprising).

After my chronological summary of the investigation, Paige talked about the post-investigation criminal prosecution. Her topics included charging, discovery, arraignment and plea, offer and negotiations, diversion (Diversion is when the case is diverted out of the court system and into Neighborhood Courts, which doesn’t offer a “no animal” condition and is often dismissed with no record—we didn’t want that to happen for this case), and the case disposition.

We could have talked longer, there was so much to this case, and not enough time for a Q&A. Paige and I communicated afterwards and agreed that we made a great team and really enjoyed working together on the case. And, even though she is no longer with the DA’s office, she will assist us in any way she can in the future.

Later, Matthew said that he and the students learned a lot. It was rewarding to talk to such a perfect audience—young people who are interested in seeking justice for animals through the law. I was very happy to connect with Matthew, who is as committed as I am to helping all animals, and we plan on talking again in the future about our work.

To view the Cook Investigation and Prosecution presentation, click Brian Cook PPT.