Animal Care and Control Services in San Francisco


San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) is a vital organization that serves the city’s animal population and the community at large. In 2022, SFACC took in over 4,000 animals, including dogs, cats, small animals, and wildlife. The organization plays a crucial role in promoting animal welfare, public safety, and responsible pet ownership in San Francisco.

Key Points

  • SFACC is dedicated to protecting animal welfare and public safety in San Francisco
  • The organization provides a wide range of services, including animal sheltering, adoption, and law enforcement
  • Understanding local animal control laws and services is essential for responsible pet ownership in San Francisco

The Role and Services of Animal Care and Control San Francisco

SFACC’s mission is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all animals and people in San Francisco. The organization is responsible for enforcing animal control laws, providing shelter and care for lost, stray, and surrendered animals, and promoting responsible pet ownership through education and outreach programs.

Some of the key services provided by SFACC include:

  • Animal sheltering and care
  • Pet adoption and foster care
  • Lost and found pet services
  • Animal law enforcement and investigations
  • Community outreach and education

By offering these services, SFACC contributes to public safety and animal welfare in San Francisco, ensuring that animals receive the care and protection they need while also addressing issues related to stray animals, animal cruelty, and irresponsible pet ownership.

Animal Shelter Operations in San Francisco

SFACC operates a state-of-the-art animal shelter facility that provides a safe and comfortable environment for lost, stray, and surrendered animals. The shelter has separate areas for dogs, cats, small animals, and wildlife, as well as a veterinary clinic and isolation areas for sick or injured animals.

When an animal is brought to the shelter, staff members follow a strict intake process that includes a health assessment, behavioral evaluation, and documentation of the animal’s identifying features. Animals that are deemed adoptable are then made available for adoption to the public, while those with medical or behavioral issues receive the necessary care and treatment.

Addressing Lost and Stray Animals in San Francisco

One of SFACC’s primary responsibilities is to help reunite lost pets with their owners and manage the city’s stray animal population. The organization maintains a lost and found database and works closely with the community to locate and identify lost pets.

If you find a lost pet in San Francisco, you can:

  • Check for identification tags or microchips
  • Report the found pet to SFACC
  • Bring the pet to the SFACC shelter for temporary care and to increase the chances of reunification with its owner

SFACC also relies on the community to report stray animals and provide temporary care when possible. By working together, the organization and the public can help reduce the number of lost and stray animals in San Francisco.

Promoting Animal Welfare and Adoption in San Francisco

SFACC is committed to promoting animal welfare and finding loving homes for adoptable pets in San Francisco. The organization offers a variety of adoption programs, including in-shelter adoptions, off-site adoption events, and online adoptions.

To ensure successful adoptions, SFACC provides potential adopters with information about each animal’s personality, health, and care requirements. The organization also offers post-adoption support, including training resources and veterinary care referrals.

In addition to adoption services, SFACC works to enhance animal welfare through initiatives such as spay/neuter programs, vaccinations, and microchipping. These efforts help reduce pet overpopulation and improve the overall health and well-being of San Francisco’s animal population.

Specialized Animal Care and Exotic Animals in San Francisco

Caring for exotic animals in an urban environment like San Francisco presents unique challenges. SFACC is equipped to handle a wide range of animal species, including birds, reptiles, and small mammals, and provides specialized care and housing for these animals.

The organization also works to educate the public about the responsibilities and regulations associated with owning exotic pets in San Francisco. Owners must adhere to specific housing, diet, and veterinary care requirements to ensure the health and well-being of their exotic pets.

In cases where exotic animals are surrendered or confiscated, SFACC collaborates with specialized rescue organizations and veterinarians to provide the best possible care and find appropriate placement for these animals.

Career and Volunteer Opportunities in Animal Care in San Francisco

For those interested in pursuing a career in animal care, SFACC offers a variety of job opportunities, including Animal Care Attendants, Animal Control Officers, and Veterinary Technicians. These roles require a combination of education, experience, and a passion for animal welfare.

Animal Care Attendants, for example, are responsible for maintaining clean and safe facilities, providing daily care for shelter animals, and assisting with adoptions and public outreach events. This entry-level position is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience in the animal care field.

In addition to paid positions, SFACC relies on the support of dedicated volunteers to help with animal care, socialization, and community outreach. Volunteering with SFACC is a rewarding way to contribute to animal welfare and gain valuable experience in the field.

Enhancing Knowledge and Compliance with Animal Control Laws

To promote responsible pet ownership and ensure public safety, SFACC works to educate the community about San Francisco’s animal control laws and regulations. These laws cover topics such as:

  • Licensing and vaccination requirements
  • Leash laws and off-leash areas
  • Pet waste disposal
  • Animal neglect and cruelty

Animal Control Officers play a crucial role in enforcing these laws and investigating cases of animal abuse or neglect. By working closely with law enforcement and the community, SFACC strives to create a safe and humane environment for both animals and people in San Francisco.

Support Services and Emergency Care for Animals in San Francisco

In addition to routine animal care and control services, SFACC provides critical support and emergency care for animals in need. The organization offers a 24-hour emergency response service for injured or sick animals, as well as assistance during natural disasters or other emergencies.

SFACC also operates a foster care program, which provides temporary homes for animals that are too young, sick, or injured to be adopted immediately. Foster volunteers play a vital role in nurturing these animals and preparing them for eventual adoption.

The organization is committed to the humane treatment of all animals, including wildlife. SFACC works with local wildlife rescue organizations to provide care and rehabilitation for injured or orphaned wild animals, ensuring that they receive the specialized treatment they need before being released back into their natural habitats.

Community Engagement and Education on Animal Care

Engaging the community is essential to the success of SFACC’s mission. The organization offers a variety of public education programs and outreach initiatives designed to promote responsible pet ownership, animal welfare, and public safety.

These programs include:

  • School presentations on animal care and safety
  • Community events and adoption fairs
  • Training workshops for pet owners
  • Online resources and social media outreach

By collaborating with local organizations, schools, and community groups, SFACC works to create a network of informed and engaged citizens who are committed to the well-being of animals in San Francisco.


What should I do if I find a lost pet in San Francisco?

If you find a lost pet, check for identification tags or a microchip. Report the found pet to SFACC and bring the animal to the shelter for temporary care. This increases the chances of reuniting the pet with its owner.

How can I adopt a pet from an animal shelter in San Francisco?

Visit the SFACC website or shelter to view adoptable pets. Once you find a pet you’re interested in, meet with an adoption counselor to discuss the animal’s needs and your lifestyle. If it’s a good match, you’ll be able to complete the adoption process and bring your new pet home.

What are the requirements for owning an exotic animal in San Francisco?

Exotic animal owners in San Francisco must adhere to specific housing, diet, and veterinary care requirements. Research the specific needs of the exotic pet you’re interested in and ensure that you can provide the necessary care and attention. Contact SFACC for more information on exotic animal regulations in the city.

How can I become an animal control officer or care attendant in SF?

To become an Animal Control Officer or Animal Care Attendant in San Francisco, you’ll need a combination of education, experience, and a passion for animal welfare. Entry-level positions like Animal Care Attendant require a high school diploma and some hands-on experience with animals. Higher-level positions may require additional education or certifications.

What emergency services are available for pets in San Francisco?

SFACC provides 24-hour emergency response services for injured or sick animals in San Francisco. If your pet experiences a medical emergency, contact SFACC for assistance or guidance on the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. The organization also offers support during natural disasters or other emergencies that may affect pets and their owners.

SF Citizen Team

About the author

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