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About Us

The Pets Alive! Network is inherently different from most animal shelters. It’s one of a kind. It’s disruptive.

It started in Austin with one goal: Create a no-kill community—a community that saves at least 90% of the animals that enter its shelter system. Opponents said “no kill” couldn’t be done. It was too expensive, there weren’t enough homes, the animals weren’t adoptable, and that spay/neuter outreach was the only real answer.

Like most innovators, Dr. Ellen Jefferson decided to think different. The model for San Antonio Pets Alive! (SAPA!) like its sister organization, Austin Pets Alive!, was to do much with very little. It utilized large numbers of motivated volunteers, leveraged online networks, made use of abandoned buildings, and relied on donated equipment ant medicines. The programs, too, were innovative, targeting at-risk shelter populations, such as neo-natal kittens and puppies, injured pets, and pets with treatable medical issues, including parvo.

In February 2011, Austin, Texas became the largest U.S. city to reach a “no kill” status. In 2012, the City of San Antonio asked for Dr. Jefferson’s help in getting San Antonio to do the same. SAPA! Was born, and by the end of 2012, San Antonio’s live release rate increased to 61.6%. By January 2015, the live release had increased to 86%.

In October of 2015, SAPA! Welcomed a new chief executive officer, Drue Placette. Drue brings a wealth of experience in taking innovative organizations to the next level of growth by driving effective team collaborations, recruiting the right talent, improving operations and functionality, and creatively solving problems. An innovative organization needed another innovator at the helm. Steve Jobs celebrated “the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” “[T]he ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world,” he said, “are the ones who do.” When San Antonio reaches “no kill” status, it will be the largest city in the United States to do so.

SAPA!’s Mission Statement: The goal of San Antonio Pets Alive! (SAPA!) is to make San Antonio a No Kill city. We build effective and innovative programs to overcome issues that lead to euthanasia at the city shelter to include adoptions, fostering, Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS), baby-bottle feeding, Kitten Nursery and Parvovirus Ward. We focus on saving the lives of dogs and cats that are already on the euthanasia list at the city shelter as well as providing resources to pet owners to prevent them from surrendering their pets.

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