And other frequently asked questions
1. Isn’t OAS a city-funded agency?
Yes, Oakland Animal Services receives funding from the city. However, we share city funding with dozens of municipal agencies and in today’s economic climate that means every agency is left with less than they need to operate the way they’d like to. OAS is one of the lowest funded municipal shelters in the Bay Area.
2. But I already donate to the East Bay SPCA―isn’t that the same thing?
We think it’s great that you donate to the EBSPCA! In fact, the EBSPCA is one of our primary partners and we are grateful for the number of animals they take and adopt out. BUT OAS is a LOT different from the EBSPCA.
3. Okay, so they’re two different shelters. But is there really a difference?
Yes — as the city’s open admissions shelter, OAS faces many challenges that other agencies don’t.
- Unlike the private nonprofit EBSPCA and other limited-admission shelters and rescues that can choose which animals to accept, OAS takes every animal that comes through our doors, not just dogs and cats. That means EVERY animal — wild or domesticated, including farm animals and small companion pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. We do not choose animals by breed, health or temperament. Despite that, we work tirelessly to make sure animals in our care get love, attention and every opportunity for placement.
- Because we have local wildlife coming through, we provide wildlife education to Bay Area residents to encourage peaceful co-existence.
- Our Animal Control Officers are responsible for enforcing laws relating to animals, including animal cruelty and neglect, as well as providing rescue to help local animals in distress.
- We provide health and human services as well – licensing ensures that dogs in our community have received rabies vaccinations. We also provide quarantine services and work with the public health department on other vector control matters. We ensure people are reunited with their beloved companions by providing microchips and many more services. We are here for people in the community as well as for animals.
4. I see. So let’s say I want to donate money to OAS…how do I do that and where does it go?
First of all, thank you. We know that it’s a lot to ask people to donate funds to us and there are many others seeking donations as well. But you should know that your donations — money, in-kind donations, or volunteer time — go a long way to enable us to make our guests’ lives as enriched as possible.
Your donations make it possible for us to provide emergency and specialized medical care, toys and treats, behavior assessment and training classes, volunteer program support, transportation of animals to partner adoption groups, and so much more. You can donate to Friends of Oakland Animal Services online or mail checks to P.O. Box 3132, Oakland, CA 94609. You can also drop off a check or in-kind donations at the shelter on 29th Ave during open hours.
5. That all sounds nice, but do the animals really need all these “extras”?
YOU BET THEY DO! Our guests are lucky enough to benefit from our amazing team of staff and volunteers who work to enrich the animals’ daily life in the shelter to help them cope, if not thrive, in the shelter environment and, ultimately, to find homes. But our agency is not funded to provide all the services we want to give the animals in our care. And while some of these “extra” services may sound unnecessary, it’s important to note that OAS placed approximately 84% of the cats and dogs that came through our doors last year, as compared to the national average across municipal shelters, who average 40% for live releases. Without donations, we cannot afford to provide the enrichment that helps our animals so much!
6. Wow! That’s amazing. But unfortunately I don’t have any spare money for donations now…
We COMPLETELY understand — many of us are in the same boat. But regardless of your financial situation, you can still help! We’re always looking for dedicated volunteers to spend time with our animals, organize fundraisers, do community outreach, and so on. And for anyone out there who thinks the city shelter is “too depressing”…we challenge you to come down and meet not only our staff but also our guests — we have a wide array of amazing animals who are full of love and life. They inspire us and we hope they inspire you too.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Oakland Animal Services. We appreciate your support!