There are a few more days left to see the exhibition A Dog's Life (With a Special Appearance by Cats) in the Skylight Gallery of the Main Library. A companion piece to the main exhibition is New Donation to the San Francisco History Center Archives: San Francisco SPCA Records. In December 2009, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) donated 30 cubic feet of the organization’s archives to the San Francisco Public Library. On display is a small sampling of the myriad materials given by the SPCA. The selection focuses on dogs in honor of the exhibition A Dog’s Life (With a Special Appearance by Cats). Included in the case is a 1903-1904 Record Book of animal abuses; the SPCA publication Our Animals from 1946; ephemera – brochures, manuals, and membership booklets; and photographs. The photographs document the ambulances used to rescue dogs and cats, the 1986 Pooch Parade with special guests Mac and Mutley, the Dogs for the Deaf program posing with SPCA’s first computer and the Summer Camp program in the 1990s.
Founded on April 18, 1868, the San Francisco SPCA was the nation's fourth humane society. The organization was founded by San Francisco banker James Sloan Hutchinson. In 1884 The SF/SPCA built the first horse ambulance in the West. It rescued hundreds of horses during the devastating 1906 earthquake and built watering stations for workhorses in burned-out areas of the city. It also established a "pensioners’ fund," so former Fire and Police Department horses could retire to country ranches.
In 1905 The SF/SPCA assumed responsibility for animal control services in San Francisco which it maintained for the next 84 years. Throughout the 20th century, The SF/SPCA introduced pioneering programs and services that continue today, here and at other organizations that replicated its progress. Currently, in partnership with San Francisco Animal Care and Control, The SF/SPCA has made San Francisco the nation's safest city for homeless cats and dogs.
The SPCA supports over twenty programs and services. The Hearing Dog Program developed in 1978 and was designed to train homeless dogs as service animals and place them with deaf or hearing-impaired guardians. The Summer Animal Camps, one of the many Youth Programs, includes animal care and behavior learning activities, hands-on interactions with animals and discussions with animal experts.
The collection is also highlighted in the May 2010 issue of At the Library.
Images courtesy of the San Francisco SPCA Records, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.
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