Friends of Upland Animal Shelter


Together We Can Save Them All

After successfully operating the shelter at NO cost to the City of Upland for three years, Friends of Upland Animal Shelter's contract may end in July.  Friends has been there for the City since 2010, when the new shelter opened, supplementing staffing and organizing countless hours of volunteer time and resources, monetary donations, and donations of supplies. 

When the City began experiencing financial difficulties and looking for ways to offset the cost of funding of the shelter, Friends offered to run the animal care and adoption function without any compensation from the City.  We took on this responsibility because we were founded solely to support Upland Animal Shelter and want to do everything we can to save every shelter pet.  With the community's support, we have been overwhelmingly successful.

In an effort to be open and transparent, the City Council directed staff to obtain proposals from any organization that wants to operate the shelter.  We believe Friends, the local Upland-based, grass roots organization with a long history at Upland Animal Shelter, should be the organization that is selected to continue operating the shelter.  

How You Can Support Friends


Sign the Petition Here

Get a Yard Sign

  Get your FREE sign at Upland Animal Shelter, 1275 San Bernardino Road, Upland

Get and Distribute Flyers

  Get your FREE Flyers at Upland Animal Shelter, 1275 San Bernardino Road, Upland

Send an E-Mail to the City Council

Write Letters to the City Council

    Send letters to 460 N. Euclid Avenue, Upland, CA 91786

Help Collect Endorsements (Send us an Email)

Come to the City Council Meeting (TBD)

Follow Us on Facebook

Get the FAQs

Read the Press Release

Make a Donation

Why You Should Support Friends

We Have A History at Upland Animal Shelter:  Friends is the community-based, grass roots organization that was formed for the sole purpose of helping Upland Animal Shelter when it opened in 2010 and we have a long history of assisting the City of Upland to operate Upland Animal Shelter.  Even before we formally organized ourselves into “Friends” in August 2011 through May 2016, Friends provided volunteer resources to help with socializing animals, cleaning kennels, providing adoption counseling, and staffing off-site adoptions and special events.  Friends also raised and provided direct funding to sponsor reduced adoption fees and provide emergency and advanced medical and other animal care (i.e., grooming) services to help improve and save lives.  Without the support of Friends during these years, the City would not have been able to provide as high a level of care or save as many animals due to on-going and significant staffing and resource constraints.  In 2015, as part of a Citywide fiscal responsibility effort to save money, the City requested and reviewed proposals from animal welfare groups and selected Friends to operate Upland Animal Shelter in conjunction with the City’s Animal Control Officers.  Friends assumed direct responsibility for all animal care and adoptions at the Upland Animal Shelter at no cost to the City on May 2, 2016. 

We Have Saved the City Money at Our Expense:  Friends has saved the City approximately 40% of their shelter operating budget according to the City Council staff report dated March 11, 2019.  During the the last three years, it has cost Friends over $2 million dollars to operate as an organization and save the lives of 5,653 animals.  Because of the community’s overwhelming support of our work at the shelter and 2nd Chance Thrift Shop, we are fortunate enough to operate with a cash positive balance, but must always be actively fundraising just like any other non-profit organization that is making a difference and contributing to the community.

We Operate With a “No Kill” Philosophy:  Upland Animal Shelter is an “open intake” municipal shelter.  This means all strays must be accepted at the shelter. Over 90% of animals who enter the shelter every year are adopted, transferred to other rescues, or returned to their owners.  At 90%, Upland is considered a “no kill” community and Friends operates under this philosophy.  This means no animal is ever euthanized for space or for medical or behavioral reasons if they can be treated or rehabilitated.  Unfortunately, it is the unowned, neonatal kittens who most often don't survive because they were too weak or malnourished by the time they arrived at the shelter.  That is why we have initiated a Trap, Neuter/Spay, and Return Program for community cats.

We Are Experienced in Operating a Municipal Shelter:  Friends has operated the shelter for almost three years.  We understand the realities of operating a large-scale operation 7 days a week and 365 days a year.  We employ seven (7) full-time and four (4) part-time staff members devoted to animal care compared to the City’s three (3) full-time staff members who handled animal care in 2015/2016.  We have introduced more standardized methods of handling animal health and behavioral issues to make sure animals receive immediate medical treatment and are healthy, happy, adoptable pets.

We Have Maintained Low-Cost Adoption Fees at Our Expense:   Friends spends additional resources in spaying and neutering adopted animals when the City’s in-shelter providers, Western University of Health Sciences and Pet Crusade, are unable to provide these services (i.e., during summer or winter breaks, etc.).  In these instances, Friends spends additional funds for outside veterinary procedures but does not increase the adoption fee to recoup the cost.  This means Friends must raise additional funds to offset this cost to ensure only spayed or neutered pets are adopted in compliance with State law while still maintaining low-cost adoption fees for the community.  These additional costs are separate from the costs associated with providing both routine, advanced, and emergency care for treatable animals and have exceeded our expected contractual responsibilities.  

We Have Introduced New Initiatives and Expanded Hours:  Friends has increased programming with a Kid’s Reading Program, improved behavioral modification and training for dogs, and the initiation of a Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) Program for Community Cats.  In addition, we offered expanded Summer business hours in 2017 and 2018.

We Have Exceeded Our Contract Obligations: While saving the City money and contributing significant value to the community, Friends has also exceeded all of the performance measures in the current contract.  We have fulfilled every obligation, and at times, have offered additional assistance to the City at no charge.  One example is when the City’s Animal Control Officers are in the field or not at the shelter and unable to tend animals, we provide two additional services on a routine basis.  The first service is providing daily care and vaccinations for many of the animals that are on stray hold and under the City’s care.  The second service is working with the Police Department Watch Commander to reunite stray pets with their owners.

We Are a Respected Community Member:  We are a member organization of the Upland Community Foundation and were selected as Non-Profit of the Year by the Upland Chamber of Commerce.

We Participate in Regional Animal Welfare OrganizationsFriends actively cultivates regional and national partnerships with the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, Pet Overpopulation Coalition, San Bernardino County Animal Control Directors, Maddie’s Fund, Shelter Animals Count, and Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.  These partnerships are key to finding additional resources and ensuring we stay at the cutting edge of new animal welfare information and activities.

We Are a Respected Animal Welfare Partner:  We work with Western University of Health Sciences and many local veterinarians who support our efforts.

We Need the Community’s Long-Term Commitment:  For this unique public-private, non-profit partnership to work as a long-term solution for the City, stability and longevity are key requirements.  Issuing frequent RFPs and establishing short-term contracts that do not offer any compensation to the service provider will not serve the City in the long-term.  First, it will discourage organizations from expending time and resources outside their existing operations.  Second, it takes a while for a new organization to take over operations and ramp up.  Third, uncertainty about a future in the shelter has the potential to undermine both an organization’s fundraising ability and its organizational stability that is critical to being able to provide free services to the City. In short, changing a successful service provider, or considering changing a successful service provider, introduces instability, uncertainty, and a distraction for both the City and the service provider that leads to loss of certainty, productivity, community support, progress, and forward momentum.

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