With leashes in hand and shoes laced up, River City Bank joined the Sacramento SPCA at their 2019 Doggy Dash. A beautiful spring day accompanied RCB employees and their families as they came out in full force to show their support. The event drew more than 5,000 participants, and RCB was proud to be one of the largest groups in attendance. The event raised more than $164,000 to help provide direct care and safe refuge for thousands of animals. However, this event is just a small part of what the SPCA contributes to our community. We sat with Kenn Altine, Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento SPCA, to find out more about this worthwhile organization that not only shelters and cares for animals, but one that is also helping people who love animals.
The SPCA has been around for 127 years. How much has changed since they opened their doors in 1892? The SPCA was founded in the late 1800s and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1927. Though the role of the Sacramento SPCA in our community has evolved over the years (from originally being involved in investigating and enforcing laws surrounding animal cruelty cases and complaints), our mission has remained the same – providing homeless animals with individual comfort, shelter, and love. We provide compassionate medical care to tens of thousands of animals annually and offer a variety of programs and services designed to keep people and pets together for life.
The Sacramento SPCA provides more than shelter and medical services to animals. What services do you offer that most folks would be surprised to hear? Most people identify animal shelters as a place where stray and homeless animals are housed and also adopted to new families. While we certainly do house stray and homeless animals, as well as find them new homes, we do give much more than shelter to the animals and people in our community. We serve the entire Sacramento region as a premier provider of low-cost spay/neuter services, collaborating with local rescue groups, feral cat caregivers, those in need, and the public to alter more than 18,300 animals in 2018. Additionally, 16,200 low-cost and no-cost vaccinations were provided to the community, 1,200 animals received low-cost veterinary exams and more than 3,600 sick, injured, and homeless animals found new homes through the shelter’s adoption facility. An active humane education program reaches over 7,000 children each year, and a dog training program gives advice and training to more than 3,000 adults each year. We reach out to seniors as hundreds are visited under the pet-facilitated visitation program, and thousands receive free vaccinations for their pets. Over 800 volunteers augment the care for the thousands of unwanted, abused and injured animals that seek shelter at the Society and help with special events
Where do most of your animals come from? Because we are the only owner-surrender facility in the Sacramento region, the majority of animals housed and adopted through the Sacramento SPCA begin their journey with us after being surrendered by their owner(s). There are many reasons why an individual or family would decide to surrender their animal, most of which are related to housing, veterinary costs, other financial reasons, pet behavior, separation/divorce, or original owner passed away, and the other family members cannot care for the pet.
To help more animals in our region and the surrounding communities, the Sacramento SPCA also regularly transfers animals in from other overburdened shelters. The relocation of these pets not only allows the overburdened shelter to have open kennels for incoming animals but gives the pets transferred the opportunity to find loving homes in a new environment. In 2018, the Sacramento SPCA transferred in 438 animals from other shelters, including animals from the Sacramento City & County shelters, as well as areas impacted by Hurricane Michael and the Camp Fire. So far this year, we have already transferred in more than 300 animals, putting us on track for 600 transfers in 2019.
Besides the Doggy Dash, what other fundraising events happen throughout the year? We host three signature events annually, more than a dozen smaller events, and participate in a multitude of other community partner-hosted events throughout the region. Our signature events consist of: The Doggy Dash 2k/5k walk and pet festival each April, held at William Land Park; our fall gala, held at the Sacramento SPCA (this year on October 26th) and the Jingle Bell Pup Crawl in December (December 14th this year), which begins at Midtown’s Truitt Bark Park in partnership with a handful of local breweries.
We also regularly host “Yappy Hours” at local breweries throughout Sacramento. These are great opportunities for the community to join us with their pup to enjoy brews, food, raffle prizes and fun (including meeting adoptable dogs) – all to benefit the animals at the Sacramento SPCA. In addition, during the summer months, we host several “Splashy Hours” at The Animal Den Pet Resort & Spa, where people and their pups can have fun escaping the summer heat.
What advice would you give someone looking to adopt a pet? If you are like most of us, falling in love with a pet is easy. Pets give us unconditional love and loyalty, and they provide constant companionship. Adopting a pet, however, is a big decision. Dogs, cats, and small animals are living beings that require a considerable amount of time, money, and commitment — more than 15 years’ worth in many cases. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt. Things to consider before adopting would be:
- How much time do you have for a pet?
- Can you afford a pet?
- Can you have pets where you currently live?
- What pet is right for you?
- Other Considerations – Depending on the age and behavior of the animal, can you commit your time and money to support ongoing training? Also, who will care for the pet while you are away on vacation or business?
Why did the Sacramento SPCA choose River City Bank? When we decided to change banks, we had three “set-in-stone” requirements. The first is that the bank had to be financially strong with a track record of managing the accounts and activities of a business. In addition to being a non-profit, we are also a medium-sized employer, run a retail store (our Adoptable Goods thrift store) and have all the accounts payable and receivable associated with any business. Second, we wanted the bank to be local. We are a local organization (not affiliated with the ASPCA or other regional and national groups) and wanted a local partner. Finally, we needed the bank to be invested in the community – not necessarily through donations to animal groups (although that is a plus), but involved in giving their time and their donations to the Sacramento region.
RCB hit all three of those with a proven track record in each, while also aligning with our organization’s mission and core values. While other banks we interviewed offered low or no fees on the services we needed, RCB took the approach of helping us succeed as a business. They also came up with a proposal to help make our money work harder for the animals. We could not be happier with the choice nor the experience we have had as a member of the RCB business family.