Progress toward California for All proposal for animals

By Julie Castle

Tuesday was a historic day at the California state Capitol. It was the first budget hearing in which lawmakers discussed Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal called California for All Dogs and Cats. The proposal aims to ensure that “all California communities have the resources to make the state’s goal that no healthy or treatable dog or cat is euthanized in an animal shelter.”

This is a really big deal.

I joined other animal welfare leaders from around the state to urge the legislature to approve Governor Newsom’s $50 million, five-year proposal. Why are we so excited about it? Because it includes funding for participating animal shelters, as well as the most current research and management models, interactive group training and a robust resource library. It will be overseen by the highly respected UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. California has long been a national leader in animal welfare, and we’re thrilled that the state is leading once again with this unprecedented initiative.

California is key to reaching no-kill nationwide by 2025

California will always be special to us at Best Friends because it was our first brick-and-mortar expansion outside of our founding sanctuary in Utah. We’re proud to be in Los Angeles, to work in every part of the state and to partner with shelters all working toward the same goal.

Right now, more than 100,000 dogs and cats entering California’s shelters are killed each year simply because they don’t have safe places to call home. The only state killing more animals in the entire country is Texas. This is a solvable problem, and that’s what we aim to do: Solve it. California has long been in the forefront of animal welfare and the no-kill movement, and the California for All proposal has the power to make no-kill possible — finally.

Unified effort for California’s animals

Part of what was so cool about the day at the state Capitol was to see everyone working together toward the same goal. Not only was Best Friends there, but leaders from shelters across the state, from San Diego to Sacramento. We all talked one-on-one with state lawmakers, answering questions and sharing information about the challenges the state’s shelters have faced for decades.

Ultimately, lawmakers will be the ones to vote on the proposal. There are a couple upcoming budget hearings, when the issue will be front and center — one in the state Senate (March) and one in the state Assembly (April) — with final budget approval in June. The time for public support is now. So, we capped off the day with a press conference held in conjunction with World Spay Day and featuring adoptable dogs from Front Street Animal Shelter and hundreds of stuffed dog and cat toys.

Best Friends’ rallying cry is “Together, we will Save Them All.” This is what together looks like in California.
If you’re a California resident, you can show your support for the proposal by sending a message to state lawmakers.

To sign up to create a better world for animals, join our 2025 Action Team.


Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society