To our many donors and supporters –

This past year was one of the most challenging any of us has endured. But you were there for the animals in our community in 2020. Despite the pandemic, you made so much possible. This is just a sampling. 

The Front Street Animal Shelter always remained our priority, but it’s not all we did for animal welfare in our community. Our generous donors and supporters made many things happen to create and maintain a healthy human-animal bond.

We funded any medical care needed for sick and injured animals that arrived at Front Street. Our 2020 budget for medical care of shelter and other animals was $50,000. When we blew through that, we increased it to $100,000. We have given Phillip Zimmerman, the shelter manager, authority to use the funding as needed. Cost is not a barrier to get the care shelter animals need.

To make it easier for rescues to pull the shelter’s more challenging dogs, we made cash grants to rescues to help with medical or behavioral expenses. We granted $7,000 to Fosters & Paws alone for pulling a dog with serious medical issues. We made grants to other rescues that are heroes in our book for taking unadoptable dogs who need medical or behavioral intervention before they will be adoptable, including Scooter’s Pals, Nor Cal Animal Rescue Friends, and NorCal Border Collie Rescue. We even made a cash grant recently to Funky Chicken Rescue to save and treat a rooster.


We spent several hundred dollars every month before and during the pandemic buying a special food, Royal Canin’s Mother and Babycat, for foster volunteers who take in feral mothers and kittens.

We paid the expenses of volunteers who transport Front Street animals to other shelters, to rescues, or to their owners. In a recent case, volunteers transported a dog to his owner in New Mexico who lost him six years ago in Davis. The cost for gas, meals, and hotels for the 2400-mile roundtrip was more than $800. We’re paying the expenses of volunteers taking dogs to their forever homes in Yreka and Seattle.


Some of the other help we provide may seem fairly mundane. Two years ago, we helped purchase a modular building for additional office space. When Gina Knepp, our now-retired shelter manager, first realized that the ramp where dogs walk up to the foster office is ungodly hot in summer, we spent $30,000+ for a shade structure and bought a special coating that reduces the temperature of the surface. Because of delays getting city approval (that finally took an appeal to the mayor’s office for help), we didn’t incur that expense until this year during the pandemic

We are off to a strong start for 2020. Though the COVID-19 crisis has caused us to cancel Brewfest, our largest annual fundraiser, and imperils our second largest fundraiser, Paws to Party, our community stepped up in a big way to support us on the Big Day of Giving. Donations to the online fundraiser on May 7 topped $158,000, more than twice the amount of donations in any prior year.

We learned in June that a grant ran out that had been paying $129 a month for a PODS storage container where volunteers repackaged donated dog and cat food for the pet food pantry. Rather than keeping up that payment, we spent $7,000+ for a fully insulated shed with windows for cross ventilation, providing a more hospitable environment for volunteers. We also took on the responsibility to buy food for the pet food pantry when donated food runs low so we don’t turn away pet owners in need of food for their pets.

Early on after the governor enacted stay-at-home orders, we became aware that a number of our feral cat and kitten volunteers were continuing to rescue abandoned kittens, but without the support that area shelters usually provided. They worried about the costs to spay and neuter the kittens when those services opened again. We budgeted $10,000 to cover the costs of spaying and neutering the kittens and reimbursed the foster volunteers when they were finally able to get the kittens fixed.

In August, we worked with the Rio Linda Feral Help Group to bring the Elevation Animal Rescue Mobile Clinic to Rio Linda for several weeks. Friends also paid $8,600 to spay and neuter 311 cats and kittens.

We spent over $1,000 for dog coats so pets belonging to the homeless would have some protection against the cold. A fabulous community activist who works with the homeless and their animals distributed those coats.

At the request of Loaves & Fishes, we spent almost $2,000 for flea collars for dogs and cats belonging to the homeless. We also budgeted money for vaccinations and medical care.

We donated to organizations that are doing good for animals in our community, including $10,000 each to the Community Spay Neuter Clinic and the Coalition for Community Cats. We also paid for a free Feral Cat Free Spay/Neuter Day in the new year at the Community Spay Neuter Clinic.

Friends continued to pay for necropsies for animals whose death is suspicious. This provides critical evidence for the DA’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit to investigate and prosecute animal abuse and neglect.

We spent more than $1,000 so seven of Sacramento’s Animal Care Officers could meet standards under California’s Certified Animal Control Officer Standards Act, including training in animal care to properly identify disease, injury, and neglect in pets and livestock.

All the while, our nine-person board of directors along with our shelter’s manager, donated $5,000 to a matching fund for the Big Day of Giving, and another $5,000 matching fund for Giving Tuesday. Several of our board members have contributed or are responsible for bringing in several thousand dollars each to Friends just this year.

We are always on the lookout to help the greater community. If you have ideas to improve animal welfare in our community in 2021, we would like to hear them. Just saying thanks is not enough to express our gratitude (and the gratitude of the animals) for all you’ve helped us accomplish in 2020!