Guest Opinion | February 14, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - February 14, 2014

Guest Opinion

The best for our best friends

This story contains 1011 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a member, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Membership starts at $12 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Join

Joanna Tang is a senior at Gunn High School and youth board liaison from Gunn to the Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter.


Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 16, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.


It is very easy to feel discouraged about the vast number of issues involving wildlife and pets, and worry about the welfare of animals in so many areas. So, it was a great treat to read your piece on the impressive improvements taking place at the Palo Alto Animal Shelter. Thank you for your involvement and the remarkable work of everyone at PAAS, as well as the involvement of youth in the community and the key use of social media. You sound like a wonderful young woman and I applaud you and wish you all the best in fighting the good fight for the animals.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

It is too bad that PAAS has a spotty reputation amongst other animal welfare organizations in the know. Some of their euthanizations of dogs have been questionable, for example. They don't have the volume of animals, nor the demand on its office staff that PHS or HSSV in Milpitas have. Does Palo Alto *really* need a state of the art shelter for its low volume?

I understand that this opinion was written by a young person, but please note that the HSUS has a lousy track record in many regards. They've leaned heavily toward animal rights, not animal welfare, rescue or real advocacy. Its behavior during Hurricane Katrina was pretty bad. And Best Friends? Best Friends is in a whole different category than PAAS. It's not that they can't be an inspiration, but they're unlikely to be the best model.

Since PHS has taken over the wildlife rescue efforts of Palo Alto and will be opening a wildlife area in the South Bay, and HSSV's new shelter made a big splash, maybe Palo Alto should consider teaming up with either, or both of those organizations to be an outpost along the bay. Oh, wait, that'd be hard because PAAS is still stupidly under the umbrella of law enforcement. Historically, most animal shelters run by law enforcement get the short end of the stick, as PAAS does. By & large, the people of PA have spoken - an animal shelter run by the cops is the cheapest way to run it. If PAAS really, really, really wants to change, than who runs it absolutely needs to change.

There have been too many people in Palo Alto historically that either don't care or are against spending big money on an improved shelter - which is another reason that it's run by the cops. I'm glad that so far they have been drowned out by those who care and put their time, money and efforts where it matters, but the changes need to be deep, a whole paradigm shift, if indeed they want to model state of the art animal welfare organizations. After all, those organizations shifted first in their thinking before any architect drew up plans. I recall HSSV at its old location and when their thinking shifted into its current philosophy, and ditto PHS. It's this shift in thinking that is crucial, and saves lives, which is how the evolution to cage-free environments occurs.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

VERY thoughtful perspective on this, Hmmm, thank you. You've certainly inspired me to delve more deeply into the situation.

Posted by Palo Alto Homeless Dogs
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

We just became aware of this blog post. There is a group of us pet owners in Palo Alto that are submitting app proposals to the Palo Alto Hackathon. All of our proposals are centered on improving the welfare and adoption of homeless pets at the Palo Alto Animal Services shelter. We would love to make contact with like-minded residents. You do not need to be a programmer or technologist. Proposals are due in two days! Friday Feb 28 at 5pm.

More info about the hackathon at and Twitter @hackpaloalto

More about us at
Twitter: @PAHomelessDogs
Phone: 650 215-8406

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.