Types of Organizations

The East Bay SPCA is often confused with other organizations that also work to improve the lives of companion animals. Additionally, people are also confused about how various SPCAs around the country are connected. They are not! Each SPCA, in each community is its own entity, and responsible for its own mission and funding. For example, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the SPCA that serves New York City, NY. No SPCA, including the East Bay SPCA, receives regular funding from the ASPCA or HSUS (Humane Society of the United States).

We offer the following information about the roles of various organizations within our cooperative, humane community in the East Bay:

Animal Control Agencies (usually city- or county-run)
Examples:  Oakland Animal Services, East County Animal Shelter

Municipalities work to ensure that their citizens are safe from animal attacks and diseases, by providing an Animal Control agency. This agency is funded publicly and tasked with enforcing public safety with regards to loose animals. Animal Control Agencies typically provide the following:

  • Pick up and intake of stray animals
  • Confinement of animals who have bitten, to ensure that the animal could not transmit rabies to the victim
  • Enforcement of local and statewide animal ordinances
  • Animal care and control education
  • Placement of dogs and cats with families
  • Cruelty investigations
  • Custody of animals who belong to individuals in extraordinary situations.

There are times when local governments and private organizations partner through an animal control contract.  This means that the humane organization provides animal control services for a fee to that municipality.

Humane Organizations (privately-run, non-profit animal shelters)
Examples:  East Bay SPCA, Berkeley East Bay Humane Society

SPCAs and Humane Societies are generally not formally connected organizations. There's no national governing body. ASPCA, in New York City, is simply New York City's local SPCA! HSUS, which stands for the Humane Society of the United States, is not an animal shelter. They are an independent association with no direct care.

Humane Organizations often provide the following services:

  • Placement of adoptable animals
  • Spay and neuter services, often affordable and/or no-cost
  • Humane education
  • Veterinary services

The East Bay SPCA also provides:

  • Dog training
  • Support to rescue groups
  • Feral cat programs
  • Foster care

Rescue Groups (privately-run, non-profit organizations)
Examples:  Tri-Valley Animal Rescue, Hopalong

These groups are usually non-profit, volunteer-run organizations, which do not operate a facility or shelter.  They are supported through private donations.  They provide foster homes through a network of dedicated volunteers.  The name rescue refers to the groups' efforts to help animals who might not find homes through a local animal control agency.  Rescue groups can sometimes be breed specific, working to save a certain breed from local shelters.