More Shake-Ups at San Francisco SPCA

After being closed all day Thursday for a series of mandatory staff meetings, San Francisco's SPCA re-opened today -- but not, it seems, with all the services available previously.

The SPCA has now posted on its Web site that its internationally renowned Academy for Dog Trainers -- which instructed animal trainers from around the nation and world -- will be shut down. Instructors Jean Donaldson and Janis Bradley will be working to "develop a new educational offering outside the SF SPCA." 

SF Weekly also heard from sources close to the SPCA that a number of other employees who worked behaviorally with animals have been let go. In short, SPCA critics told SF Weekly that the SPCA continues to do away with staff who worked with problematic animals in the name of economic expedience, which will increase the number of "unadoptable" dogs and cats being euthanized -- a complaint leveled in an SF Weekly cover story and a recent article in Northside Magazine.  

The SPCA, doubtlessly, doesn't see things this way. SF Weekly left messages with the organization this morning and is waiting to hear back.

UPDATE, 8:49 a.m.: Tina Ahn, the SPCA's director of communications and development, said that, "with regret and sadness," the organization laid off 22 employees yesterday, a 15 percent reduction. "Because of confidentiality issues, we are not naming positions or names." Regarding the closure of the Academy for Dog Trainers, Ahn noted "Jean and Jan decided it was time for them to leave."

The layoffs were undertaken "to reduce our annual operating deficit." Ahn would only say SPCA critics' accusations are "unfounded."

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