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The following content is created in consultation with the San Francisco SPCA. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC BAY AREA's editorial staff. To learn more about the San Francisco SPCA, visit sfspca.org.

San Francisco residents are no strangers to social responsibility. From bike commuting to work to buying local and organic produce, the majority of us in the Bay Area do our small part to make the world a better, more sustainable place.

But when it comes to animals, many of us are still buying rather than adopting our pets. Unfortunately, this endangers the lives of many local animals who still need homes. When you buy a puppy or kitten, you’re not giving an unwanted shelter animal a chance. This results in more than three million cats and dogs being euthanized every year, with millions more small animals, like rabbits and hamsters, meeting the same fate.

Even worse, most puppies and kittens come from animal mills where they’ve been abused and neglected. Puppy and kitten mills are big businesses that put profits ahead of animal welfare. Abuse at these breeding factories includes over-breeding, inbreeding, overcrowding, filth, hunger and disease, while purchased animals often suffer from illness and behavioral problems once brought into your home.

Thankfully, you can help. By adopting locally, you're not just saving the life of the animal you're welcoming into your home, you’re also giving another animal an opportunity to move to the adoption floor and find a new family. Furthermore, you’re helping to reduce the animal demand that keeps puppy and kitten mills in business. By adopting a pet, you can help break the vicious animal euthanization cycle and put an end to the animal mill industry.

How else can you pitch in? By volunteering or donating to your local shelter rather than writing a check to a national organization. When it comes to animal shelters, there are no chapters or overriding organizations. This non affiliation means than when you donate to a national organization, those funds are typically not used to support local animals. Instead, donate your time and money locally so that we can help find all homeless pets in San Francisco a new home.

For over 140 years, the San Francisco SPCA has made animal welfare its mission, providing adoption, vet and educational services at their Mission campus on Alabama St. and, more recently, their Fillmore St. location. By focusing on prevention, rescue/adoption services and local training programs for kids and adults, the community-funded nonprofit has helped make San Francisco the only major city to have saved more than 90 percent of its pet population.

To learn more about the San Francisco SPCA, how you can get involved and to preview all of their adorable, adoptable animals, visit sfspca.org.
 

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