Avanzino to Leave San Francisco SPCA

Avanzino to Leave San Francisco SPCA

To head newly-formed Duffield Family Foundation

By: Norma Bennett Woolf  Date: 10/31/1998 Category: | Canine Issues | Shelter Issues |

Richard Avanzino, the charismatic, creative president of the San Francisco SPCA, plans to leave that organization after 22 years to head the newly-formed Duffield Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing pet adoptions in shelters nationwide.

"The Foundation intends to be an instrumental force in building a no-kill nation," Avanzino said. "We expect to spend more than $200 million dollars to build no-kill programs city by city, region by region. It may sound impossible, but that's what nay-sayers said about our efforts in San Francisco four years ago. Now, several communities are dedicating themselves to similar efforts, and it looks like many more are planning to join the cause."

Avanzino initiated many innovative programs in San Francisco, including the country's first . . .


  • hearing dog program operated by an animal welfare adoption agency in 1978;
  • grooming college at an animal shelter to help make pets more adoptable in 1979;
  • pets and older people program to provide free comprehensive services to pets of elderly owners in 1979;
  • mobile adoption program in 1980;
  • animal-assisted therapy program conducted by a human society in 1981;
  • animal behavior program at an animal shelter in 1983;
  • campaign in the country to encourage landlords to rent to pet owners in 1991;
  • feral fix program to provide free spay and neuter services to wild city cats in 1993; and
  • doggy day care center at an animal shelter in 1994.


Under Avanzino's guidance, the SF SPCA severed the animal control contract with the city to direct energies towards adoptions; built a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic at the shelter to offer low-cost sterilizations and a variety of reduced-cost or free programs; devised and carried out the adoption pact with the city that not only places all adoptable animals brought to its shelter but accepts adoptable animals from the city's pound and from shelters in surrounding areas; and increased the shelter's visibility and budget with constant marketing campaigns and fund-raising efforts.

Avanzino will join the Duffield Family Foundation as chief executive officer on January 1, 1999. Under his guidance, the foundation pledges to support organizations that "reflect and reinforce its core values like honesty, integrity, and mutual respect not only with dollars but also with mentor programs, management resources, consulting services, continuing education, periodic conferences, and networking opportunities. Priority funding will be given to projects that demonstrate creativity and innovation - those that think 'outside the box' and look for new ways to solve old problems."


About The Author

Norma Bennett Woolf's photo
Norma Bennett Woolf -

Editor and Writer for the National Animal Interest Alliance.

All Authors Of This Article: | Norma Bennett Woolf |
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