Meetings - November 21, 2019 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
November 21, 2019 - 5:30pm
City Hall Room 408
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102



Meeting Minutes November 21, 2019


  1. Call to Order and Roll Call

Present: Annemarie Fortier; Bunny Rosenberg; Nina Irani; Russell Tenofsky; Brian Van Horn, DVM; Michael Torres; Jane Tobin

Absent: Lisa Wayne; Officer Ryan Crockett; Shari O’Neill


  1. General Public Comment:
    • Members of the public commented regarding concern about ongoing issue of care for feral mothers and nursing kittens, including request to be involved in discussions with Board of Supervisors and reversal of policy. 


  1. Approval of Draft Minutes from October 2019 Meeting
    • Meeting minutes were approved.


  1. Chairperson’s and Commissioners’ Reports
    1. Commissioners Irani and Van Horn reported on meeting with SF SPCA’s Community Cats program regarding changes to feral cat management policy.


  1. New Business
    1. Enforcement of California’s animal cruelty law and exposure of farm animal cruelty
      • [Discussion] [Commissioner Irani] California Penal Code section 597 is one of the strongest animal cruelty laws in the country, making it a crime to intentionally and maliciously harm an animal, including animals raised in farming operations. Activists from Direct Action Everywhere have investigated and reported alleged cruelty at commercial facilities. The commission will discuss this law and its enforcement. The speaker will be Jon Frohnmayer, organizer and counsel for Direct Action Everywhere.
      • Mr. Frohnmayer presented regarding DxE’s campaign to document violations of California penal code section 597 at commercial farming facilities in Sonoma County and notify law enforcement of violations.  No action has been taken by law enforcement to investigate the facilities, and felony charges have been filed against six activists, with preliminary hearings set for December and January.  Public records requests show that there is no enforcement command in California for animal cruelty violations on commercial facilities.  
      • Commission is requested to take action on resolution supporting the activists.
      • Action continued to January to allow Commissioners to review resolution.
      • Members of the public commented in support of activists and encouraging action.


  1. GGNRA Proposed Changes
    • [Discussion/Action Item] [Commissioner Tobin] Review of changes to GGNRA dog walking regulations. Sally Stephens of SFDog will speak. 

    • Ms. Stephens presented regarding GGNRA dog walking policy, including previous attempt to restrict dog walking, and significant changes made by release of September 2019 compendium.  Changes include restrictions that were withdrawn under previous plan, arbitrary prohibitions on dog walking, and changes to definitions of “unmanaged dogs” and “voice control” that give rangers too much discretion in deciding acceptable behavior.  Changes are subject to a public awareness period instead of a public comment period that would require GGNRA to respond to each comment.  Once the awareness period ends on November 27 the changes become official.  Implementation timeline is unknown.
    • Commission will send letter to Board of Supervisors before next meeting to oppose changes. 
    • Members of public commented regarding concern about restrictions and polarization between supporters of wildlife and dogs.



  1. Election of Officers
    • [Discussion/Action Item] [Commissioner Fortier] The Commission will elect new officers. 

    • Commissioner Fortier nominated Commissioner Irani as Chair, Commissioner Tenofsky as Vice Chair, and Commissioner Torres as Secretary. Commission approved nominations.   


  1. Review of Sunshine Rules
    • [Discussion] [Commissioner Fortier] Discussion about how Sunshine Rules apply to Commissioners communications with each other and outside of the Commission. 

    • Commission tasks are assigned at meetings with a lead Commissioner in charge who also manages communications with the public. If Commissioners work on tasks before discussing them at meetings, they need to check-in with the Chair so that there is no overlap in work.


  1. Name Change of Commission
    • [Discussion] [Commissioner Torres] A discussion of feasibility of changing Commission’s name to avoid confusion with Animal Care and Control, and remove the name “control.” 

    • Commissioners Tobin and Torres will consult with the City Attorney’s office regarding feasibility of name change, and try to make change when administrative oversight is found.
    • Members of the public commented in support of changing name.   


  1. Old Business
    1. Euthanasia Protocol at SF
      • [Discussion/Action Item] [Commissioner Tenofsky] A review of the protocols, including notification of partner organizations, when euthanasia is advised.
      • Commissioner Tenofsky reported on update received from ACC regarding policy with respect to adoption partners. Commissioner Rosenberg reported that partner policy was redistributed by ACC in response to Commission’s request after previous meeting, and included information regarding replacement of CIP with “Finder to Adopt” and “Good Samaritan” policies. 
      • Issue remains as to whether codification of policy requiring notification to public, in addition to all rescue partners, of animals at risk of euthanasia is necessary.  Other cities such as Austin have passed such legislation and have higher save rates than ACC. 
      • Discussion will continue to January, to seek information from ACC regarding burden of notifying all partner agencies and the public.  Commissioner Tenofsky will draft a proposed ordinance that will include a requirement to disclose behavioral issues of all animals who are put out for adoption to the public.
      • Members of public commented regarding support for public disclosure of animals at-risk, and reversal of CIP policy.


  1. Commission Technology Update
    • [Discussion/Action Item] [Commissioner Fortier] An update on Commissioners efforts to update the webpage and secure oversight from a City government agency.
    • Commissioner Torres is able to update the Commission website.
    • Commissioner Tobin is following-up with Supervisor Ronen’s office, City Administrator’s Office, and Department of Public Health on administrative oversight issue.


  1. General Public Comment
    • Member of public requested reversal of policy regarding feral mothers and nursing kittens, and concern regarding lack of sinks in animal housing areas at new ACC shelter.


  1. Items to be put on Calendar for Future Commission Meetings
    1. Combined Live Release Numbers will be postponed.


9.   Adjournment (approx. 8:20 p.m.)