State Humane Association of California - About Us
Advisor to the Board
SHAC and HSUS/ASPCA
Thomas A. Little Award of Excellence
Member, Board of Directors
Humane Society of Ventura County
Steven R. McNall
Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA
East Bay SPCA
Santa Cruz SPCA & Humane Society
Board of Directors
The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center
Advisor to the Board of Directors
Erica Gaudet Hughes
First State Humane Convention (1909)
1940's California Humane Laws Handbook
The State Humane Association
of California (SHAC) was founded in 1909 to represent local humane
organizations with matters of concern to all, but beyond the resources
of any one organization or agency. Throughout the 1900s, SHAC assisted
individuals establishing private humane organizations, consulted with
local officials and architects to construct new animal shelter
facilities, advised staff and board members of humane organizations and
animal shelters on policies and services, and worked to enact pro-animal
SHAC is the original
publisher of the California
Animal Laws Handbook and continues to offer this unique
resource for animal-welfare professionals, law enforcement officials,
and others interested in or working with animal-related legal issues.
The Handbook is a compilation of key California codes and regulations
pertaining to animals and is updated each year with new laws.
Since 1980, SHAC has sponsored the Animal Law
Enforcement Training Academy for humane and animal-control
officers throughout the state. We offer both a Basic and Advanced
course, which are intended to satisfy appointment and re-appointment
training requirements for California humane officers and to provide
essential training for humane and animal-control officers working in the
SHAC also organizes the
California Animal Care Conference
together with the California Animal Control Directors Association and
the California Veterinary Medical Association. The Conference brings
together animal-welfare and veterinary professionals from throughout the
state to attend educational workshops on Management, Behavior &
Training, Shelter Services, Field Services, and Shelter Medicine.
SHAC serves over 140 humane societies, SPCAs, city and county
animal-control agencies, and other animal-welfare organizations
throughout California. We offer assistance to our members through
education, training, and legislation to promote the inherent value of
animals through the elimination of cruelty, neglect, and exploitation.
How is SHAC different from HSUS and the ASPCA?
While SHAC's interests often overlap with those of HSUS and ASPCA, they are separate and distinct organizations with different missions.
- SHAC represents the collective voice of California's humane societies and SPCAs.
- In contrast, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are national organizations headquartered in Washington D.C. and New York, respectively, that advance a national agenda.
- ASPCA operates one companion-animal shelter in New York City and HSUS does not operate any companion-animal shelters.
- ASPCA and HSUS are not umbrella, parent, or sister organizations to local humane societies and SPCAs, contrary to the conclusion many reach based on the inclusion of "United States" in HSUS's name and "American" in ASPCA's name.
- While ASPCA and HSUS may give individual shelters funding from time to time for particular projects, ASPCA and HSUS do not regularly fund California's shelters and are not involved in their management or operations.
Often, the interests of SHAC and its humane societies and SPCAs are coextensive and SHAC endeavors to work HSUS and ASPCA when it promotes the collective good of California's shelters such as co-sponsoring California Assembly or Senate bills.
Only SHAC promotes an agenda that is exclusively based on the needs and interests of California's shelters. From time to time, the interests of SHAC and those of HSUS and ASPCA may not be parallel. Therefore, it is important to look to SHAC as the collective voice of California's humane community.
Thomas A. Little Award of Excellence
Thomas A. Little served as director of Haven Humane Society from 1980 to 2002 and as a longstanding board member of the State Humane Association of California. He is greatly respected by directors of humane societies and SPCAs throughout California. Haven Humane Society remembers him as the man who guided the Society through some of its most difficult developmental stages. He is completely dedicated to the relief of animal suffering and prevention of animal cruelty and served as a strong leader in his field.
Little began his career in animal welfare in Vernal, Utah in 1970 when he joined the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Utah. He was soon encouraged to take the job of Executive Director, serving in that capacity from 1972 to 1975. Little moved to Monterey, California, in 1975 when he accepted the job of director of the Monterey County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (later renamed the SPCA for Monterey County).
In 1978 he became the Executive Director of the Nevada Humane Society and moved to Sparks, Nevada. Little initiated many new programs at the Nevada Humane Society as well as the construction of a new facility. He was then recruited by the Board of Directors of Haven Humane Society in 1980. He moved to Redding, California and became Executive Director of Haven Humane. Little carefully guided the Society through many difficulties while expanding their services and locating a new shelter. The city of Redding contracted with the Society in 1982 to provide animal regulation services and Little oversaw construction of the Society's Animal Welfare Center, which was completed in 1987. He retired from the Haven Humane Society in 2002.
Thomas A. Little Award of Excellence presented by SHAC
2003 - Robert Timone, former Haven Humane Society Executive Director and former SHAC board member
2007 – Gary Templin, former East Bay SPCA Executive Director and former SHAC board member
2011 – Christine Benninger, former Humane Society Silicon Valley Executive Director and former SHAC board member