Why the world needs Muttville
The tragic truth is that every day, dogs in good health with wonderful personalities are euthanized. Why? They’re older. And because they’re older, they’re not considered adoptable.
We reach out to senior and special needs rescue dogs; find suitable homes for those dogs that are adoptable; and offer end of life care for those that are not. These are not just shelter dogs; every day, dogs are moved from loving homes to concrete cages because their guardians have died or moved or simply can’t care for them anymore.
If we had our way, no dog would spend its last days in a cold, dark shelter. There is so much love and joy in these dogs! Bringing these special dogs into a home is not only good for the dogs, but such loving, mellow dogs transform the quality of life for the people who adopt or foster them.
Muttville’s mission is to change the way the world thinks about and treats older dogs and to create better lives for them through rescue, foster, adoption, hospice, education, and advocacy.
Muttville was founded in 2007 by Sherri Franklin, a longtime animal advocate and rescue worker. Working from her house, Sherri rescued 27 dogs that year. Since then, Muttville has grown into a nationally recognized organization that rescues approximately 1000 dogs a year. (And it finally, in 2012, moved out of her house!)
Muttville has been recognized for its groundbreaking approach to animal rescue. Our cage-free facility, our focus on foster, our on-site veterinary suite, and our hospice program are innovations that have been lauded and emulated around the country.
With a small paid staff, Muttville exists through the hard work of hundreds of volunteers who assist in everything from transport to medical exams to administration. Youth groups, senior groups, and corporate groups consider Muttville a favorite.
Muttville was named “San Francisco’s Favorite Charity” by 7X7 magazine and has won numerous “Beast of the Bay Awards” including best rescue organization and best animal cause. In 2011 the Mayor of San Francisco declared May 10 “Muttville Senior Dog Rescue Day.” In 2012, the The Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross chose Muttville as one of eight recipients of its 2012 San Francisco Heroes Award.
Muttville is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has received the highest ratings from both Guidestar and Charity Navigator, the leading nonprofit watchdog organizations.
Muttville rescued its 5000th dog in September 2017.
Sherri Franklin, a long-time animal advocate and shelter volunteer, founded Muttville in 2007 to save the lives of the older dogs that were considered “unadoptable” and routinely euthanized in area shelters. Working from her house, she saved 27 dogs that first year. She said she “wanted to make senior dogs sexy,” and in fact, has turned the organization into a Bay Area favorite and a national model.
Sherri emerged as a leader in animal rescue when she was appointed to the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare in 2000. She was elected Vice-chairman of the Commission in 2002. In 2003, she began work on an ordinance that both mandated minimum requirements for care for dogs and put some muscle into enforcement. The “backyard dog ordinance,” as it was known, went into effect in January 2005 and made headlines around the country. The ordinance continues to be an important tool for education and enforcement, and is being used as a model in other cities for similar legislation.
In 2010, Sherri received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, which recognizes those who “inspire others to service.” In 2016, CNN named Sherri a CNN Hero.
Sherri speaks at conferences around the country about Muttville’s innovative programs, about senior dogs, and about animal rescue.
Our euthanasia policy
Muttville rescues senior dogs. Despite temperament testing and veterinary screening and care, the backgrounds of many of Muttville’s dogs are unknown, and some dogs may have severe, previously undetected behavior or medical problems. As a result, we have created a euthanasia policy.
Our belief is that when a dog’s quality of life has diminished drastically, euthanasia is the right thing to do. We consult with our veterinarians when making this decision. We will always be there for a Muttville dog when it is their time to pass over the bridge. We will make it a peaceful and gentle passing.
We also believe that dogs with behavior and/or aggression issues who are deemed to pose an unacceptable danger to other animals, themselves, or the public are candidates for euthanasia. This is determined with behavior testing and is decided with a minimum of two people, including the executive director and one of our dog trainers. We do not take this decision lightly, and we will try all means to avoid euthanasia of an animal. We believe that knowingly adopting out dogs that can cause harm to a human would be a liability and put our mission to save senior dogs at risk.
Frequently asked questions
Where do Muttville dogs come from?
Dogs come from shelters all over California and beyond. Most are from the Bay Area. Some go to shelters as strays; some are dumped; some come from loving homes where someone has died or has become incapable of caring for an animal. At most shelters, seniors are more difficult to find homes for, and shelters reach out to Muttville to find homes for their older dogs, many who would otherwise be euthanized. We check dogs’ health and test their temperaments and match them with new families to make a good fit for both.
How do you decide which dogs to rescue?
We rescue senior dogs, but there’s no strict rule about when a dog becomes a senior. At conventional shelters, some larger dogs are considered too old for adoption at 8 years old, while for smaller dogs the cutoff may be 10 or 12. Muttville believes that each dog should be assessed individually. Important factors in our rescue decision are temperament and whether the dog is slated for euthanasia. If a dog will benefit from even a month or a week in a loving home, then we will do our best to provide this for him or her.
How do I adopt a Muttville dog?
Check out our how to adopt page.
What does it cost to adopt a Muttville dog?
Muttville charges an adoption fee of $200 for each dog that helps to cover spay/neuter surgery, shots, and other medical and general care given before the dog is made available for adoption. Learn more about the adoption process here.
Do I need to live in the San Francisco Bay Area to adopt a Muttville dog?
No. Muttville adopts out to loving homes all over California. Read more about the Muttville adoption process here.
Do I need to have a backyard to adopt a Muttville dog?
No. While a backyard is nice for everyone to have, it’s no substitute for daily exercise. Walking your dog and/or taking it to a dog park are essential to keeping your dog healthy and happy.
What if I have questions about how to take care of my dog?
Every Muttville dog is dear to our hearts, and our commitment to their well-being never ends. Contact us with any questions you have about your adopted dog, and we’ll be happy to help.
What if something happens and I can no longer care for my adopted dog?
Please contact us. We will work with you to find a new home for him or her.
Is my donation to Muttville tax-deductible?
Muttville is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your donations are deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please consult your tax advisor. Our tax ID is 26‑0416747.
Where do my donation dollars go?
Our biggest expense is caring for the dogs we rescue. Every dog receives a complete blood workup to assess his or her health, and it’s not uncommon for a dog to require spay/neuter, tooth extraction, or other procedures. Here are our approximate expenses for any one dog.
Can I give a donation as a gift or tribute to someone else?
Absolutely! Giving a gift or tribute donation is a simple process. Go here to make your tribute donation. Then click the button to go to a page where you can create a custom ecard yourself – fun! – to announce your gift, or fill out a form to have us send an announcement card by postal mail.
I’m uncomfortable donating online. Can I send a check instead?
Of course! Make it payable to Muttville, and send it to:
P.O. Box 410207
San Francisco, CA 94141