Saturday, July 08, 2006
The end of an era, the beginning of a new one.
A week ago last Thursday, at our Tri-Valley facility, the East Bay SPCA said "so long" to the man who for the last 19 years ago, has been the leader of the East Bay SPCA.
Gary Templin was hired in 1987 by the Board of Directors of what was then the Oakland SPCA, an organization coming off of several years of turmoil and turnover. Those of you who are long time Oakland residents recall that the organization did not always have the stellar reputation that is does today.
Shortly after starting, Gary made two very controversial decisions (for the time) that have since become the standard for private, non profit animal welfare: 1) he decided that a private donor funded place was not an appropriate place for the public to dump pets, which led to the closing up the night drop boxes, and 2) he demanded that every single pet leaving the facility was was spayed and neutered. This was uncommon at the time and very unpopular in the animal welfare community.
The public "demanded" the continued right to drop off pets, clients demanded the right to adopt intact animals, and many veterinarians were in agreement. But today, this is how ALL private, non profit animal welfare organizations are run.
In 1991, Gary met a man named David Duffield, who had recently become very wealthy due to his company, PeopleSoft, going public. Gary shared with him his vision of an animal shelter that wasn't a depressing, desperate place. A place where learning could take place and where the public would enjoy visiting.
David Duffield and Peoplesoft became one of the first major donors to the Oakland SPCA, and over the years contributed funding to the 1992 Oakland Adoption Center addition, one of the first adoption centers in the country built to not look like a "dog pound." (Read the San Francisco Chronicle about the opening of the new Oakland Adoption "Mall")
This partnership also led to the 1998 building of the region's first Spay/Neuter Surgery Center, and in 2001 the Tri-Valley Adoption Center and Spay and Neuter Surgery Center. Gary's presentation to the Duffields was that through collaboration and accessible spay and neuter, more lives would be saved than by any other activity, even adoption, though the facility would continue to provide adoptions and other resources. (Later, David Duffield founded the Maddie's Fund on a similar premise and brought the concept of accessible, affordable spay and neuter surgery, with agencies collaborating for a common goal, to animal shelters across the country. Since then, the Maddie's Fund has contributed mightly to animal shelters in the Bay Area and beyond.)
In 1997, Gary presented and the Board of Directors approved, the blue print for "Goal 2007" which was an audacious mission that called for the end of euthanasia of adoptable dogs and cats in Alameda County by 2007.
We are very close to accomplishing this. Since 1998, well over 70,000 spay and neuter surgeries have been performed at the East Bay SPCA’s facilities. Other agencies look to the East Bay SPCAs operations as a model of successful programming.
In the early 2000s, the East Bay SPCA continued to break ground in animal welfare by identifying specific challenges hampering the achievement of Goal 2007, with programs involving the spaying and neutering of pit bulls and feral cat.
Gary has stepped down to spend the next years of his life on his family, his art, and the outdoors, like many of us wish after years of working.
In his place, Allison Lindquist, former Associate Director of the Oakland Zoo, steps in to his mighty shoes with a new vision to successfully guide the organization through the next twenty years.
Allison has been creating the new "era" since the beginning of May, but we give thanks to Gary Templin for his successes in creating the one.