Animal Switchboard, like many a movement, was conceived on a kitchen table.
In 1970, out of heartbreak and outrage over the killing (commonly by horrific decompression chambers) of over 100,000 animals in the San Francisco Bay Area due to pet overpopulation and lack of low cost spay/neuter programs/clinics, lost and found lists, volunteer programs, and rescue groups, Grace and Virginia Handley (mother/daughter), Gloria Chavarria, and Andrea Olson gave birth to a 24 hour animal switchboard. Grace graciously answered the phone, day and night for 20 years, with calls from Pacific Heights to the Tenderloin, from Spreckle’s Mansion to Hell’s Angel. Caring about animals crosses all borders.
In 1973, Virginia met best-selling author and activist Cleveland Amory and became The Fund for Animals’ California representative. She became active in the California Legislature advocating for animal rights and continues to do so today representing Paw PAC, a political action committee for animals,founded in 1980. Familiarity with laws, legislation, and regulations adds to Animal Switchboard’s expertise.
After the loss of Grace Handley and Cleveland Amory, Animal Switchboard continues with Virginia answering the phone and going to Sacramento and Gloria Chavarria working with the Animal Welfare Association helping with spay/neuter and other veterinary bills.
Added to the Board is Elisabeth Keller who has worked with Animal Switchboard for over 20 years and Eric Mills of Action for Animals since 1984, advocate for animals and the environment.
Animal Switchboard is an all volunteer organization.