San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

Get the job done

kitty & puppyThe San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and the Escondido Humane Society are now one organization, united for a more humane San Diego County. This merger is about two strong organizations coming together for greater impact in saving animal lives. Both organizations have similar goals and missions, so it makes sense to combine resources to work together more effectively to save the most vulnerable animals in San Diego County.

The name of the combined organization is the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA with Dr. Gary Weitzman continuing as the President and CEO. 


Q: Why are these two organizations merging?

A: Escondido Humane Society and San Diego Humane Society and SPCA have always shared the same goal of saving as many homeless animals as possible. Each organization realizes that we can be stronger and more effective by joining forces.


Q: How did this idea of a merger come to be?

A:  Both organizations have been collaborating for several years on animal welfare initiatives. Discussions of how to better work together for the animals naturally evolved into a joint desire to formally combine operations, expertise and resources for a greater impact in the community.


Q: What will be the name of the organization?

A: The combined organization will operate under the name “San Diego Humane Society and SPCA” with the Escondido Campus representing the physical location.


Q: Will leadership change through this merger?

A: Dr. Gary Weitzman will serve as President of the new San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. Sally Costello will transition from Executive Director of Escondido Humane Society to Vice President of Strategic Initiatives of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.


Q: Why is this happening now? Both groups have been functioning separately for years and things have been fine. What inspired this decision?

A: No one event contributed to this decision, but both organizations have worked with each other for years and believe more can be accomplished by uniting as one organization. Friendly discussions between Board members and management have evolved into a more formal strategy that will maximize resources so more animal lives can be saved.


Q: What are the similarities of the agencies?

A: Both organizations perform rescue, spay/neuter, foster, adoption and sheltering services in addition to community outreach, education programming and animal field services.


Q: What will Escondido Humane Society add to San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and vice versa?

A: Escondido Humane Society has been caring for homeless animals in northeast San Diego County since 1915, and has a strong track record of rescuing and re-homing stray and owner relinquished animals. Their programs will continue to serve the community but will have an enhanced capacity to rehabilitate ill, injured, and behaviorally challenged animals. San Diego Humane Society and SPCA will enhance Escondido Humane Society’s existing program infrastructure with additional resources in the areas of veterinary medical rehabilitation and behavior modification.


Q: What are the philosophical differences between the organizations?

A: Both organizations share a similar philosophical approach to saving homeless animals.


Q: How can we be sure that both organizations really do share the same values?

A: As part of the due diligence process going into the merger, core values of each organization were thoroughly examined. The process also included gaining stakeholder input to gain perspective on relevant issues and philosophies.


Q: Are the foster programs similar?

A: Yes, both organizations have a strong commitment to increasing and enhancing existing foster care programs that will be instrumental in increasing the number of animal lives saved. Expanded community involvement and more volunteers will help grow this program.


Q: Are you going to continue Escondido Humane Society programs?

A: The intent is to honor and continue all programs that enable lifesaving efforts and support the commitment to medically and behaviorally rehabilitate as many animals as possible. There appears to be some program overlap that will enable combining the best of both for a greater impact, which is the obvious benefit of a merger.


Q: What type of programs will increase?

A: Expanding needs-based programs to help underserved populations in the community with their pets, as well as greater access to affordable spay/neuter, are immediate program expansion goals.


Q: What special events will continue under the new organization?

A: Paws in the Park and Tails at Twilight are signature events for Escondido Humane Society and plans are to continue these successful events.  The San Diego Humane Society’s major special events will also continue.


Q: What will happen to the Escondido Humane Society location and sheltering facility?

A: Escondido Humane Society’s facility on East Valley Parkway will remain in its current location, continuing to provide service to the people and animals of the community as the “San Diego Humane Society’s Escondido Campus.”


Q: What will happen to the Escondido Humane Society off-site adoption locations?

A: These locations are terrific for sharing adoptable animals with the community and will continue to play a vital role in the new organization.


Q: How will this merger affect volunteers?

A: Volunteers are the backbone of so many successful programs for both organizations, so it’s critical to have their support and input as we merge. Both organizations currently have a strong volunteer programming infrastructure with the capacity to strengthen and grow through this evolutionary collaboration.


Q: What will happen to the animal field services for Escondido, Poway, San Marcos and the Pala, Rincon and San Pasqual Indian reservations?

A: These communities will continue receiving animal field services provided by San Diego Humane Society with animal field services teams located at each campus. 


Q: How will this merger impact relationships with Adoption Partners and Rescue Groups?

A: Since the goal of this merger is to strengthen and increase the capacity to save more lives, relationships with Adoption Partners and Rescue Groups are vital in this process with the hope of increasing collaboration.  


Q: Will all campuses use the same behavior assessments, adoption criteria and application process?

A:  An operations leadership committee comprised of directors and managers from both organizations will integrate policies, procedures, and activities to ensure consistency and cohesiveness with the adoption process, the behavior evaluation process, and all other lifesaving protocols. Exemplary customer service to adopters and visitors will remain paramount in this process. 


Q: What will the euthanasia policy be for the combined organization?

A: Both organizations are fortunately able to save all healthy and treatable animals in their care. Euthanasia is only considered for severely sick or injured animals, or those that are found to be behaviorally unsound.  The ultimate goal of the merger is to combine resources and work toward eliminating unnecessary euthanasia of treatable animals in all San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition shelters by increasing capacity to save ill, injured, or behaviorally challenged animals.


Q: Will changes be made to any of the campus facilities?

A:  We are continuously evaluating how we utilize all of our facilities to most effectively and efficiently serve the community and the animals in our care.


Q: Will service hours remain the same at each campus?

A: At this time, service hours will continue to remain the same for each campus.


Q: What is the ultimate goal of the one, merged organization?

A: The ultimate goal is to eradicate unnecessary euthanasia of treatable animals in all San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition shelters by saving as many animals as possible through the Getting To Zero initiative launched in 2012.


Q: What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?

A: Ensuring that there is a steady stream of funding and available resources, including volunteers and foster homes, to enable us to focus on San Diego County’s most at-risk animals.


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