Who We Are and How You Help
San Diego Humane Society, an open-admission shelter, is creating a more humane world by inspiring compassion and advancing the welfare of animals and people. Our lifesaving safety net has helped San Diego become the largest city in the U.S. to keep healthy and treatable animals from being euthanized. We are a private, independent, nonprofit organization that is not affiliated with any other humane society or Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals.
With campuses in Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego, we provide animal services for 12 cities within San Diego County. We not only care for 50,000 animals in our communities, but also share the expertise we have gained through our innovative programs with shelters nationwide so they can save more lives in their communities.
While our influence is expanding nationally, our top priority is meeting the needs of San Diego. We provide exceptional care for all animals through world-class veterinary medicine, shelter and most of all: love.
What We Strive For
A more compassionate world.
Create a more humane world by inspiring compassion, providing hope and advancing the welfare of animals and people.
How We Measure Success
Operationally, we have set goals to:
- Advance Animal Welfare
- Support a Healthy Community
- Champion a Thriving Organization
- Maintain Financial Health
San Diego Humane Society is More Than Just a Shelter Because...The Behavior Center
The Behavior Center provides specialized training for animals who display shy/fearful or defensive behaviors, kennel stress or reactivity while in the shelter environment. It opened in 2013 and has rehabilitated more than 3,000 animals who, prior to its start, may have been euthanized due to being unsafe in a home environment. As the only comprehensive animal behavioral rehabilitation center in San Diego, we are the only hope for hundreds of our community’s most at-risk animals. These animals are often out of options by the time they arrive at our doors and facing euthanasia for behavioral concerns that are treatable. Without our intervention, these animals would have nowhere else to turn to receive the support they need to become ready for adoption. The Behavior Center is one of our most important tools in achieving our mission of saving lives, preparing animals for successful transitions into loving homes and keeping them with their families once they are adopted.
There is no other animal behavioral rehabilitation center like this in San Diego, making us the only hope for hundreds of our community’s most at-risk animals who would otherwise be unadoptable. What’s more, our center is one of only two in the country, allowing us to share these lifesaving practices with organizations nationwide.
A key component of the Behavior Center is the Behavior and Training program, which plays a central role in our commitment to eliminate euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals in San Diego County by giving people the tools and support necessary to resolve behavior challenges in the home, so the animal never needs to be relinquished to a shelter. This vital, multi-faceted program:
- Ensures the mental and behavioral well-being of all animals in our care, helping them to be happy, healthy and prepared for adoption into loving homes more quickly.
- Provides community training resources and support through public training classes and workshops, online training resources and access to our professional trainers through our Behavior Helpline.
The Kitten Nursery
The Kitten Nursery was the first of its kind in the country, and it has helped more than 13,000 kittens since its inception in 2009. The Kitten Nursery, as a part of our larger kitten program, has established our organization as a national leader in solving the challenges that shelters face in working with this fragile population of animals. This specialized facility provides the around-the-clock care that these delicate animals need to grow into happy, healthy adults, whether they arrive directly at our facility or are transferred from surrounding shelters. While we have achieved significant success in helping kittens throughout San Diego County, the Kitten Nursery also serves as a model for other shelters nationwide. By making our philosophies, policies and practices replicable and available to interested organizations around the United States, we hope to translate our success to the global sheltering community and increase the number of lives saved nationwide.
Our Humane Law Enforcement Team
Our Humane Law Enforcement team is often the first to respond when animals suffer. The team has officers in the field seven days a week, dedicated to protecting animals throughout San Diego County by enforcing animal cruelty and neglect laws.
The goal of the Humane Law Enforcement team is to ensure every animal receives proper care as required by law. We accomplish this goal by educating owners about proper care for their animals, responding to reports of animal cruelty or neglect and following up with pet owners after initial citations.
Animal cruelty encompasses behavior ranging from neglect or hoarding to malicious violence or killing. Humane Officers can exercise the powers of a peace officer while investigating animal-related crimes, and our team responds to nearly 2,000 reports of animal cruelty every year. Our Humane Officers also respond to and rescue animals from disasters in San Diego and beyond with the assistance of volunteers and our Emergency Response Team.
In addition, animal complaints for the entire county, with the exception of Chula Vista, El Cajon, Coronado and the unincorporated areas, are handled by Humane Officers of San Diego Humane Society. Our field service officers respond to calls regarding loose animals; injured animals; animal bites; and rescuing animals during disasters.
PAWS San Diego
PAWS San Diego helps people keep their pets. In the field of animal welfare, shelters are recognizing that our opportunity is not just to place pets in homes, but to help loved pets stay with their families, even if their owners are facing hardship. We offer help and hope for people who are facing financial and physical adversity that makes it nearly impossible for them to care for their pets alone. We ensure that these at-risk, caring pet parents have the support they need to keep their animal companions at a time when they desperately need love and comfort, and would be devastated at the thought of having to part from their cherished pets.
PAWS accomplishes this goal through a variety of services, which include monthly in-home deliveries of pet food and care supplies, a pet food pantry, homeless support and outreach in underserved neighborhoods. PAWS provides these support services free of charge to vulnerable people and pets throughout San Diego County.
Keeping pets at home is about more than just providing much-needed companionship for our clients. Pets offer a vital lifeline during times of crisis and help people maintain a productive and positive quality of life. Our clients include individuals who are low-income, senior, disabled, homebound and chronically ill. PAWS often stands between a pet owner and that sad trip to a shelter to turn over their beloved companion.
Project Wildlife stands alone as the primary resource in San Diego County for the majority of wildlife to receive help when they critically need it. As our human population grows, we have less natural space for wildlife, which dramatically increases the need for rehabilitative care and conservation. Every year, Project Wildlife provides more than 12,000 wild animals – from raptors to squirrels and ducks – the best opportunity to receive the nurturing care they need to survive, whether it’s specialized veterinary care, injury rehabilitation or simply a safe place to mature.
San Diego County is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the United States, with the greatest number of endangered species. When these animals are injured and/or orphaned, the first line of defense to save their lives is Project Wildlife. Our goal is to return every animal Project Wildlife treats to their natural habitat to lead a full life. Every one of these animals plays a vital role in preserving our local ecosystem, maintaining the San Diego region as one of the most incredible nature preserves in the world. Without our intervention, many of the species we help face an uncertain future.
Veterinary Medicine touches each one of the thousands of animals that come through our doors every year. Providing world-class veterinary care is a hallmark of San Diego Humane Society and is an essential component of our lifesaving work. Whether it is a basic vaccination, a spay/neuter surgery or complicated orthopedic surgery, our highly skilled veterinary team is there to assist animals in need. Veterinary services are provided for our companion animals to prepare them for adoption and for wildlife to ready them to return to the wild. Additionally, we serve the community through our Wellness Center, which provides low-cost community spay/neuter services and other veterinary procedures.
Most of this care is provided in our Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine, which also serves as a teaching hospital for advancing the practice of shelter medicine and molding the shelter veterinarians of tomorrow. Shelter Medicine only recently emerged as a specialty field of veterinary medicine to elevate and promote a better quality of life for shelter animals, increase the consistency of care across the U.S. and to prevent disease rather than just treating it.
Your Support in Action
Our commitment is to continue keeping healthy and treatable animals from being euthanized while we expand our innovative programs to help other shelters locally and across the country stay at zero euthanasia. We are deeply committed to meeting the varied needs of animals and the people who love them. But we can’t do it without the generosity of our friends in the community – friends who know that when they donate to San Diego Humane Society, they are making extraordinary work possible. As an independent nonprofit organization not affiliated with any other humane society or Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals, philanthropy is crucial to our mission, providing more than 40% of our budget each year.
And, what does this giving support?
- The cost of serving over 67,000 animals in 2017-2018 —through pet adoptions, wildlife rehabilitation, community spay/neuter services and more—was $45,000 per day.
- Every companion animal we place in a loving home is spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and provided the highest level of care while they are in our shelters – costing approximately $1,300 per dog or cat.
- Innovative programs such as our Kitten Program, which nursed thousands of kittens less than eight weeks old to health last year, and found them loving homes.
- Project Wildlife, which provided over 11,000 sick, injured and/or orphaned wild animals with emergency and rehabilitative care in 2017.
- Our PAWS San Diego program, which serves as a safety net for people in need, helping them keep the animals they love.
These figures are a small snapshot of what we accomplish together with people like you who love animals. To become a partner in this lifesaving work, donate here.
Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society provides vital services to animals and people by rescuing, sheltering and adopting animals, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, providing positive reinforcement behavior training for adoptable animals, inspiring compassion in people through education, Pet-Assisted Therapy and much more.
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