Creating a More Humane San Diego
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 shelter 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 of cruelty to animals.
With campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, Ramona and San Diego, we provide animal services for 14 cities within San Diego County. We not only care for more than 40,000 animals in our communities annually, 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.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at San Diego Humane Society
How We Measure Success
Operationally, we have set goals to:
- Advance Animal Welfare
- Support a Healthy Community
- Champion a Thriving Organization
- Maintain Financial Health
We're More Than a Shelter ...
Our 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.
Our 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.
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 average cost to care for each of the 31,871 companion animals admitted in 2019-20 was $848.
- The daily cost to care for companion animals was approximately $74,000 in 2019-20.
- 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.
- Innovative programs such as our Kitten Program, which nurses approximately 1,250 kittens less than eight weeks old to health each year, and finds them loving homes.
- Project Wildlife, which provides over 12,000 sick, injured and/or orphaned wild animals with emergency and rehabilitative care annually.
- Our Community Support Services, which provide more than 1 million pet meals each year and offer a life-changing safety-net for pet families in need.
These figures are a small snapshot of what we accomplish together with people like you who love animals. Together, we can create a more humane San Diego. To become a partner in this lifesaving work, donate here.
Since 1880, San Diego Humane Society has been San Diego County’s go-to resource for animals and the people who love them. Whether you’re looking to adopt a new family member, bring in injured wildlife for rehabilitation, report cruelty or neglect, access behavior and training support or other resources to care for your pets, we are here to help.
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