Staying at Zero
“Zero” represents a great accomplishment — not just for San Diego Humane Society, but for San Diego County. Zero is the number of healthy or treatable animals who are in danger of being euthanized in local animal shelters. In 2015, we partnered with seven other shelters in the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition to achieve this goal, making San Diego the largest city in the country to reach this milestone of Getting to Zero. Since reaching this goal, we are committed to Staying at Zero!
As an open-admission shelter and one of the largest animal welfare agencies in the country, San Diego Humane Society takes in nearly 50,000 animals annually. We won’t turn away any animal in need — including those with serious medical and behavioral needs who would have nowhere else to turn. Saving their lives requires innovation, which is why we’ve developed many of our signature programs, including:
Located at our San Diego Campus, this animal hospital provides medical care far beyond that found in traditional shelters. Our veterinary team — led by one of the few veterinarians certified in shelter medicine by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners — performs everything from trauma medicine to specialized surgeries. We repair fractured bones, perform advanced dental work and lead the country in developing new treatments for deadly diseases like parvo and distemper.
This state-of-the-art facility provides a safe space and individualized training plans for some of the most challenging dogs and cats to enter San Diego County shelters. It’s one of just a few centers of its kind in the country, and it enables us to save hundreds of animals each year.
Kitten and Foster Programs
Established in 2009, our Kitten Program cares for thousands of orphaned kittens every year, and our Foster Program places even more in temporary homes. Because neonatal kittens require 24-hour care, many kittens this young throughout San Diego County used to be euthanized because of a lack of resources to care for them. The Kitten Nursery at our San Diego Campus was the first of its kind in the country and it has, along with our Foster Program, provided a model for other shelters ever since.
Our Humane Law Enforcement team is in the field seven days a week to investigate animal-related complaints and reports of cruelty, rescue animals in need and educate the public about animal welfare and laws that Humane Officers enforce. These efforts are on the front lines of animal welfare, saving pets and wildlife and getting them the shelter, medical care and other support they desperately require.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted to continue saving animals while meeting the increased needs of pet families. One of the ways we Stay at Zero is by keeping pets with the families that love them. This means doing even more for our community, like distributing free pet meals, offering medical services and providing behavior and training support. By providing more resources for pet families in need, we can help ensure that more people don’t face the heartbreaking decision to relinquish their animals.
These and other programs and services at San Diego Humane Society make Staying at Zero possible, so no healthy or treatable shelter animals need to be euthanized for space — or any other reason. Staying at Zero is also possible because of our collaboration with members of the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition and other rescue partners, the impact of volunteers, the adopters who help open up shelter space and the generous support of donors.