Staying at Zero
“Zero” represents a great accomplishment — not just for San Diego Humane Society, but for all of 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. We got to zero, and now we are committed to Staying at Zero!
As an open-admission shelter and one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, San Diego Humane Society takes in more than 40,000 animals each year. We won’t turn away any animal in need — including those with serious medical and behavioral challenges who have nowhere else to turn. Saving their lives requires innovative solutions to the obstacles these animals face, which is why we’ve developed our signature programs, including:
Located at our San Diego Campus, this animal hospital provides lifesaving medical care rarely performed 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. Only a handful of centers like it exist in the country, and it enables us to save hundreds of animals each year by providing the time, positive reinforcement training and customized living spaces to overcome their challenges and become candidates for adoption.
Kitten Nursery & Foster Programs
Our Kitten Nursery & Foster Programs care for thousands of orphaned kittens every year. Because neonatal kittens require specialized care, they often face high rates of euthanasia in other communities due to a lack of resources to care for them. Created in 2009, the Kitten Nursery at our San Diego Campus — now the Jim Lester Kitten Nursery & Foster Center — was the first of its kind in the country and has expanded to include nurseries at our Escondido and Oceanside campuses. Along with our Foster Program, it models the way for other shelters across the country, helping them save more lives in their communities.
One of the ways we Stay at Zero is by keeping pets with the families that love them by distributing free pet meals, offering medical services and offering behavior and training support. By providing these resources to pet families in need, we ensure that fewer people have to 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 partnership with members of the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition and other local rescues, volunteers who help us care for animals, adopters who welcome animals into their homes and generous donors who fund these programs. To join our lifesaving community and stay informed about our work, please sign up to receive news from San Diego Humane Society.