The San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition adopted the Asilomar Accords in 2004 and further defined a list of conditions to clarify what constitutes “healthy, treatable/manageable, and unhealthy/untreatable.” Over the years, as lifesaving work has improved through the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition shelters and area rescue groups, the conditions list has been evaluated with a focus on continuous improvement and raising the bar for higher standards in our community. The 6th, and most recent, version of this conditions list was established by consensus of the shelter partners in the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition in December 2015. The full conditions list document can be found here – SDAWC Conditions List.
“The effect of the Asilomar definitions is not to draw lines between animals who can and can’t be saved, but to put shelters on the same footing as their community: shelters that save all healthy and treatable dogs and cats in their care are meeting the standard of care typically provided in their own community. Shelters that go beyond this to save a portion of the “unhealthy & untreatable” are exceeding their community’s standard of care and thus setting an example of humane treatment. These shelters aren’t following their community – they’re leading them.”
The conditions list is vital to our commitment of transparency and communication with our community regarding animal statistics. Each member of the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition belongs to Shelter Animals Count: The National Database that tracks data in a uniform and consistent way to help communities evaluate their lifesaving work. This vital program was made possible by the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, and PetSmart Charities.
San Diego Humane Society is proud to have not euthanized a healthy or treatable animal since 2002. But the best news of recent years was when the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition was able to “reach zero euthanasia of treatable animals” in July of 2015. This means that all healthy and treatable animals entering the San Diego animal sheltering system are safe from being euthanized due to the collaboration of area shelters, foster families, rescue groups, and other lifesaving partners. San Diego is the largest city in the nation to have accomplished this feat.
But staying at zero is hard. Just because we reached this milestone as a community in 2015, the work remains just as difficult. This is why we need every animal lover in San Diego to help us maintain this amazing accomplishment: we still need members of the community to adopt homeless animals; spay/neuter their pets to prevent puppies/kittens from entering the shelters; work with community cat programs and shelter/neuter/return efforts; volunteer for rescue groups to keep lifesaving pathways open; and, volunteer as foster parents to provide medical, socialization, or behavior assistance to ready animals for adoption.
Area rescue groups have historically been responsible for re-homing a significant percentage of animals from local shelters. Collaboration between the rescue community and all San Diego shelters is vital to maintain zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals in our community.
What happens to Unhealthy/Untreatable animals entering the shelter?
At San Diego Humane Society, we rescue and rehabilitate all healthy and treatable animals and have since 2002; however, from time to time, an animal enters our care suffering from a chronic illness, challenging behavior or a terminal disease that deems them unhealthy/untreatable. Every animal available for adoption at San Diego Humane Society is special and deserves love, but unhealthy/untreatable pets need extra special efforts to save their lives that can range from behavior modification to medical treatments to complicated surgeries. Last year, we saved more than 1,000 unhealthy/untreatable animals. We’re elated to save unhealthy/untreatable animals and appreciate the volunteers, foster parents, rescue groups, and other partners who make this lifesaving work possible.
We also welcome rescue groups to transfer unhealthy/untreatable pets. As with all our transfers to rescue partners, the fee is waived and includes the spay/neuter of the pet, microchip and vaccinations. If your rescue group is not an official Rescue Partner with San Diego Humane Society, please inquire here.
The San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition shares a common purpose in saving animals’ lives, preventing animal suffering and eliminating animal abandonment. It includes the following organizations:
Chula Vista Animal Care Facility
Coronado Animal Care Facility
El Cajon Animal Shelter
Friends of Cats
Rancho Coastal Humane Society
San Diego County Department of Animal Services
San Diego House Rabbit Society
San Diego Humane Society