How time flies. A year ago, San Diego Humane Society began providing animal services in six more cities, bringing our city services coverage to 12 and essentially doubling our workload. We doubled our staff, too, and added hundreds of volunteers. There was a lot of training involved, but we’ve come together to truly be an open-admission organization where no animal is turned away.
We’re not stopping there; big things are on the horizon. In the summer, around 3,000 animals per month move through our facilities. In the past decade, the total number of animals entering all shelters in the county has remained steady at about 45,000. We want to change this, starting with a high volume/high quality spay and neuter program coming sometime in the next year. We know that nothing eliminates animal homelessness better than to stop it before it starts.
Another key initiative in development is addressing the needs of people in underserved populations, many of whom can’t afford veterinary care. People end up relinquishing their pets when the cost of care is out of reach. We hope to partner with community vets to end this cycle. We plan to expand our East County and South Bay presence to better serve those communities and help keep pets with their families, all while enhancing our safety net to stay true to our promise of zero euthanasia of healthy or treatable animals throughout our county.
We’re also strengthening our Humane Law Enforcement division and Emergency Response Team. We want to be among the first responders when disaster strikes anywhere in California. Last year, our ERT traveled across the country multiple times to rescue animals displaced by hurricanes, and stepped up immediately during the worst wildfires our state has ever seen.
Closer to home, San Diego Pets Magazine has reached a milestone—this is our 20th issue! And speaking of publishing, National Geographic just released the Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness, covering these topics in print for the first time. This partnership followed decades of my conversations with animal lovers who had medical concerns. Many didn’t know what to ask their vet or couldn’t decipher their options. The book is all about giving people the knowledge they should have for their pets, from adoption to end-of-life care, and you’ll be happy to know that a portion of the proceeds go to SDHS!
Summer is upon us, so read on to make it the safest and best one possible for you and your pets.
Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA
President and CEO
San Diego Humane Society