Visitors to the San Diego Campus for Animal Care can see that the Gaines Street location provides a comprehensive array of services for animal welfare. What’s not so obvious is just how unique the campus is. Housing both the headquarters of San Diego Humane Society and the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS), it represents the first public–private partnership of its kind in the country, and one that serves as a model of independent organizations working in harmony to help animals.
“Our mission is to protect the people and animals in the areas we serve,” says Dawn Danielson, DAS Director. “We do that through law enforcement, strong adoption programs, and education. Since we protect people as well as animals, it is our partnership with San Diego Humane Society and SPCA that makes us so successful in reaching our goals.”
The two organizations have worked cooperatively since 2003, in what Dr. Gary Weitzman, President and CEO of San Diego Humane Society, calls “an incredibly beneficial relationship.”
“I look at lives saved—that’s the whole reason for doing it,” Weitzman says. “We made a deliberate decision to share the same property so that we’re able to transfer all the treatable animals they’re unable to keep from their facility to ours, therefore saving more lives.”
Danielson adds, “There isn’t any way that we have the resources to treat all the sick and injured animals in our care, but with the help of San Diego Humane Society we have almost reached zero euthanasia for ‘treatable’ animals. This is a huge accomplishment, and we would never be this close without this unique partnership.”
Together, the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition (SDAWC)*, which is comprised of seven local animal shelters, has been working towards “Getting to Zero,” a movement to eliminate the need for unnecessary euthanasia of homeless pets in San Diego. These seven shelters have committed to working together to transfer homeless pets between organizations and find solutions for each individual animal. As of July 1, 2015, Getting to Zero will be achieved, meaning for the first time in San Diego history, no animal will be euthanized for space or time.
San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition:
*The San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition (SDAWC) shares a common purpose in saving animals’ lives, preventing animal suffering, and eliminating animal abandonment. It is comprised of 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 Humane Society