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San Diego Humane Society tries to help pet owners keep their pets during hard times. Courtesy photo
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San Diego Humane Society is here for you and your pet

When it comes to providing adoption services, emergency rescue operations, veterinary services and even free pet food during these trying times, San Diego Humane Society is here for San Diegans regardless of where they live.

Called SDHS for short, the humane society is an open admission animal shelter that services all of San Diego County’s cities.

“We really want people to know we are here to help them throughout the county,” said Gary Weitzman, president and chief executive officer.

SDHS has five campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, Ramona and San Diego and accepts all sorts of animals, including livestock and wild animals. The shelter’s humane officers pick up strays found along beaches, parks and other parts of communities, and they enforce and investigate animal cruelty and neglect laws.

SDHS also tries to help pet owners keep their pets during hard times. When someone comes in to relinquish a pet, the shelter tries to provide alternative options for the owner so that they may keep the animal, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I couldn’t have gotten through the last nine months as well as I have without my dog,” Weitzman said.

The shelter has also been operating outdoors, so residents can still adopt.

To further help pet owners, SDHS has been providing free pet food at all of its campuses. The shelter recently provided its 1.5 millionth free pet meal.

The shelter even has a wildlife campus in Ramona where animals like bears, skunks, bobcats and coyotes are cared for. SDHS is the only licensed center to take care of those bigger, predatory animals.

SDHS is also partners with Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas and other organizations like the California Wolf Center in Julian.

“We feel like it’s a really important part of our mission,” Weitzman said about the wildlife center. “We want to be there for all animals.”

Recently, SDHS assisted the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, when 12 spiny lobsters that were illegally caught were found in an impounded car in El Cajon. A humane officer released them back into the ocean near the Ocean Beach Pier.

San Diego Humane Society is also highly committed to providing veterinary medicinal services. In 2018, SDHS opened the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine, the first of its kind in California.

Now the shelter is expanding its veterinary services to help even more people keep their animal companions. A new community veterinary service will offer a mobile component that will travel to various parts of the county, providing vouchers to residents while partnering with area veterinarians to help those who can’t afford to go through private veterinary practices.

So regardless of which city you live in, San Diego Humane Society is here for you and your animals.

“We need them,” Weitzman said. “We really need that unconditional love and simplicity of having an animal companion.”

Residents can also help SDHS this December, which is an especially important fundraising time so that the shelter can care for nearly 50,000 animals in the coming year. To learn more about how you can help, visit