The Coast News Group
The new building marks the second phase in a multiyear mission to rebuild the Helen Woodward Center’s aging facilities. Courtesy rendering
Community Rancho Santa Fe

Woodward breaks ground on center upgrade

RANCHO SANTA FE — Helen Woodward Animal Center broke ground on a new Adoptions Building with a private ceremony Jan. 14 for center staff, supporters, board members and friends. The construction of the new building marks the second phase in the Campaign for Caring — a multi-year mission to rebuild the center’s aging facilities, many of which have been in place since the organization’s founding in 1972.

In 1972, 300 animals came through the center doors each year. Today, approximately 3,500 orphan pets receive care and placement annually, despite its staff working within the same medical and adoptions structure. The center now accepts 95 percent of its orphan pets from animal shelters around the country, all requiring physical and behavioral exams upon entry, as well as vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries.

Perhaps most pressing, the dimensions of HWAC’s adoption surgery suite, built more than 45 years ago, is only slightly larger than a closet — with a single surgery table to perform thousands of surgeries per year. On a typical day, the tiny exam room and its medical staff see incoming orphan pets, foster animals in need of medical treatment, and center orphan pets in need of immediate medical care.

Plans for the new adoptions building include a more efficient and private entrance for transfer partners bringing in animals; a larger office for adoption’s veterinarians; a second exam room for use by the rest of the medical team; and a larger surgical suite with room for two surgery tables that can be utilized simultaneously.

During construction, HWAC will remain open for adoptions in an interim area labeled “The Adoptions Village.” Information can be found at