Edit ModuleShow Tags

County of San Diego Department of Animal Services




In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless by the storm’s destruction. But Gulf Coast residents weren’t Mother Nature’s only victims—their four-legged friends were also left without shelter and, in many cases, without their masters. As evacuees were displaced across the country, so were their pets. Thanks to organizations like the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS), more than 100 dogs are currently receiving care in San Diego, awaiting reunions with their owners.

A government agency, the San Diego DAS operates three shelters in San Diego County: one in Bonita, one in Carlsbad and a third, the Kroc-Copley Animal Shelter, on the Campus for Animal Care in Linda Vista. Each year, all three shelters take in 27,000 animals: dogs, cats, horses, reptiles. “You name it, it’s been here,” says Dawn Danielson, DAS director. “We are the lead agency in San Diego for animal rescue after any disaster.”

In fact, when San Diego suffered the devastating wildfires in 2003, the DAS worked with the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA to rescue more than 3,000 animals. This year, the two organizations were part of a coalition of seven shelters that rescued 102 dogs from the Gulf Coast region, performing medical triage and serving as a temporary home for the displaced pets.

In addition to rescue, sheltering and adoption services, the DAS also provides microchipping, licensing, spaying, neutering and animal-related law enforcement.

“Our officers enforce state regulatory and cruelty laws, protecting people from dangerous animals and protecting animals from dangerous people,” Danielson adds.

The Kroc-Copley Animal Shelter is the largest of the three DAS shelters, funded, in part, by a $2 million donation from Joan Kroc and a $2 million donation from Helen Copley. Constructed three years ago, the shelter shares its campus with the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, an organization Danielson calls a great complement to the DAS. While the Humane Society does public education and adoption services, the DAS is the only agency allowed to take in stray animals. Partnerships with other animal organizations, such as FOCAS and the San Diego Veterinary Medicine Association, aid the DAS in vaccinating, treating and placing its needy animals. Volunteers at the shelter provide cleaning, training and exercise for the pets, as well as to help match people with the right dog or cat—a relationship that Danielson believes is essential to the community.

“The human-animal bond is so important, and the residents of this county demand that strays and all animals are treated very well,” she says. “We are lucky in San Diego to have elected officials that listen and are supportive of this department. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Best of San Diego Party 2015 Video

The sold-out Best of San Diego Party gathered the top restaurants, wineries and breweries for an unforgettable evening at NTC Venues at Liberty Station

Spotlight on Women

Meet Meghan McCool of CARE Medical Transportation, and the founder of MedFirst Inc.

San Diego Magazine's 2015 Woman of the Year Awards

Celebrating 10 years of mentoring and inspiration
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Charitable Events

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Farm to Fable
    Deception, fraud, and honest mistakes in the farm-to-table movement
  2. Best of San Diego in Pictures
    A look at the stories behind 15 of our favorite images
  3. Secret San Diego
    Here are some of the city’s most hush-hush spots, from hidden ocean caves to off-menu, must-try bites
  4. FIRST LOOK: Bracero
    The hottest thing in San Diego food right now is Mexico. And there is no chef more primed to show what Baja can do than Javier Plascencia. Take a first look at his new spot in San Diego, Bracero Cocina De Raiz.
  5. FIRST LOOK: Cafe Gratitude
    Healthy gourmet is the future. L.A.'s Cafe Gratitude has become one of the breakout stars of the movement. They open their first San Diego location in Little Italy this week. San Diego Mag unveils the first photos...
  6. San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z
    Here’s our guide to buying the right tickets, getting the good seats, eating the best tacos, drinking the best cocktails, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags