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Inside the Icon: San Diego Humane Society

For over 135 years, SDHS has been promoting animal welfare, preventing cruelty, and educating its community




Photo by Dean Bradshaw

Inauspicious Inauguration

San Diego Humane Society was first organized in 1880 by George W. Marston and George W. Hazzard. Records confirm that the first fine levied was for $2.00 against “Mr. Collins’ boy for overriding a colt.”

International Rescue

The organization saves pets from all over the world; in September 2015, they took in 29 dogs who would otherwise have been slaughtered for meat in South Korea. 

Let Them Live

SDHS implemented Project Zero in 2015, declaring that with its behavior center and adoption programs, no adoptable animal would have to be euthanized in San Diego County that year.

Downward Dog

Setting a new world record, SDHS hosted 250 people and their dogs for a group yoga session with Leash Your Fitness in Carmel Valley.

No Sale

In 2013, San Diego passed the Companion Animal Protection Ordinance, which bans the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores in the city.

Preserving Family Bonds

Project KEPPT (Keeping Every Person and Pet Together) helps people keep their pets during times of personal crisis or financial hardship. Families enrolled in this program receive free pet food through food banks, animal care supplies, behavior and training advice, pet-friendly housing referrals, and veterinary financial aid referrals.

SDHS By the Numbers

In 2014, 6,517 animals were adopted directly from San Diego Humane Society. 1,795 licenses were granted, and 360 microchips were implanted. 

Kitten Care

In 2008, SDHS opened its Kitten Nursery, which delivers 24-hour care to infant kittens before they become eligible for adoption. It was the first program of its kind and has provided a model for other shelters.

A Neighborhood Presence

SDHS has campuses in Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego, as well as adoption centers inside Petco stores throughout San Diego County. 

Gimme Shelter

In 1934, the organization signed a contract with the City of San Diego to operate a shelter, then called “the pound,” under the supervision of the County Department of Health.

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