San Diego Humane Society

Gary Weitzman
Dr. Gary Weitzman


San Diego Humane Society started offering free microchips and ID tags during their neighborhood outreach drives while also updating their microchip registration process and materials to have available in English and Spanish.. Their partnership between the Community Pet Pantry and Pacific Housing, a 501c3 that manages affordable housing communities throughout San Diego, has continued to evolve. They are now supporting 50 pet owners at five facilities, two of whom are senior-focused. SDHS’s Community Pet Pantry has distributed over 2 million pet meals to the community during the pandemic.

San Diego Humane Society (Director, Gary Weitzman) has added a housing support tile to their community support services page of our website. This section contains our new housing FAQ, recently updated pet-friendly housing list and other useful links. In December SDHS began distributing pet jackets to their Community Pet Pantry partners and directly to community members. In 30 days they gave out 1,800 jackets and sweaters, many of them going to unhoused pet owners. On the data tracking side they made some adjustments to their database for COVID specific relinquishment and emergency boarding data tracking. This data will help identify and prepare preventative programs and areas of focus.

San Diego Humane Society has started a pilot program bringing access to veterinary services directly into underserved neighborhoods on Mondays. The first event was Nov. 23 in partnership with Dreams for Change. We brought our mobile clinic and Medical team to their parking lot, which is a designated safe space for people experiencing homelessness and living in their cars. We had scheduled 14 appointments from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to provide preventative care including vaccines, wellness checks, nail trims, flea treatments, microchipping, licensing, free pet food and more. With walk-ins (aka people waiting in their cars), we were able to maintain safety guidelines and see approximately 40 pets! Our Medical and Licensing teams were incredible and the guests were truly grateful. The Community Vet Services team along with volunteers also provided veterinary vouchers for pets who needed further medical care and free vouchers for spay/neuters.

Since the first Mobile Monday, we’ve held two more: Nov. 30 at the Northgate Market in Southcrest and Dec. 7 at the Family Health Care Center of San Diego. A fourth and final pilot is scheduled for Dec. 28 at the Northgate Market in Southcrest.

Additionally, our Community Outreach team started working with San Ysidro High School in Spring 2020. We’ve been able to share the following resources with them:

  • Virtual programs for students, including a careers presentation and virtual tour
  • A staff member from our volunteer engagement team has joined the lessons with the English Language Learner classes to translate
  • Students have commented on how much they enjoyed having this and being able to ask questions and speak to someone in Spanish – made it much more accessible and they felt more comfortable
  • Adoptions by families of students that learned about SDHS
  • Monthly pet food distribution (serving ~100 pet families). Shared resource handout with each recipient.
  • Case management for families that have reached out to us for additional assistance. Some of those cases include:
    • Guinea pigs having babies and needing support with sexing and rehoming
    • Rosie has reached out to student personally and spoken with her on the phone
    • A family with 17 dogs
    • A student wanting to provide enrichment for their pet rabbit

Our plans for 2021 include continuing this partnership, with monthly lessons for 2 classes and monthly food distributions, and offering an onsite career camp for students

San Diego Humane President and CEO, Gary Weitzman was featured in this article on The Washington Post.

San Diego Humane Society successfully launched our adoption ambassador program and 7 animals were adopted the within the first few days, directly from foster!

San Diego Humane Society is piloting a program with rideshare app Uber to help pet owners and their animals with transportation needs.

Through partnerships with local veterinary offices, San Diego Humane Society have soft-launched a spay/neuter voucher program to help more pet owners in our communities access important services.

San Diego Humane Society’s participation in HASS is an evolution of our existing safety net work. We have always been dedicated to both ends of the leash, with programs that support animals and the people who love them. HASS philosophy further supports our mission, vision and values.

San Diego Humane Society looked carefully into data and found that nearly 3,000 animals who entered our shelter as a stray last year, and who were reclaimed by their owners, were found within a mile of their home. With HASS we are looking at how we can take a deeper community centered approach to support getting these animals home quicker. San Diego Humane Society is expanding return-to-owner (RTO) efforts with resources and communication to high-intake communities about what to do when you find a stray pet. We are also placing microchip scanners in those same communities, for example at fire stations and libraries, so pets can return home faster without having to come to the shelter first.

San Diego Humane Society has partnerships with over a 100 local veterinary offices. With our focus on supporting humans and animals, we have been able to secure funding to expand our vet voucher program to support owners in getting their pets medical care when needed. We also partner with other human and animal social service groups to provide a holistic approach in pulling resources together!