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Updated as of 7/13/2020 at 3:15pm


FAQ - Humane Society Services

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  • What Services Are Provided by the Humane Society?

    Hours of Operation:

    • General Business Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. San Diego Campus
    • General Business Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Oceanside and Escondido Campuses
    • Adoptions/Viewing Hours:  10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Vaccination and Microchip Clinics are held at all three campuses during certain hours and days of the week. Check for schedules.
    • Admissions: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Petco, San Diego Campus only: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Stray Holds:

    • Animals are held on a stray hold for 4 days. This hold gives owners time to locate and reclaim their pet. By the 5th day if the owner has not reclaimed/or no one has come forward, SDHS has the authority to identify the appropriate pathway for the animal, such as: adoption, transfer to a rescue, or return to habitat. There are circumstances when stray animals, especially those with owner identification may be held longer than 4 days before they are made available.

    Spay and Neuter Services:

    • San Diego Humane Society provides spay and neuter services for pit bulls, chihuahuas, community cats and house cats at the San Diego, Escondido and Oceanside Campuses. These services are for individuals who must meet eligibility requirements based on income.
    • Appointments can be made by calling 619-299-7012 or online at
    • Fees for surgery are listed at  

    Returns and Rehomes:

    • With San Diego Humane Society’s adoption guarantee, any animal adopted from SDHS can be returned to any of our locations.  An animal can be returned regardless of time, preferably with an appointment. Guests are directed to the Admissions department to schedule an appointment at 619-299-7012 ext. 2241.

    PAWS San Diego:

    A program that helps people keep their pets by providing essential pet services and support to low-income pet families throughout San Diego County.

    5433 Gaines St.
    San Diego, CA 92110
    Hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    619-299-7012 ext. 2100 or 2102


    • Questions regarding wildlife, specific animal species, or Do-It-Yourself solutions:
    • Nuisance wildlife confined to a structure: Contact Wildlife Extraction: 619-692-9453. 
    • For injured or orphaned wildlife:  If able to transport, take animal to the Project Wildlife Care Center at 887 ½ Sherman St., San Diego, CA 92110
    • If the caller cannot transport the injured animal or there’s an animal in need: 619-299-7012. Calls reporting cruelty to wildlife in San Diego: 619-299-7012 or submit a form online at
    • Beached Animal Rescue: 800-541-7325. 

    Community Cats:

    • Trapping cats should only be for the purpose of catching sick or injured cats/kittens or for having them vaccinated and spayed/neutered, which will help reduce unwanted litters of kittens. Community cats should be returned back to the area from which they were found. 
    • The Feral Cat Coalition offers a Trap-Neuter-Return program: 619-758-9194 
    • The East County Animal Rescue also offers Trap-Neuter-Return services:  858-224-3227
    • Community cats have a status of “free roam” and therefore in San Diego County there are no regulatory laws regarding community cats found wandering outside. This means that Humane Officers are not able to capture community cats unless medical attention is needed.
    • A property owner has the right to trap a community cat humanely on their property. If a property owner does trap a community cat, they should immediately deliver the community cat to their local animal shelter where the community cat can be assessed for adoptability, or spay or neutered, vaccinate and return to the community.
    • SDHS also assists the community on ways to live harmoniously with community cats by providing education, altering cats to reduce litters, helping to reduce nuisance behaviors of unaltered cats, and providing information about deterrents to keep cats out of yards.

    Humane Euthanasia:

    • SDHS offers Owner Requested Euthanasia every day, we prefer appointments but can accept walk-ins. Walk-ins should be advised to arrive before 5 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 619-299-7012 ext. 2241 or 2242.

    San Diego Bay Animal Hospital           619-481-3007

    Bay Park Veterinary Clinic                    619-276-1616

    VCA Mission Valley                                619-299-2400

    How many dogs can someone have in Santee: 

    • Residents are currently allowed to keep up to four dogs and/or cats combined, over the age of four months.
    • For further questions on keeping of animals in residential areas or information on kennels, contact the Santee Planning Department at (619) 258-4100.

    Licensing Questions:

    • Dogs are licensed through the shelter that services the jurisdiction where they reside. Please refer to the Jurisdiction Chart at
    • Licenses can be purchased online through PetHub. Refer callers to visit
    • For callers who are having difficulty creating an online profile, please refer to PetHub Customer Service –1-866-795-8440, option #2.
    • Cats are not licensed.
    • For general questions, call 619-299-7012 ext. 2620. For payment issues, 619-299-7012 ext. 2625.
    • For questions from vets, code enforcement, payment issues, etc., call Licensing at 619-299-7012 ext. 2625.

    Common questions about renewal notices:

    • I no longer own the dog/dog passed away/moved out of (named city). Please mark the appropriate box and return the renewal notice.
    • I have recently renewed my dog’s license and now I have a delinquency notice. Why did this happen? There is a one-week turnaround time on renewals, so they might have crossed in the mail.
    • I lost my dog license tag.  How can I get a replacement tag? Replacement tags are $5 and will expire at the same time as the previous tag. They are available at all SDHS Campus locations.

    Animal-related Emergency - Stray Animals

    • Life-threatening or stray animals, call SDHS’ dispatch line: 619-243-3466, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. After 6 p.m. – refer callers to their local law enforcement agencies.
    • For lost pet information, visit
    • If the caller has a stray animal that is confined and would rather keep the pet until the owner is located, call Lost and Found at 619-299-7012 ext. 2854, to file a found pet report.

    Lost & Found Animals:

    • Visit for instructions on filing a found pet report or searching San Diego Humane Society’s database of pets who have arrived at one of the campuses below as found in the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach and Vista. This database is refreshed every 15 minutes. 
    • If the individual lives outside of these cities, direct them to the jurisdiction map by zip code to help them know who can help. The best place to start is their neighborhood and then with the shelter that covers the area the pet was last seen  
      Covering Carlsbad, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Oceanside and Vista
      (619) 299-7012, ext. 2854

    Deceased Animal Removal:


    For removal of a dead animal along a road or other public space, residents should call the City's Public Services hotline at 619-258-4100, ext. 304. 

    How do I reclaim my pet?

    • A government issued photo ID and paperwork or a photo identifying the animal.
    • All dogs are required to leave the shelter with a valid rabies vaccine and license. If they have proof of either, owners should bring that when they come in. It is best if to come in person to discuss fees and to determine if the Humane Society does in fact have the pet. It is recommended that arrive by 5 p.m. to allow plenty of time for processing. If an owner does not have the below documentation they should still come to the shelter to allow SDHS staff to assist them.  

    Proof of ownership may include: vet paperwork, microchip paperwork, license history, adoption paperwork, detailed sales receipt, or photos (last resort).  

    Owner Surrender/Relinquishment:

    • Owners can relinquish their pet without an appointment. 
    • For the safety of the pet dogs should be leashed and cats should be in carriers. If they do not have these they can be provided prior to removing the pet from the car.
    • We recommend they bring any paperwork on their pets with them, as well as the name of the veterinary clinic the animal has been to.

    Vaccination Clinics: 

    Please advise:  

    • Clients must bring a government form of ID and proof of ownership of the pet.

    • Dogs must be leashed and cats must be in carriers.

    • Dogs must be licensed (a license can be purchased at time of vaccination).