“To assist the public in making decisions in the best interest of animals in their care by providing a caring, supportive environment to explore all available options and opportunities for placement.”
Stray animals found by the public within the DAS service area will be admitted to the County Animal Shelter (CAS), scanned for microchip (125kHz frequency) identification, and made available for owner redemption or adoption as provided by law.
DAS will make reasonable efforts to contact the owner of any identified stray animal.
Housing resources permitting, owned cats, dogs, and other small animals relinquished by their owners would be admitted by SDHS and scanned for microchip (125kHz frequency) identification. SDHS and DAS will work jointly in the disposition of these animals. If an animal is identified by microchip or other means as a regulated animal, DAS will be notified and the animal will be admitted directly to the shelter.
Any owner inquiring of SDHS about relinquishment of their pet will first be asked to secure and complete a questionnaire regarding the pet’s history. The questionnaire is age and species specific and will be available to the owner at the front counter. Owners inquiring of DAS about relinquishment will be referred to the SDHS for processing. Once the completed questionnaire is returned to SDHS, an appointment will be made during the Humane Society’s regular business hours. The owner should allow up to 45 minutes for the scheduled counseling session, and the pet should be present.
Provided that housing resources are available, “walk-ins” will be accommodated and the owner will be asked to complete the questionnaire while waiting for the next available opening in the relinquishment schedule. If the owner is unable or unwilling to wait, and the County has adequate animal housing resources, the animal may be admitted through the County intake area during its regular business hours.
If an owned animal is brought to SDHS after the Humane Society’s regular hours but at a time when staff may still be on site, the owner will be asked to contact SDHS staff during the Humane Society’s regular business hours to make a relinquishment appointment.
If the pet is determined to be adoptable/healthy the pet may be admitted to either the SDHS or the County adoption program depending on available animal housing resources.
If the pet is determined to be treatable, i.e., either rehabilitatable or manageable, several options will be discussed with the owner, including the possible acceptance of the pet into SDHS’ limited rehabilitative or management programs. The owner will also be provided information on maintaining the pet in the home or contact information for other rescue or pet adoption programs that might be available. If the owner chooses to leave the animal, and adequate housing resources are available, it will be admitted to the campus for further evaluation. The owner will be counseled that both SDHS and DAS have limited resources for treatment of rehabilitatable or manageable animals.
For pets that are found to be behaviorally manageable, owners will be offered a behavior consultation intended to assist the owner in the development and implementation of a management plan. This management plan may be utilized to assist in establishing a permanent maintenance plan in the home or admission to either the SDHS or DAS adoption program. The private consultation, with SDHS trained behavior staff, will be offered by separate appointment for a fee equivalent to a private training session by the SDHS behavior department.
If the animal needs treatment or intervention for a behavior and/or medical condition that requires resources not available to the SDHS or owner, euthanasia will be offered as an alternative. If the owner determines that euthanasia is the appropriate option for the pet, SDHS agrees to perform euthanasia for a designated fee. Pet Loss counseling and additional information will be offered to the owner to provide supportive assistance during this difficult time. If the owner declines euthanasia, the pet may be admitted to SDHS and held for the applicable time established by law.
If the pet is determined to be unhealthy/untreatable, euthanasia counseling will be offered to assist the owner in making a well-educated decision in the best interest of the pet, family, and the community. SDHS will provide owner requested euthanasia services for the pet, and the owner will be asked to pay the designated fee. Pet Loss counseling and additional information will be offered to the owner to provide supportive assistance during this difficult time. If the owner declines euthanasia, the pet may be admitted to the SDHS and held for the applicable time established by law. If the pet’s status remains unhealthy/untreatable during its stay, euthanasia will be performed in accordance with applicable policy.
In the event any pet is admitted to the SDHS, the owner will be asked to leave a minimum donation of $40.00.
If an owner relinquishes a litter, participation in the SDHS Litter Abatement Program will be discussed.
All animals admitted to SDHS for behavior consultations, post-adoption veterinary examinations, Litter Abatement surgeries, and owner-requested euthanasia are to be admitted through the SDHS Health and Behavior Resource Center.
Alternatives When Housing is at Capacity
During certain periods, especially the summer, animal-housing resources for owner relinquished cats, dogs, and/or other small animals may be unavailable. During these periods, affected owners will be provided alternative options including contact information for other local private animal shelters and rescue groups that may be able to assist in re-homing their pet.
If the animal is adoptable/healthy:
- The Owner will continue to maintain the animal temporarily and check back periodically with SDHS and/or DAS to determine when housing resources become available.
If the animal is treatable (i.e., rehabilitatable/manageable) OR unhealthy/untreatable:
- The owner will obtain necessary veterinary or behavioral treatment and continue to maintain the animal temporarily until the condition is resolved, or until SDHS and/or DAS housing resources become available, or
- If the pet needs treatment that requires resources unavailable to the owner and/or if necessary to alleviate suffering and/or to protect others from potential harm, the owner may request the animal be euthanized.
Animals that are deceased may be accepted by either organization. The individual requesting this service may enter either through the County intake area or SDHS Health and Behavior Resource Center. Payment of a fee not less then $5 will be requested dependent on organization or facility.
Duration of Stay Agreement
The behavior and medical condition of each animal admitted to either the SDHS or DAS adoption program will be re-evaluated during the animal’s stay. If an animal’s condition changes, the animal may be determined to be rehabilitative, manageable or unhealthy/untreatable (or DAS equivalents).
If an animal housed at SDHS is not meeting the Humane Society’s adoption criteria during its stay, it will be placed on the Watch List & Notification Board for review and initiation of appropriate rehabilitation, alternative placement, or euthanasia in accordance with the SDHS Euthanasia Policy. This policy, and the DAS Euthanasia Reduction Policy, is available to the public for review.
Alternative options will be reasonably explored for animals initially accepted by SDHS for adoption, but that fail to continue to meet the adoptability criteria. Some examples of options include, but are not limited to: medical or behavioral rehabilitation within the limited resources of the Humane Society, cooperation with other placement entities, assistance with appropriate foster care, return of the pet to the previous owner, or adoption of the pet with a medical or behavior waiver.
If an animal housed at DAS is not meeting the Department’s adoption criteria during its stay, the animal will be handled in accordance with the DAS Euthanasia Reduction Policy, except that if such animal was originally relinquished to SDHS, DAS agrees to contact SDHS prior to any euthanasia. SDHS agrees to accept the animal and responsibility for owner notification if appropriate, and explore options as previously described.
The SDHS Receiving Manager, or assigned representative, is responsible for making reasonable efforts to contact the previous owner of any relinquished pet admitted to SDHS if, at the time the animal was relinquished, that owner requested to be contacted prior to euthanasia. All findings will be discussed in detail with the owner by appointment with a member of either the SDHS Behavior and Training staff, or the Veterinary Department when appropriate.
If the previous owner still wishes to reclaim the animal, the owner will be responsible for all costs incurred by the Society and/or DAS and charged appropriately. If the owner determines that euthanasia is the appropriate option for the pet, SDHS will provide euthanasia for the pet. The owner will be given the option of being present during the euthanasia procedure and/or viewing the pet post-euthanasia. Please note there is an additional fee if the owner wishes to be present during, or to view their pet following, the euthanasia procedure.
Owner Requested Euthanasia
All owner-requested euthanasia will be processed through the SDHS intake area by appointment, although walk-ins will be accommodated. Certified euthanasia technicians will perform all euthanasia. Pet loss counseling and additional information will be offered to the owner(s) to provide supportive assistance during this difficult time. The owner will be expected to pay a designated fee.
Walk-ins will be accommodated as quickly as possible by SDHS. However, owners that are unable to wait may admit their pet through the DAS intake area.
If such pet is found to be adoptable/healthy the owner will be counseled on alternatives, including placement into the SDHS or DAS adoption program or with another animal rescue or adoption organization. The Campus for Animal Care is committed to finding homes for adoptable animals. As part of that commitment, both SDHS and DAS reserve the right to decline the acceptance of adoptable animals for owner requested euthanasia.
If such pet is found to be treatable, i.e., either rehabilitatable or manageable the owner will be provided proper counseling to determine if other viable options exist to restore this pet to an adoptable status. If the owner determines that euthanasia of the pet is appropriate, SDHS will provide euthanasia services.
If such pet is found to be unhealthy/untreatable SDHS will provide euthanasia services.
Definitions & Terminology
Equivalent DAS categories (see DAS Euthanasia Reduction Policy):
- Behavior: Level 1-2
- Medical: Healthy, no treatment required
Those animals under the age of eight weeks (not weaned and eating on their own) or those animals found to have a treatable medical, congenital or hereditary condition that poses no known significant health or safety risk to itself, other animal or the public and that will require treatment that is within reasonable resources of the Society or Department and/or the adopting owner within our community; and that would restore the pet’s health to an adoptable/healthy state. The medical prognosis must be fair to good to meet this definition.
Equivalent DAS categories:
- Behavior: Level 2
- Medical: Treatment Level 1-4
- Neonatal: Medical-Treatable
Those animals found to have a manageable behavior condition or medical, congenital or hereditary condition that poses no known significant health or safety risk to itself, other animals, or the public and require long-term or life long monitoring for treatment, continued treatment or intervention that is within reasonable resources of the Society or Department and/or owner in our community, and allows the pet to maintain a satisfactory quality of life. The medical and behavioral prognosis must be fair to good to meet this definition.
Equivalent DAS categories:
- Behavior: Level 3
- Medical: Treatment Level 1-4
Those animals either exhibiting or having an established history of a terminal illness, significant combination or chronic conditions (medical & behavioral), a history of aggression to humans, other animals or themselves, under-socialized behavior, or animals that are feral. The medical or behavior prognosis would be poor, guarded or grave to meet this definition.
Equivalent DAS categories:
- Behavior: Level 4-5
- Medical: Non-treatable
- Neonatal: Non-treatable
Prediction of the probable course of a disease or condition in an individual and the chances of recovery.
- Good: Favorable outcome is expected and / or maybe easily managed.
- Fair: Favorable outcome possible and / or manageable.
- Guarded: Possible outcome is unknown.
- Poor: Non-favorable outcome is expected.
- Grave: Death is imminent.
“Regulated” animals are prohibited or disqualified for adoption by law, regulation, or DAS policy. These include animals that are unlawful to possess, relinquished dogs with a documented history of dangerous behavior, and animals that have been classified by DAS as “dangerous dogs.”
A dangerous dog is defined as a dog that:
- Has twice within a 48-month period attacked, bitten, or otherwise caused injury to a person engaged in lawful activity, or
- Has once attacked, bitten, or otherwise caused injury to a person engaged in lawful activity, resulting in death or substantial injury.