by Photo courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society

The San Diego Humane Society is looking for community members to help create space in its overcrowded shelters as it faces unprecedented challenges in housing animals. 

Shelters are also facing cases of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) which is adding to being over capacity at Escondido, El Cajon, Oceanside and San Diego, according to SDHS officials.  

CDV is a contagious and sometimes fatal viral infection in dogs and some wild animals such as raccoons, foxes and skunks. Vaccinated dogs are immune to CDV but unvaccinated dogs are not. 

SDHS officials say shelter dogs who have either tested positive or been exposed to CDV, are being quarantined according to appropriate disease management protocols. The organization has temporarily suspended the intake of owner-surrendered dogs until Jan.15. 

San Diego Humane Society currently has 1,201 animals in care. More than 600 of them are available for adoption. 

 “For every dog we adopted out in 2022, we took in two more who needed our help,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. “Now, with our shelters full we are calling on our community to help us create additional space to house animals in need. And while there is never an ideal time to face these challenges, CDV, as well as reduced capacity due to construction at our San Diego Campus, is making our appeal for adopters and fosters more urgent than ever.”

The SDHS said community members may help in the following ways: 


SDHS has a critical need for foster homes for dogs, especially those who have been exposed to CDV and are under quarantine. Getting these deserving pets into foster care will reduce the spread of disease, increase the quality of life for dogs during their quarantine period, and free up space in at-capacity shelters. Support will be provided to fosters every step of the way. Learn more or sign up at<>.


If you have been considering adding a pet to your home, now is a great time to adopt. In addition to giving a deserving animal a home for the holidays, you’ll create much-needed shelter space for animals with nowhere else to turn. Visit<> to view pets who are ready for new homes.

Seek support.

If you are considering relinquishing your animal, we have resources to keep pets with their families through challenging times. Visit<> for more information.

Rehome pets.

If a community member cannot keep their pet, we ask they try rehoming them before bringing them to the shelter. SDHS offers rehoming resources that can help. These tools allow pet owners to create a profile for their adoptable pet and place the animal directly in their new home — eliminating the need for a shelter stay.

Reunite stray animals with their owners. 

Many stray pets are found close to home! If you find a stray animal, there are steps you can take<> to reunite them directly with their owner, skipping a trip to the shelter. Visit<>.


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