San Diego Humane Society Announces Merger

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA (SDHSSPCA) will merge with the Escondido Humane Society, forming what is believed will be the largest animal sheltering organization in the country.

The combined organization will operate under the name San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and will continue to have Dr. Gary Weitzman as president and CEO. Sally Costello, executive director of the Escondido Humane Society, will join the organization as vice president of strategic initiatives.

“We know there will be some subtle cultural differences but we are all on the same page when it comes to helping the people and animals in San Diego,” said Costello.

According to a SDHSSPCA spokeswoman, all other employees from Escondido Humane Society will retain their positions working at the new San Diego Humane Society Escondido Campus. The two nonprofits had been working together for several years and those collaborations eventually evolved into a merger exploration committee in February 2014. The combined organizations now have an operating budget of $23.5 million.

“We have been eagerly anticipating this day because we know how combining resources will save more of the most vulnerable animals in our community,” said Weitzman. “Our organizations have been working together to save homeless pets in San Diego County for quite some time but now we can make an even greater impact together.”

The shelter location in Escondido will operate as the “San Diego Humane Society, Escondido Campus,” joining the San Diego Humane Society’s existing San Diego and Oceanside Campuses. As a result of the merger, SDHSSPCA will be able to commit additional resources to advance animal welfare services and will offer increased services for individual pet owners coping with separating from a pet, according to the organization.

According to Weitzman, current program offerings and community service at both organizations will continue uninterrupted.  The animal control contracts managed by the Escondido Humane Society in the cities of San Marcos, Poway and Escondido will remain in place under the San Diego Humane Society Escondido Campus and will be fulfilled as contracted.

“We’ve been saving all healthy and treatable animals for several years,” said Weitzman. “Now our focus is on assisting other local animal shelters reduce the number of animals euthanized for medical and behavior reasons in San Diego County.”