Case For Support

“Teaching a child to not step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.”

Bradley Miller

 Case For Support

Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s

Shelter Expansion Campaign

“Because They Need Us” 


They fill our hearts and brighten our lives.  Now it’s time to give back.

That’s why we’re asking you to make a life-changing difference for homeless pets today and for years to come—to help us keep doing our very best for thousands of pets who deserve a better tomorrow.  With your generous support, we can create a brighter future for homeless pets in our community.

Please read on to learn how you can be part of Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s Shelter Expansion Campaign for its Encinitas shelter.

The Need…

Since it opened in 1960, Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) has cared for and found homes for thousands of homeless and unwanted dogs, cats and other small animals who had nowhere else to go.

Over the years, the shelter has undergone a series of updates in order to optimize space and provide the best possible care for homeless pets, but time has caught up with the shelter.  Key portions of the buildings—most notably the veterinary medical facility—have remained largely untouched for decades.  And while thousands of dogs, cats and other small animals have been cared for, the lives of shelter pets at RCHS would be greatly improved by renovations, particularly in the veterinary medical facility.

In addition, other areas of the shelter require expansion, relocation or modernization in order to meet today’s needs.  The education center is too small and inadequate to meet the demand for services, and children are being turned away from our youth programs.

Our ability to feed more animals, both in-house and through our community programs, will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a pet food storage facility.  And, new meeting and office space will help RCHS better position itself for the needs of the animals and people in our community today, and in the future.

Our existing shelter no longer fulfills the needs of the animals that depend on us or the community’s need for services.

Our building project will create a modern veterinary medical center, a new education center, a pet food storage facility and office space to better serve the animals and people in our community.

This project will help RCHS maximize the capacity and capabilities of the shelter, help save animals’ lives, educate the community about animal care and the humane treatment of animals, and maintain its 98% live release rate for homeless pets—one of the highest placement rates in the country.

Time Has Changed Animal Welfare…

 Over the past ten years, we have seen significant changes in the pet population at our shelter—changes that require more sophisticated responses to their needs, along with a greater investment of time and resources to rehabilitate pets so they can find new, loving homes.

Today, we are caring for—and saving—many pets that would not have been considered candidates for adoption 10 years ago.  Pets that are older, pets with fractured limbs, pets that have serious but treatable injuries or illnesses, and pets that shut down out of fear in a shelter setting.

Pets like these are coming to us in growing numbers today, not only from owners, but also from other shelters that ask for RCHS’s help because they do not have the resources to care for them.  And today, we are giving them a chance.  Our compassionate community has enabled us to successfully rehabilitate and place more pets through generous financial support, by volunteering their time and talents, and by opening their homes and hearts to shelter pets in need.

In recent years, most of the cats and dogs that we adopted into new, loving homes required veterinary care beyond spay or neuter surgery, and hundreds required out-patient care at community veterinary hospitals because we do not have the medical facilities or equipment to treat them on site.

At the same time, demand for RCHS’s education programs, including camp programs for children, community service opportunities for local school-age teens, and adult education programs has increased each year.  These programs are in such high demand that children are being turned away from camp programs and community service opportunities, and our other community education programs are severely limited due to a lack of space.

We Can Do This…

At this pivotal moment, we have a unique opportunity to create a shelter that will provide the best possible care—and the best possible outcomes—for homeless pets.

Longstanding and generous friends of RCHS have already committed $1.3 million toward the $3.5 million needed for this project.

Lead gift donors include Pam and Jerry Cesak, the PETCO Foundation, Roger Thieme and Sylvia Steding-Thieme, and Scott Andreiko.  Major gift donors include Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, Linda Denio, County of San Diego, Maria Cohen, the Gaslamp Strip Club, and others.  In all, nearly 300 individuals, foundations, and companies have already contributed to help make this exciting project possible.

Our goals can only be reached with your help.  You can play a vital role in making life-changing differences for homeless pets today and for years to come.

That is why we are counting on your compassion, your participation, and your generosity. 

Improving The Shelter, Saving Lives… 

To achieve our goal of providing optimum care and the greatest number of new beginnings for homeless pets at our shelter, and of educating the community about pet care and the humane treatment of animals, we are undertaking a shelter expansion.

Here are some of the highlights of the renovation, along with the benefits they bring to the animals and people we serve.  

Veterinary Services

Charlotte’s Medical Center

An Area that Saves Lives!


Construct a new, 4,900 square foot, modern and well-equipped veterinary medical center that will serve more pets with complex, but treatable medical needs.

  • Provide appropriate space for surgery, dental care, critical care and disease isolation and treatment to better meet our current needs while allowing for future growth.
  • Build an intensive care/recovery area to enhance the care of animals following surgery.
  • Build separate dog and cat wards to reduce stress on animals under medical care.
  • Build isolation areas for dogs and cats to better separate healthy pets from ill pets.
  • Build two new surgery suites and a radiology area enabling RCHS to treat more animals on-site.
  • Build separate exam, treatment, and pharmacy areas, and create office space for medical staff members.
  • Build a separate housing area for pets in our Animal SafeHouse Program—those animals in temporary care so their owner(s) can leave domestic violence situations knowing that their pet(s) will be cared-for on a temporary basis until they can be reunited.
  • Build a separate Serenity Room for the humane euthanasia of animals who are too sick to save.


  • By improving our veterinary medical areas, we will be able to better serve an increasing number of shelter pets with more complex needs while at the same time reducing the overall cost per pet.
  • Creating designated areas for specific procedures saves time moving equipment, and allows exams, treatments, and surgeries to be conducted simultaneously.
  • In the new hospital, animals will be kept comfortable and calm in smaller holding and recovery areas that separate dogs and cats.
  • We will also be better equipped to meet the demand for veterinary care for the pets who are transferred to RCHS from other shelters that do not have the resources to save them, thereby creating better outcomes for more pets.
  • As time and funding allow, the new medical center will help RCHS assist local rescue groups with spay/neuter and other medical treatments for animals in rescue care.

Humane Education Center

Contributing to a More Humane Community


Construct a new and expanded, 3,983 square foot Learning Center that will enhance our ability to educate and interact with people in the community.

  • Construct flexible, multi-purpose meeting rooms to accommodate both small and large group programs.
  • Create a conference room for staff, volunteer and board meetings—something that is non-existent in the current shelter.
  • Include kitchen facilities for preparing refreshments for meetings, training, and RCHS special events.
  • Provide covered porches where small group programs can be held, particularly education programs for children.
  • Create storage areas for tables, chairs and education supplies.
  • Provide office space for humane educators.


  • Allow for increased participation in RCHS’s children’s camp programs in response to demand and community need.
  • Enable more local students to fulfill required community service projects at the shelter while providing needed assistance to shelter staff, and at the same time learn about taking care of animals in a shelter setting.
  • Create appropriate space for volunteer training and recognition programs.
  • Enable RCHS to host on-site, donor education, cultivation and recognition events to help build donor involvement and retention, thus helping RCHS provide services for more animals and people, and ensure that the organization can do so long into the future.

Community Pet Food Bank

Helping Animals and People in Need 


Enlarge RCHS’s pet food and pet supplies storage capacity from 300 square feet to 775 square feet.

  • Create a clean, dry, area for Pet Food Bank volunteers to work as they pre-package 2-week supplies of pet food for Pet Food Bank clients, as well as create a covered distribution area for bi-monthly Community Pet Food Bank activities.
  • Create needed office space.


  • Replaces RCHS’s pet food storage area with a larger, dry and pest free building.
  • Volunteers are indispensable to the Pet Food Bank program. The new pet food storage building provides a clean, covered and healthy environment for volunteers to work.
  • Enable RCHS to accept larger quantities of donated pet food for feeding both RCHS animals and animals in need in the community through the Pet Food Bank.

Behavior & Training Office Space


  • Create needed office space for the behavior training program, in close proximity to RCHS’s existing dog training and play yards.
  • Provide restroom facilities for participants in community behavior & training programs.
  • Replaces space that behavior & training staff are currently using, which will be torn down to accommodate the new Learning Center.


  • Ensures the continuation of animal behavior and training services for animals in RCHS’s care.
  • Ensures on-site, positive reinforcement animal behavior and training for RCHS staff and volunteers.
  • Brings members of the community to RCHS’s campus for community behavior and training classes.

We Need Your Help To Save More Lives… 

While our mission to end pet homelessness and animal suffering remains constant, transformative changes are needed in order to meet new challenges and find new solutions.  We know we can save more homeless animals’ lives.  And, we know we are fortunate to be in a community that shares our values and believes that how we treat animals is an integral part of our community character.

We ask for your help in building this transformative shelter where no adoptable animal misses the opportunity for a second chance. 

RCHS is working with Architects BP Associates on design concepts, is awaiting approval of its application for building permits with the City of Encinitas, and is appealing to animal-lovers everywhere to raise the needed funds for building construction.