Community Phase Kicks Off with a Bark

After 64 years in the “Little Yellow House” where Rancho Coastal Humane Society began in 1960, the shelter is leaping into the future with its new Veterinary Medical Center, Learning Center, Pet Food Bank, and Behavior & Training Office. The “Community Campaign Kickoff” started on Leap Day, Thursday, February 29th when RCHS President and CEO Judi Sanzo welcomed donors and volunteers for a sneak peek at the construction.

Sanzo says, “This project started with the compelling need for a new medical facility, which only could be built where the former Education Center stood. Everything evolved from there.”

The path behind Rancho Coastal Humane Society in 1960 became Interstate 5. Surrounding pastures have given way to houses, apartments, businesses, churches, and a hospital. Longtime residents remember when the Humane Education Center was the home to “Milton Burro” and the current Medical Center once served as a laundry room and an isolation room for sick and recovering pets. Sanzo says, “Encinitas grew up around us. Now we’re expanding to meet the growing needs of the people and pets in our community.”

For more information, to make a donation, or to learn about sponsorship and naming opportunities, please visit


Here are a few notes about the project:

  • The project is expected to be completed in late Summer 2024.
  • Campaign fundraising target is $16 million. Having raised more than 90% of what we need, we are about to enter the community phase of the capital campaign, and we are confident that San Diego residents will support this campus expansion.
  • The state-of-the-art Veterinary Medical Center will be more than 5,000 square feet and offer a dedicated space for our Animal Safehouse Program ensuring safety of pets of domestic violence survivors since 1997.
  • The new Learning Center will be more than 2,000 square feet, with capacity to gather more than 200 people for education & training seminars and community events. (Our Education Center previously had a capacity of 45.)
  • The RCHS Community Pet Food Bank will grow to 770 square feet. It began in a lean-to on the side of our main building.
  • Our Welcome Center will be expanded by 275 square feet and refreshed for a better adoption experience.
  • We also are building a canine training office of 455 square feet.

 Rancho Coastal Humane Society is located at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas.