RCHS’s Mission and Key Services


RCHS’s Mission and Key Services


Our Mission:​​ “Rancho Coastal Humane Society is dedicated to the rescue and shelter of abandoned companion animals, encouraging adoptions into loving​​ homes, and promoting humane ideals through education and community outreach.”


Animal Adoption: ​​ Trained staff and volunteers match the needs of the pets with the desires of adoptive families. ​​ Each animal receives a veterinary exam, is vaccinated, de-wormed, and is spayed or neutered before being placed with a family. ​​ Other diagnostics and appropriate medical and behavioral treatments are provided for all animals that are found to be treatable. ​​ Last year, RCHS took in and cared for 1036 homeless animals​​ in need---577 dogs and puppies, 427 cats and kittens, and 32 other small animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits. ​​ In addition, RCHS adoption and customer service staff members answer thousands of questions each year from people looking for information about animal care and services.


Shelter-To-Shelter (FOCAS*) Transfer Program: ​​ The transfer program is an expansion of RCHS’s ongoing work to help other shelters by preventing overcrowding and protecting at-risk animals. ​​ Today, the majority of animals cared​​ for by RCHS started their shelter journey elsewhere and were transferred to RCHS for care, rehabilitation and adoption. ​​ Animals come primarily from local area shelters who ask for RCHS’s help, or from shelters outside our community who simply could not provide the care necessary to make these animals ready for adoption. ​​ Last year, 776 animals were transferred to RCHS through this program.


*In 2012, RCHS merged with Friends of County Animal Shelters (FOCAS), a La Jolla based non-profit whose mission was​​ to take animals from our three County animal shelters and place them within a network of foster homes until they could be adopted. ​​ Since the merger, RCHS has substantially increased the number of animals it cares for who are taken from other shelters that​​ do not have the resources to care for them.


Intake of Owner Relinquished Pets: ​​ RCHS receives animals six days a week from owners who, for a variety of reasons, are no longer able to care for their pet. ​​ Last year, RCHS received​​ 141 dogs and puppies, 115​​ cats and kittens, and 4 other owner-relinquished animals​​ at its Encinitas shelter where they are cared for until adoption. ​​ 


Veterinary Medical: ​​ In addition to providing basic medical treatments and routine spay and neuter surgeries, RCHS veterinary staff and partnering veterinarians also provide sophisticated medical and surgical treatments for shelter animals, including orthopedic,​​ 


ophthalmology, and other specialty services for treatable animals. ​​ Many specialized surgeries are outsourced to community veterinarians, as are standard procedures such as x-rays. ​​ That is why we are raising funds to expand and equip the veterinary medical clinic so that more care can be provided for animals on site. ​​ All animals are spayed or neutered before being adopted​​ into new homes. ​​ 


Foster Care: ​​ Foster care volunteers take care of vulnerable shelter animals in their own homes until they are ready for adoption. ​​ Animals are selected to go into foster care on a case-by-case basis. ​​ Examples include young animals under eight weeks of age, mothers with litters, animals that need ongoing medical treatment, animals that are not doing well emotionally in the shelter, animals who need socialization, and sometimes healthy animals to free up kennel space in the shelter. ​​ RCHS relies on 50 active and trained volunteer foster families to care for and nurture these vulnerable pets. ​​ Last year, more than 200 animals were placed in foster care​​ and eventually adopted into loving homes.


Mobile Adoption: ​​ Staff and a dedicated group​​ of volunteers and foster families transport pets to public places such as community fairs for face-to-face meetings with potential adopters. ​​ The Mobile Adoption program offers these pets increased exposure to a variety of neighborhoods and families, and​​ is particularly beneficial to pets in foster care who are listed on our website but who are not in residence at the shelter. ​​ These programs also provide exposure to RCHS and its programs and services, as well as information about animal care to the thousands of people who stop by our booths each year.


Animal Safehouse Program: ​​ Often animals are the first to be hurt in homes where domestic violence occurs. ​​ Research has shown that violence against animals often occurs alongside other crimes such as​​ domestic violence. ​​ Abusers often use violence and threats against pets as part of a pattern of abuse. ​​ RCHS offers the​​ only​​ Animal Safehouse Program (ASP) in San Diego County. ​​ The ASP program provides temporary safe haven for pets of people trying to leave domestic violence situations. ​​ The program was recently expanded to offer temporary care for the pets of veterans suffering from PTSD, and who are being admitted to a VA hospital. ​​ Each year, 100 or more animals are temporarily cared​​ for through this program.


The director of this program also teaches classes to hundreds of law enforcement and domestic violence case workers each year about the connection between animal abuse and abuse against people.



Behavior and Training: ​​ RCHS partners with Get Pawsitive who offers affordable, fee-based classes at RCHS’s Encinitas shelter. ​​ Get Pawsitive leases RCHS’s beautifully renovated training and exercise yards at a discounted rate for public training classes, and in return provides all of the behavior training​​ services for animals in RCHS’s care, and provides specialized training classes for RCHS staff and volunteers who work directly with the animals.


Pet-Assisted Therapy: ​​ The Pet-Assisted Therapy (P-AT) program brings the love of animals to children in a variety of area schools and community organizations. ​​ Special needs children with emotional or autistic challenges, physical disabilities, and children living in shelter programs are the primary recipients of our P-AT visits. ​​ The program touches the lives of​​ 60-70 children per week, 2,600 children per year.


Humane Education: ​​ RCHS offers a variety of education programs for children, including camp programs, youth community service programs, scout programs, tours, and education programs in our local schools.​​ ​​ Guided tours of the shelter are made available for groups of all sizes and ages. ​​ These interactive tours explore the shelter and provide information about responsible pet care, animal behavior and safety, and what to consider when choosing a pet. ​​ Last year,​​ RCHS’s education programs reached more than 2,500 area children.


Community Pet Food Bank: ​​ The Pet Food Bank provides pet food and pet supplies for the benefit of pets living with people on fixed incomes, with people who are sick or disabled, working​​ families that are struggling financially, and people who are homeless. ​​ The purpose of the program is to help keep pets with the families who love them, and prevent them from being relinquished to shelters because their families are temporarily unable to​​ afford their care. ​​ RCHS offers 2-week supplies of pet food at the shelter, and also partners with a variety of community food bank programs. ​​ There are currently 470 pets living in our community that are supported in part by RCHS’s Pet Food Bank.


San Diego Wildlife Center

In early 2018, RCHS will open its San Diego Wildlife Center in Carlsbad. ​​ This program will serve as a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned wildlife. ​​ For more information, visit​​ www.sdpets.org.