RCHS Yesterday and Today


RCHS Yesterday and Today​​ 



Maria Kulakova Lloyd was a familiar sight in the rural hills of North County, more than 50 years ago, patrolling on a solitary mission to rescue any stray​​ dog, starving horse or injured wildlife fortunate enough to cross her path. ​​ As the numbers of abandoned, orphaned and injured animals she cared for increased, Lloyd enlisted her friend, Margaret Bittner, and others to form the Animal Friends’ Guild. ​​ They​​ envisioned a humane society to care for lost and abandoned animals, and they opened a thrift store to raise funds for the shelter.


Maria and her husband, Dr. Paul Lloyd, donated 5.5 acres on Requeza Street in Encinitas, and construction began on Rancho Coastal Humane Society. ​​ Its doors opened in 1960, and RCHS has been serving animals and people throughout San Diego County for the past 57 years. ​​ 


Today, RCHS is a private, non-profit organization that is dependent upon community contributions to support​​ its programs. ​​ It still operates a thrift store in Cardiff to help cover expenses. ​​ RCHS owns its land and buildings.


RCHS does not hold animal control contracts, and has handled only animals that have been relinquished by their owners or that have been​​ transferred from other shelters. ​​ 


RCHS is a member of the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition (SDAWC) consisting of seven local shelters in San Diego County who work in cooperation to save animals’ lives. Members of the SDAWC include: ​​ San Diego County Department of Animal Services, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, Friends of Cats, Coronado Animal Control, El Cajon Animal Control, and Chula Vista Animal Care. ​​ Animals are often moved between Coalition shelters to ensure they are given the best possible care and to ensure that overcrowding does not occur. ​​ As a result of these cooperative working relationships, no healthy animals are euthanized in SDAWC shelters.


As part of a long-range planning effort, RCHS’s board of directors approved an expansion of its facilities with plans to add a veterinary medical center, an educational learning center, increase its pet food and pet supplies storage capacity, and add some much needed office space.




Some noteworthy facts about RCHS​​ today include:


  • RCHS has been​​ serving the San Diego community for 57 years, offering programs and services for animals and people in need.

  • RCHS is an​​ independent organization​​ and is not corporately affiliated with any other local humane society or with​​ any national organization.

  • RCHS is a​​ private, not-for-profit​​ organization that does not receive public or government funding through animal control contracts, nor does it receive funding from any national organization. ​​ Its​​ annual operating budget of $3.5​​ million​​ is funded primarily through charitable contributions, corporate and foundation grants, some investment income, proceeds from its thrift store, and some fees for service. ​​ 

  • RCHS is​​ governed by a​​ ten-member​​ volunteer board of directors​​ made up of​​ community leaders and business and financial executives.

  • RCHS does not maintain ‘time limits’ for animals in its care. ​​ RCHS does not euthanize healthy or treatable animals.

  • RCHS​​ spays or neuters​​ all animals prior to adoption. ​​ 

  • More than​​ 15,000 children and adults​​ participate in RCHS’s programs each year. ​​ 

  • Last year, RCHS​​ placed 951 animals​​ and returned 34 animals reclaimed by their owners. ​​ RCHS’s​​ ‘live release rate’ of 98 percent​​ for animals coming into its care is one of the highest in the country.

  • Each year, more than​​ 300 active volunteers​​ contribute their time and talents across all programs to help animals and people in need.