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San Diego Humane Society

Rescue Partner Promise and Guidelines

cat_cone.jpgCore Values

Maintaining successful working relationships with animal placement organizations and rescue groups is vital to saving animal lives in our community. Our organization Core Values guide our mission to Inspire Compassion. Here’s how we apply our core values to our relationships with our Rescue Partners:

  • Have the Courage to make tough decisions and take smart risks
  • Demonstrate Empathy for your colleagues and our guests
  • Remain Engaged and committed to our mission
  • Be Enthusiastic and demonstrate excitement and interest in our efforts
  • Seek out ways to be Impactful in the animal welfare movement and your role
  • Lead with Integrity and treat everyone with respect
  • Strive to be Resourceful and see challenges as opportunities for improvement


What to expect as a Rescue partner Our director for rescue and recovery, Sarah Thompson, reaches out to our Rescue Partners by phone or email and asks for help in rescuing healthy, treatable and unhealthy/untreatable animals. Sarah serves as the primary contact for all external rescue groups and animal welfare organization partners. We also have Foster and Rescue Specialists working at each of our Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego Campuses who will also reach out to our Rescue Partners for assistance. 

Our promise to our Rescue Partners

  1. We will maintain positive and open communication when interacting with our colleagues and ask for the same in return.
  2. We will address any questions or concerns with our Rescue Partner designees and request that all concerns are directed to Sarah Thompson, director of rescue and recovery, at
  3. We will offer additional benefits to our Rescue Partners including, but not limited to:
    1. Free spay/neuter surgery of any animal transferred to a Rescue Partner
    2. Free vaccinations for any animal transferred to a Rescue Partner
    3. Free microchip for any animal transferred to a Rescue Partner
    4. Free consultation with one of our veterinarians with the rescue group veterinarian
    5. Free behavior consultation with one of our trainers
    6. Free pet food (mostly cat or dog food) when available, through our PAWS program
    7. Free listing of Rescue Partner’s organization on the San Diego Humane Society website and opportunities to partner at community events
    8. Free Rescue Partner spotlight on our social media channels when able
    9. Free sharing of in-kind donations such as water bowls, leashes, kitty litter, pet supplies, treats and other donations we receive, when available
    10. Free rental of our classrooms and auditoriums as available
  4. We will make it easy to get started as a Rescue Partner:
    1. Complete and submit our online Rescue Partner Questionnaire here.
    2. Proof of 501(c)3 status should be submitted with the Rescue Partner Questionnaire.
  5. We will re-home animals responsibly, with community and animal safety in mind, and ask the same of our Rescue Partners.
  6. We will maintain facilities that are clean, safe and adequate for housing animals, and ask the same of our Rescue Partners.
  7. We will utilize humane, positive-reinforcement training methods and ask the same of our Rescue Partners.
  8. We will be flexible and courteous with our Rescue Partners when discussing an animal and ask the same of our Rescue Partners.
  9. We will evaluate every animal for alternative placement on a case-by-case basis and will contact multiple Rescue Partners requesting assistance for the animal.
  10. We will maintain a Special Needs Pets page on our website to encourage adoption and/or rescue of unhealthy/untreatable animals.
  11. We will work primarily with local animal placement organizations, but may contact organizations outside of San Diego County on a case-by-case basis.
  12. We will not ask for an adoption/transfer fee from our Rescue Partners and are unable to provide monetary compensation for animals exited.

Terminating Our Partnership

  1. We will need to terminate our relationship at any time with a Rescue Partner for the following reasons:
    1. Inhumane or unsanitary housing conditions
    2. Substantiated history of animal abuse or neglect or other unlawful history relating to the care and placement of animals
    3. Use of a transferred animal for food consumption or fighting
    4. Acerbic verbal or written abuse or harrassment of San Diego Humane Society staff or volunteers
    5. Documented communication of inaccurate, vitriolic and malicious information on social media, to constituents, the media, or email, maligning our organization, especially without reaching out to our director for rescue and recovery to address concerns beforehand

Pricing and Lagistics  

We Promise A Safe And Easy Transfer Process Any animal on our website is available for free transfer to a Rescue Partner. We waive all adoption fees for Rescue Partners transferring animals from San Diego Humane Society.

  1. For legal and safety reasons, we ask that only authorized representatives from our Rescue Partners interact with and physically transfer animals. These representatives will be able to request information, interact with, and transfer animals from any of the SDHS locations. Additional representatives can always be added by notifying Sarah Thompson, director for rescue and recovery, at
  2. Once a Rescue Partner has agreed to accept the animal, we ask for the animal to be transferred within three days (72 hours) of agreement, unless we require additional time to ready the animal (e.g. spay / neuter, completion of medical care, etc.) and will communicate accordingly.
  3. We ask that our Rescue Partners contact the director for rescue and recovery and provide the name, animal ID# and location of the animal, if known, when interested in transferring an animal.
  4. We will provide partnering organizations with pertinent information on the specific animal, including behavior, medical, current status and any known history.
  5. If a Rescue Partner is interested in an animal based on the information provided, we will schedule a time for an authorized representative to assess the animal. A staff member will be assigned to meet the authorized party for the interaction and can answer any additional questions during the visit.
  6. Once a Rescue Partner has confirmed and committed to the transfer:
    1. The animal will be scheduled for spay/neuter, if needed, at no cost to the Rescue Partner.
    2. We will provide short-term medications if the animal is under treatment for an illness, such as kennel cough, for free. We also offer a free consultation with one of our veterinarians with the veterinarian of the Rescue Partner’s choosing.
    3. We will work with the organization to schedule a pick-up date and will have a staff member assist the Rescue Partner representative.
    4. We ask Rescue Partners to travel to the appropriate SDHS facility to finalize transfer and pick up animals.
    5. In special cases and/or if it is in the best interest of the animal, we may transport an animal between campuses or directly to the Rescue Partner location.
  7. An authorized representative of the organization must be present to complete the transfer by signing the Transfer Terms and Conditions and the Animal Release Agreement.
  8. We ask that all representatives come prepared with adequate transportation, carriers and supplies to transport safely and legally.
  9. We will provide the following, if available, to the transferring organization upon release of an animal:
    1. All medical notes, treatments and diagnostics
    2. All medications to go home, as needed
    3. All behavior notes and treatment plans, as applicable
    4. All relevant history or general animal notes
    5. All copies of all signed documents and receipts between the SDHS and Rescue Partner transferring the animal
    6. All information associated with the implanted microchip including tag and registration form, if available and as applicable

Questions or Concerns

Please direct any questions or concerns to Sarah Thompson, director for rescue and recovery, at Thank you for partnering with us to save lives!


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