County transfers Gaines Street animal shelter to Humane Society

(Photo: San Diego Humane Society)

SAN DIEGO — Saturday was a landmark day for the San Diego Humane Society, as the county’s Gaines Street shelter in Morena temporarily closed to transfer its animals to their new caretakers.

The transition marks one of the final steps in the county’s transfer of jurisdiction over animal services in six cities to the Humane Society.

County contracts with the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach all end Saturday, the end of the fiscal year, as the county explores outsourcing the majority of duties within the Department of Animal Services. The organization will take over animal services for those six cities in what’s being called the biggest milestone of the nonprofit’s 138-year history.

The Gaines Street shelter belongs to the City of San Diego, so the shelter and the city animals housed there will be turned over to the Humane Society.

All three county shelters closed at 1 p.m. Saturday so staff could finish moving animals, but the Carlsbad and Bonita shelters will reopen for regular hours on Sunday as the county continues to provide animal services to unincorporated areas.

As of Sunday, residents of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach will need to contact the Humane Society for animal- related issues. The care burden for the organization — which also serves Escondido, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos and Vista — is expected to grow from 30,000 to 50,000 animals.

Existing pet licenses will remain in effect until they expire, at which point residents can purchase a new one from the Humane Society.