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If you’re thinking about getting a pet you have a couple different choices for how you could do that. You could, of course, go to a breeder. One of the most interesting options to consider though is to adopt an animal who needs help from a shelter. There are loads of cute animals all over the world who end up in shelters and need a home. Adopting these animals can save their lives and can be a wonderful thing to do. You can adopt all sorts of animals from shelters, meaning you should be able to find exactly what you are looking for just as if it was from a breeder. Here are 5 California animal shelters:

Central California SPCA


California’s Central Valley SPCA is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in California and it services the central valley, especially Fresno. They help enforce the animal control laws in the city of Fresno and they help the whole central valley with a wide host of different animal related activities such as adoptions, fostering programs, spays and neuters, as well as providing a number of different outreach and educational programs. They are a non profit as a 501c3 charity. Central California’s SPCA claims that each year nearly 30,000 animals cross their door and over 5,400 spay and neuters are performed. There are so many animals so you could probably find one that is perfect for you.

Humane Society of Silicon Valley


The Humane Society of Silicon Valley is a wonderful shelter. They’re one of the oldest, yet also one of the most innovative shelters that is based in California. Established in 1929, the shelter does all sorts of normal shelter activities such as adoptions, fostering, spays and neuters. It is also a shelter that really ends up pushing the box though. In 2017 it became the first model shelter, which is a distinction that was created by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians to make sure that all of the animals in the shelter had five freedoms (freedom from hunger an thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress). The shelter also claims to be the first shelter in the nation to receive a Gold LEED certification for having a very environmentally friendly building. All of this doesn’t distract from the core mission: the Humane Society of Silicon Valley helped 5,600 animals find loving homes in 2018.

Contra Costa Humane Society


In the East Bay Area in Pleasant Hill, the Contra Costa Humane Society is one of the newer of the really large shelters. It was formed in 1991 when two organizations, Stop Pets Annual Yield and the Animal Protection Bureau merged to become one non-profit together. Their goal is to “empower our community to improve the quality of life for animals and decrease euthanasia rates”. They provide a number of programs and services including adoptions and fostering as well as outreach and educational programs. The Contra Costa Humane Society’s goal is to get all of the different parts of the local community involved in servicing their mission, so they also specifically target programs at some of the low income residents in the county.

San Diego Humane Society


The San Diego Humane Society is one of Southern California’s largest animal shelters. Their operations have three different campuses in Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego. Through those three locations they claim to have helped care for over 67,000 animals across 12 cities in San Diego county in 2017-2018. Their mission is to “create a more humane world by inspiring compassion, providing hope and advancing the welfare of animals and people”. One of the really unique parts of the San Diego Humane Society is all of their non-traditional programs such as their Project Wildlife program. The Project Wildlife program provides care for sick or injured wild animals. The San Diego Humane Society says that in 2017-2018, this program helped over 11,000 wild animals.

Animal Service Centers in LA


There is no point in writing a list of places to adopt animals in California while leaving one of the largest areas in the state, Los Angeles county, off of the list. Animal Services Centers has six different locations across Los Angeles. They’re focused well on taking care of the community, with a program to help low-income residents of the county spay and neuter their dogs and cats. They help nearly 40,000 animals across those four locations, providing standard services such as adoption, fostering, spays and neuters, as well as their programs. They have a number of kittens, cats, and dogs, so if you’re in Los Angeles and you are considering getting an animal you should certainly consider adopting one from them.