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Pets Without Walls

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Helen Woodward Animal Center is proud to announce the kickoff of Pets Without Walls – its latest program dedicated to the mission of “People helping animals, animals helping people.” The program (newest among the Center’s efforts to make the world a happier place for people and pets) will provide pet food, vaccinations, spays and neuters, pet supplies, and additional items and services as needed, to the dogs and cats who reside with homeless families at the city’s industrial tent site. 

Chain restaurant operator and partner at Paradigm Investment Group LLC, Dan Shea, approached Helen Woodward Animal Center about the current massive efforts being made to improve the lives for the local homeless. Helen Woodward Animal Center will officially begin their partnership on Tuesday, November 7th at 3:30pm, with the first of their bi-weekly visits. 

In September, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the plan to use large industrial tents, equipped with restrooms, hand-washing stations, showers, and supportive services, to get hundreds of homeless people off the streets of San Diego and back on their feet.

The plan was the brain child of Dan Shea and Padres Managing Partner, Peter Seidler, who met with city officials for months on the plan to use 250-capacity industrial tents as a way of immediately sheltering people living on the street. The Alpha Project has been put in charge of overseeing the incredible efforts being made on the project and Feeding San Diego volunteered to provide lunches to residents.

The current arrangement consists of tents set up in a former parking lot, now fenced, and separated into areas for women and children, families and single men.  By Thanksgiving, the city hopes to have erected “Sprung” locations – giant “tent structures” able to shelter an even larger number of San Diego’s homeless. 

The plan comes at an important time as City Councilman David Alvarez recently announced a state of emergency for homelessness with a count of 9,116, a 5% increase from last year, and a number of 5,621 remaining unsheltered, an increase of 14%. Adding to the sense of urgency, the recent hepatitis outbreak has left a growing number of homeless people dead over the past 10 months.

Helen Woodward Animal Center is honored to join these efforts by helping families keep their furry companions fed and healthy.  The Center’s program, “Pets Without Walls” will provide health checks, microchipping, preventative medical care, important vaccinations, flea and tick medication, and pet food (through an extension of its AniMeals program). 

In the current location, Helen Woodward Animal Center will assist approximately 25 dogs and a few cats but with the opening of the “Sprung” structure the number of pets is anticipated to reach over 200.  

“The pets of homeless individuals are often even more important to them than they are to San Diegans who have homes,” explained Helen Woodward Animal Center Vice President of Development Renee Resko.  “These animals have stayed beside their owners through the good and the bad. 

Their pets are their loyal friends who don’t judge them or their situation.  Sometimes they are the only family they have.  When we visited the site last week, I was amazed how well-behaved and quiet these pets were.  You can tell that they are incredibly loved and bonded with their owners.”

In addition, the Center has offered to provide pet beds and toys, as well as human clothing and blanket donations from its Orphaned Objects resale store, and its Humane Education program has volunteered to provide fun and educational lessons and crafts to the children in residence. Special thanks to the team at Alpha Project who is running the site and has provided extensive assistance to the Center as we set up the pet component of the camp.

Future plans for Pets Without Walls includes the purchase of a mobile spay and neuter clinic, which will provide a safe and comfortable site for vaccines and basic medical care for the pets, as well as a surgical suite for the altering procedures. 

Long-time friends and supporters of the Center, Pat and Stephanie Kilkenny of Lucky Duck Foundation, helped to facilitate the purchase of a mobile spay/neuter unit to make this level of care possible and we anticipate its arrival by January 2018.

Tuesday, November 7th at 3:30pm, Helen Woodward Animal Center will do the first of its bi-weekly visits at the new tent site providing children’s crafts and lessons, animal services, and a donation drop off.  

For questions, please contact Helen Woodward Animal Center at 858-756-4117 or

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