We're Home!!


Irrepressible Spirit, Unleashed Possibilities

They call us The Little Shelter That Could — a humble enterprise that, like the little engine of children’s book fame, chugs along with irrepressible spirit.

Like that little engine, our dream has come true  — we’re officially in our new forever home — a modern-day safe harbor for the animals of Santa Cruz. The new shelter is contemporary, inclusive, and inspiring — a place for fresh ideas, fresh starts, and unleashed possibilities.  Stay tuned for information on our Grand Opening Celebration later this year. 


Our New Shelter at a Glance  Our new forever home is nearly six times the size of our old shelter facility. It is designed to support animal rescue best practices and has room to save more animals, engage more people, and unleash more possibilities.

Shelter Details and Features

LOCATION: 2601 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz


• Modern ventilation and climate control systems
• Sustainable, cleanable surfaces
• 3,500 square feet of animal habitats
• Indoor and outdoor dog exercise areas
• Enclosed “catios” and group cat room
• 750 square feet of multipurpose gathering space for humane education and community events
• Multipurpose areas for animal assessment and training
• Dedicated dog and cat get-acquainted rooms
• Dedicated isolation rooms for animal care and recovery
• Separate spaces for adoption and intake/surrender
• Multipurpose area for on-site medical treatments, grooming, and storage
• 700 square feet for administrative use
• Staff/volunteer break room
• Sustainable, largely native landscaping
• On-site parking for 13 vehicles

Modern Dog and Cat Habitats  Because we built our future forever home from scratch, we’re able to create dog and cat habitats that support modern best practices in animal rescue. Spacious yet cozy dwelling spaces, places for cats to climb, yards that give dogs room to run and play, proper ventilation, cleanable surfaces, easy viewing for visitors — all are part of our strategy to keep the animals in our care healthy, happy, and ready for their own forever homes.

“We’ve been big fans of the Santa Cruz SPCA for going on two decades, and we won’t know of another nonprofit that is more resourceful and capable. For years, the SCSPCA team has held to its mission in a makeshift facility against a rising tide of demands. When we learned a more suitable home was in the plans, adding capacity for rescues and community engagement, we knew we wanted to be part of it. As proud caretakers of two adopted cats, we are reminded daily of the importance of SCSPCA’s mission, to both the animals and the humans of Santa Cruz.”

— Jill and Dan Dion, SCSPCA campaign supporters

“I have seen SCSPCA’s dedicated staff do so much for Santa Cruz with modest resources and a tiny building that can accommodate only a limited number of cats and small- to medium-sized dogs. In addition to rescue and adoptions, they have many amazing programs, from human education and food banks to veterinary assistance and disaster relief services. This big-hearted institution deserves a facility where it can achieve its full potential as a place that saves animal lives, teaches children and adults about compassion and care for pets, and brings people together around a love for animals.”

— Diana Magor, SCSPCA campaign supporter

“We got to know the Santa Cruz SPCA as volunteers after we lost our cat. We were so impressed by the great work done in a less-than-ideal environment. We were very excited to hear that a new facility was in the works, and we donated a portion of an inheritance to the project. Now that a new team is making this dream a reality, we look forward to increasing our financial commitment. Bravo to everyone at SCSPCA for their leadership and dedication!

— Linda and Bob Powers, SCSPCA campaign supporters

If you are inspired by what you see and would like to learn more about our new shelter, we would love to speak to you! Contact us at foreverhome@spcasc.org or by calling (831) 465-5000 ext. 19.

We are also offering virtual tours of our new facility so please contact us to set up a tour!

Watch the progress of our new home from beginning to end.


Watch Our Virtual Tours (Videos)

Demolition of old propertySee why we’re building a new shelterOctober 2019 walkthrough
Drone video of new shelter June 2020 walkthroughJuly/August 2020 walkthrough



Construction of the New Shelter

Dog Habitats

Cat Habitats

Play Yards

View the timeline for building our new shelter (click to enlarge)

If you’ve ever visited our current Chanticleer Avenue facility, you understand that every aspect of operation takes place within a crowded 1,200-square-foot facility that was clearly never meant to be an animal shelter.  While it has the cozy “home-like” setting that is very therapeutic for the animals it also has severe space constraints and an aging structure. We simply cannot grow our lifesaving work and achieve our mission at the level our community deserves in our current building. Our outdated, rented facility is no longer cost-effective to repair. It has to be replaced. Although we take pride in providing every animal with excellent care, current best practices in shelter management just aren’t possible in a building as old as ours.

Current challenges in our existing facility: 

  • Ventilation and climate control are inadequate. To reduce stress and control infection, we must keep our animal census low, which means we are unable to save more lives. And we simply have no room for larger dogs.
  • Cats in our care lack optimal space for housing and socialization, which means we must limit our cat intake — in an era when cats need the most help!
  • Adoptions and surrenders collide in one small reception area, with very little privacy. And with no dedicated area for medical care, we’re constantly repurposing space for recuperating animals.
  • The shelter experience for visitors, staff, and volunteers is less than ideal, with inadequate work, meeting, and storage space, and limited parking.
  • Last but not least, we have no community space to support humane education — our signature program and the key to our vision for addressing animal homelessness before it starts.

Learn about why Santa Cruz needs two shelters!

The Santa Cruz area is currently served by two shelters with different scopes, different funding, and different capabilities, working in partnership to address the shared challenges of animal welfare in our community. This model of a public and private shelter working collaboratively to help homeless animals is working superbly well and is effecting great change in many jurisdictions throughout California and across the country.

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is a publicly funded, full-service shelter that handles all aspects of animal care and control for Santa Cruz County. This includes animal rescue and control, licensing and regulation, basic veterinary care, and adoption services, with responsibility for protecting the health, public safety, and welfare of people and animals in the County.

Because the county shelter is supported by municipal funds, it is by definition an “open-admission” (or “open door”) shelter, bound by its public mission to take in all animals in need, regardless of age, health, or behavioral issues. As demand for space is high, the SCCAS works with its rescue partners to transfer animals when there is an overflow situation, or when animals with issues need more resources than can be allocated.

That’s where the Santa Cruz SPCA comes in: Dedicated to providing a safe harbor for animals in need — including dogs and cats that require extended shelter, care, or training — the Santa Cruz SPCA partners with the county to rescue more animals in our community and nurture them until they are ready for their forever homes. We almost never say “no” to dogs and cats from our county shelter.

As a privately funded shelter — which relies on the generosity of our community donors — we have the flexibility to keep our animals as long as they need to find their forever homes, and to provide the medical care, enrichment, training, and socialization to help them become confident, healthy, loving companions.

Enabling the county to turn over spaces to more animals in need, taking in challenged dogs and cats from the county shelter and nurturing them to increase their chances of adoption, never giving up on an animal in our care — that’s how the Santa Cruz SPCA collaborates with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter to address animal homelessness. In our community, it’s a challenge that takes two dedicated enterprises, working in partnership.

Watch our video below by clicking on the photo!


 Cat AreasDog AreasOutdoor AreasCommunity Areas, Hallways, & EntrancesWorkspaces, Animal Care, & Volunteer Area
Cat Wing - $250,000Dog Wing - $250,000Community Rm Yard - $50,000Building Naming - $3,000,000Volunteer Rm - $100,000
Get Acquainted Mtg Room $100,000Get-Acquainted Mtg Rm - $150,000Rear Covered Patio - $50,000Main Entry - $1,000,000Intake Office - $100,000
Cat Group Rm - $100,000Habitat Hallways (4) - $25,000 eachCatios - $50,000 eaCommunity Rm - $1,000,000Director's Office - $50,000
Condo Room - $50,000Isolation Rm - $20,000Dog Play Yards (4) - $25,000 eaShelter Operations Wing - $100,000Animal Nutrition/Food Room - $50,000
Isolation Rooms (2) - $20,000 eaIntake Rm - $20,000Dog Exercise Yards (3) - $25,000 eaCommunity Rm Kitchen - $50,000Shelter Operations Work Area - $25,000
Intake Room - $20,000Large Dog Habitats (8) - $15,000 ea Reception - $25,000Administrative Offices (3) - $25,000
Cat Towers (7 of 8) - $10,000 eaStd Dog Habitats (12) - $10,000 ea  Isolation Vestibule - $25,000
Condos (6) - $5,000 eaSm Dog Habitats (10) - $5,000 ea  Intake Vestibule - $25,000
Isolation/Recovery Condos (8) - $1,000 eaIsolation/Recovery Habitats - $2,500  Intake Exam/Treatment Area - $20,000
Intake Holding Condos (6) - $1,000 eaIntake Holding Habitats - $2,500 ea  Laundry Rm - $10,000
    Habitat Maintenance Rm - $10,000
    Intake Grooming Spa - $5,000


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Campaign Goal: $7.2


We are closer to the realization of our new shelter than ever before. It is the animals and the community members who will truly benefit the most from the completion of this project — so we are working hard to close the funding gap that remains. We need your help to Take Us Home! If you’d like to be involved, please contact us at foreverhome@spcasc.org or 831-465-5000 x 19

Shelter Location

2601 Chanticleer Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95065
(P) 831-465-5000
(F) 831-479-8530

Hours of Operation

Mon & Tues - CLOSED 

Dog Browsing
Wed to Fri 2pm - 6pm
Sat & Sun 11am - 3pm

Cat Browsing
Wed to Sun 11am - 6pm




*PET FOOD PANTRY - Fridays 3:00pm - 5:00pm

The Santa Cruz SPCA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals. We receive no government funding, and depend solely on financial support from our friends. Our organization is not affiliated with any other SPCA or Humane Society.

Tax ID: 94-6171565

© 2017 Santa Cruz SPCA