Who We Are

OUR MISSION:  The Santa Cruz SPCA provides safe harbor for animals in need and promotes an active humane community through adoption, advocacy, and education.

Deeply rooted in Santa Cruz, everything that our shelter does is made possible by the compassion of our community. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the Santa Cruz SPCA receives no federal, state, or local government funding, nor do we receive any assistance from any national organizations like the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Achieving our mission is made possible through our devoted volunteers, who collectively give thousands of hours of their time every year.

Safe Harbor and Adoptions

At the Santa Cruz SPCA, we welcome all kinds of needy dogs and cats, especially those that need a bit of ‘above-and-beyond’ care and who might be at risk in other shelters. From specialized medical treatments to behavioral training, our modern, purpose-built shelter allows us to prioritize comfort, love, and individualized attention for each animal in our care while we search for their new families.


Pet Food Pantry

Issues such as our current cost of living crisis, and the housing shortage facing Santa Cruz, we are seeing more owners facing the heartbreaking decision of needing to rehome their pet due to restrictive living arrangements. Our pet food pantry aims to keep as many animals as possible with their families and out of the shelter system by providing free pet food and supplies to those in need.


Humane Education

The Santa Cruz SPCA recognizes that a community without pet over-population, abuse, neglect, homelessness, and other animal welfare issues begins with the education of youth and adults alike. Through a robust curriculum, our Humane Education program aims to cultivate and build a compassionate society for all animals by promoting proper care and responsible action.


Support for Seniors

Dr. Jean’s Senior Friends program encourages senior people to adopt senior pets by waiving adoption fees when a senior-to-senior match is made. Adoption includes the first set of vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchip, a free vet exam, and educational literature. This program also provides financial support for pets of seniors who need both preventative and extended veterinary care.

OUR HISTORY: Serving the Santa Cruz community since 1938.

Founded in 1938 by Dr. Charles Edward Graves, the Santa Cruz SPCA started after he generously donated a piece of land to create a shelter. Incorporated in 1955, we provided animal control and adoption services until 2002, when the County established its own agency (the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter). Since then, we have continued our mission as a fully independent community animal welfare organization, offering rescue and adoption, as well as other programs and services that support efforts to save and care for companion animals.

In 2020, we celebrated the completion of a state-of-the-art shelter facility. With its adaptable design, modern animal habitats, versatile play areas, space for public engagement through programs and events, and facilities conducive to staff and volunteer efforts, Santa Cruz now boasts a community animal shelter ready to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

OUR VALUES: In service to the animals and our mission, we strive each day to live our core values, both realized and aspirational.

Courageous Compassion

Compassion sits at the forefront of all our interactions with both the four- and the two-legged. We view all animals and people as individuals with unique gifts and needs, and approach situations with open-minded optimism. We have the courage to explore new solutions and make difficult decisions when needed.


Continuous Improvement

We are driven to continuously improve our ability to help more animals through process and personal improvement. Strategic decisions are based on research, data, and wisdom gained from past successes and errors. We are both flexible and adaptive in our pursuit of our goals.


Collaborative Spirit

As an active member of the community we serve, we approach every interaction as a chance for collaboration. We intentionally seek animal-centric partnerships and emphasize the role of volunteers in achieving our mission. In building spaces that embrace our community, we welcome potential adopters and offer services that provide ongoing support for the precious relationship between pets and their people.

Responsible Stewardship

Our commitment to serving our community extends far into the future. Our actions today must ensure that we are financially viable and able to provide safe harbor to animals in need, long after our individual stewardships have ended. We foster long-term relationships through integrity and transparency. We invest in our staff and volunteers, and provide resources to educate and nurture the next generations of animal guardians. We are proud of how we care for both the lives and the resources that have been entrusted to us.


Celebrating Differences

People are at the core of animal welfare and the actions that create a better world for our animals. We recognize that our ability to connect with, work alongside, include, and serve a diverse range of people expands our ability to save lives. We strive to cultivate a team that reflects our broader community, and we seek input from others to make our organization and its services accessible to as many pets and people as possible.

Shelter Location

2601 Chanticleer Ave.

Santa Cruz, CA 95065

(P) 831-465-5000 (F) 831-479-8530


Hours of Operation

Mon & Tues - CLOSED

Animal Browsing Wed to Sun 11am - 5pm

*PET FOOD PANTRY - Sundays 1:00pm - 3:00pm

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

© 2024 Santa Cruz SPCA