Pet Guardianship Program

At San Diego Humane Society, we know that pets are not merely animal companions, they are members of your family.

Provisions for your pet(s) should be included in your will or living trust, just like you would if you were appointing a guardian to take care of your children.

We know that it is not always possible to make private arrangements with family members or friends to care for your pets, and we want you to know that you may designate through your will or trust that your animals be entrusted to the care of San Diego Humane Society.

San Diego Humane Society does not euthanize healthy or treatable shelter animals, and takes great pride in placing every healthy or treatable shelter animal left in our care.

How to Enroll

  1. Have an estate planning attorney draw up a will or trust for you. San Diego Humane Society can provide you with a list of attorneys who are certified specialists in estate planning for your convenience. Or you can use this free estate planning resource to get started.
    Have your attorney: Name family members or friends, and if they aren’t available, San Diego Humane Society to take your animals upon your permanent incapacity or passing.
    The following is suggested language for a will or a trust concerning a pet: I give any pet(s) that I may own at the time of my death to family member/friend. If he/she is unable to provide for my pet(s) I give my pet(s) to family member/friend. If he/she is unable to provide for my pets, I give my pet(s) to San Diego Humane Society. I authorize San Diego Humane Society to evaluate my pet(s) and determine in its exclusive judgment whether the animal is in a condition to be healthy and treatable. I authorize San Diego Humane Society to place my pet(s) in a new home.
  2. Name San Diego Humane Society as a beneficiary of your will, trust, life insurance or retirement accounts in any amount and provide a copy of the pertinent pages to the Director of Estate and Gift Planning.
  3. Complete the Pet Guardianship Program Pet Biography Form for each of your animals. These forms are available by contacting Erin Miserlis at 619-243-3443 or This information will help San Diego Humane Society provide your pet(s) with the best possible new home. This information can be updated at any time and we will follow up with you every two years.
  4. Keep a copy of the Pet Biography Form with your will or trust and inform your executor or trustee of the program.


Please note that this program is for dogs, cats and small animals only. This program is limited to four animals per family. More may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.