Santa Cruz SPCA and Humane Society

aka Santa Cruz SPCA   |   Santa Cruz, CA   |


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

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Alison Talley

Main address

PO Box 3800

Santa Cruz, CA 95063 USA

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Formerly known as

Santa Cruz Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals



NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every dog and cat deserves a home. Serving our community since 1938, we offer programs and resources focused on humane education, spay/neuter awareness and assistance, and adoption and rescue, as well as support for our human community to keep their animals by their side. By keeping animals healthy, happy, and well-homed, we aim to reduce the number of pets that end up in shelters and enhance the quality of life for all. In the world of animal welfare, no one shelter can do it all. We must work together for the greatest impact in the lives of animals and the humans that care for them. That’s why we believe in, and focus on, collaborative work with dozens of other shelters, rescues, and animal welfare agencies, to rescue and rehabilitate cats and dogs and find them loving homes.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Blackie's Senior Friends

Pets can enrich our lives by making us happier and healthier. For older adults, having a companion animal can be especially helpful in coping with the challenges that we must face as we grow older. Senior citizens are often living on restricted retirement incomes and can face financial obstacles in caring for a companion animal. Blackie’s Senior Friends provides financial assistance to senior citizens to help them care for their pets and also assists with adoption fees for senior citizens adopting senior animals.

Since older animals are often the last to be adopted, bringing home a senior animal could mean saving their life. Blackie’s Senior Friends encourages older adults to adopt senior animals by offering free adoption of a companion animal 6 years old and up, to qualified seniors.

Never underestimate the healing power of a companion animal. Studies have proven that companion animals have a positive effect on our physical and emotional health. Animal companionship can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promote healing, reduce social isolation, ease the grieving process, and offer a sense of security. In addition, the increased physical activity that comes with caring for a pet, such as walking, grooming, and even petting, can strengthen the heart, improve circulation and slow the loss of bone tissue.

Senior people and senior animals are a perfect match! Often a young, energetic puppy can be overwhelming for older people with more relaxed lifestyles. A senior companion animal is typically easier to train, requires less rigorous exercise from their guardian, and requires fewer routine vaccinations. Many senior animals want nothing more than a warm pair of feet to lie by or a soft lap or couch to snuggle on.

What this program includes:
•A free adoption of a companion animal 6 years and up is offered to qualified seniors 62 & over.
•Includes the first set of vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchipping, a collar & tag (leash included w/ dogs!), free vet exam, and educational literature.

The free charge is intended to encourage the senior community to find their perfect animal match. The typical cost of adoption of a senior animal is $110 - $150.

Population(s) Served
Older adults

Fostering an animal (or a few!) can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. Not only do you get to relish in the love and joy they bring to your home but you’re also able to play a large role in the enrichment of their lives. Allowing a shelter animal temporary reprieve in your home gives them relief from shelter life while also helping them to become more adoptable. During their time in your home we are able to learn more about certain behaviors or attributes they may have, thus allowing us a better shot at finding them the most suitable forever home. Fostering also enables us to rescue more animals that would otherwise be euthanized.

For a full list of our foster options:

Population(s) Served

The Santa Cruz SPCA has a continuous goal to ensure the best possible quality of life for animals and to promote respect and reverence for all. One of the main tools we use to do this is our Humane Education Programs that teach lessons of kindness, responsibility, and respect for animals and people alike.

The kids of today are the companion animal guardians of tomorrow and in order to effectively curb issues like animal abuse, neglect, and over-population in the future we have created fun-filled programs to help the youth understand how to make positive choices for their community now and for the rest of their lives.

From adult informational seminars and classroom presentations to shelter tours and summer camp, the Santa Cruz SPCA’s Humane Education program strives to make animal-care knowledge available to anyone and everyone.

The Santa Cruz SPCA also runs a highly popular summer camp for kids, as well as programs for girl scouts and bringing animals to visit nursing homes and care facilities.

Population(s) Served

The Santa Cruz SPCA regularly distributes over 7,000 pounds of pet food each month to economically challenged and senior dog and cat owners. This special program is helping many families cope with enormously difficult times. Ensuring that our community’s companion animals never go hungry is one of the most basic and most critical aspects of animal welfare.

Heather’s Pet Food Bank was started and named in memory of Heather Zir, a Santa Cruz Resident and lifelong animal lover, and has been kept afloat by generous donations from loving Zir family and friends as well as monetary and food donations from the public.

Free food is distributed every Friday from 4-6pm.

We always accept donations of dog and cat food both wet and dry of any brand whether it has been opened or not.

To take advantages of this vital resource we do require proof of spay/neuter so please bring your animals vet or shelter records on your first visit.

Population(s) Served

This unique fund enables the SPCA to provide extensive veterinary care for sick, injured, abused or neglected animals that would otherwise be euthanized. This fund helps to cover the costs of “above and beyond” care such as surgery, medication and other treatments that an animal may need before they are to be made available for adoption. By giving animals a second chance, this special fund directly saves lives.

The Second Chance Fund brings the Santa Cruz SPCA closer to its dream of finding each and every unwanted animal a permanent and loving home.

Population(s) Served

The Santa Cruz SPCA offers a FREE ask the dog trainer session once a month with a local reputable trainer to help dog owners with behavioral issues or training questions. This small-group setting is perfect for people who have newly adopted their first animal or people who have adopted and are experiencing problems they’ve never dealt with before. The purpose of this program is to provide support so that adoptions are a success and fewer animals end up in shelters due to trainable behaviors. This hour long information session can prove to be invaluable in making sure your adoption is a success!

Population(s) Served

Operation Just Paws is a new program designed to enrich the lives of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by providing them with an adopted therapy dog. This wonderful program provides companionship and love to those who need it most - on both sides.

The program has already been incredibly successful. You can read about Laddie and the hundreds of military men suffering
from PTSD that he will help in
the years to come by clicking here:

A few weeks after Laddie’s adoption there was Paris, a little white terrier, who
was adopted by a Monterey man who owns and lives on the yacht Independence, which he sails all over the west coast taking veterans on sailing and fishing trips through the Stars and Stripes program. He fell in love with the scruffy little girl and off they went to live life on the ocean. A few weeks later we got a visit from the man letting us know that Paris is now a very valued and popular part of a veteran’s cruise that he provides at no charge to any man or woman in the
military. He reported that there was never a better site to see than that little white dog on the laps of war torn veterans and being the sole reason for their huge smiles.

After Paris there was Muppet, who was adopted by of the organization Veterans Helping Veterans. Muppet will be taken to hospitals to visit terminally ill veterans and provide them with comfort and companionship.

Population(s) Served

The Santa Cruz SPCA provides a free support group for people who are dealing with the emotions that occur when a companion animal is lost through death or other circumstances. A trained grief counselor helps people find ways to cope with the loss, and others who have lost companion animals offer support also. The group is based on the belief that grief needs to be shared in order for healing to happen. We are a story-telling and listening group.
Please call for details.

Population(s) Served

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are between eight and ten million cats and dogs entering American shelters every year. Four to five million of these animals are euthanized.
Even with a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance many people in Santa Cruz still do not spay/neuter their pets, especially during times of economic hardship. This program is aimed at fighting pet overpopulation and preventing animals from ever entering shelter doors.

The Santa Cruz SPCA has teamed up with local veterinarians in an effort to curb the costs of altering pets. For a discount on the price of surgery, anyone, regardless of income, may download our Spay/Neuter Certificate. Participating veterinarians are listed on the second page.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The goals of the Santa Cruz SPCA are to reduce pet overpopulation, to prevent cruelty to animals, to reduce euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals, to promote community responsibility, and to promote the humane care, treatment and well-being of all animals through adoption, education, information, and action. We work tirelessly towards a future where no healthy, adoptable animals need to be euthanized in public shelters to make room for more coming in the door, and where the community takes responsibility for their animals.

The Santa Cruz SPCA provides multiple programs and resources to help prevent animals from entering shelters in the first place. In addition, they rescue over 1,000 animals per year from overcrowded public shelters and place over 99% of them into permanent loving homes, including senior animals and animals with treatable health needs.

The Santa Cruz SPCA's rescue work and adoption center, free pet food bank, free training classes, second chance fund, and our work on spay and neuter ordinances and laws all work towards a future where healthy adoptable animals no longer need to be euthanized in public shelters to make room for more coming in the door. We work towards that goal by helping to prevent animals from entering shelters in the first place for lack of pet food, trainable behavioral issues, and treatable medical conditions; and by doing our part to rescue as many as we possibly can when they do.

The Santa Cruz SPCA consistently strives to expand current programs, and create new ones, to work towards our long term goals for the animals. The most recent program added is the Operation Just Paws program which provides veterans with therapy dogs. The most significant marker of our progress is our exciting new shelter building project. The Santa Cruz SPCA will soon complete building a brand new, state of the art two story animal shelter which will enable us to rescue more animals than ever, and which will provide a wonderful space for community events, fundraisers, educational seminars and programs for children.


Santa Cruz SPCA and Humane Society

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Santa Cruz SPCA and Humane Society

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Deborah Walt


Term: 2021 - 2022

Deborah Walt

Sheri Billings

Moira Gagen

Nina Mar Burnette

David Kunis

Hedy Nochimson

Malcolm Bramwell