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San Antonio Humane Society Celebrates 70 Years

San Antonio Humane Society is celebrating 70 years this October, and since the beginning the nonprofit has focused on providing the best level of care for animals and their new owners.

From offering holistic pet services, managing medical services, to transporting and rescuing over 400 dogs and cats from affected areas during Hurricane Harvey, the shelter has been a major player in serving pets in the region.

Today, San Antonio Humane Society (SAHS) continues the work, medically treating and rehabilitating thousands of dogs and cats to prepare them for their forever homes. The nonprofit also hosts adoption, volunteer, foster and educational programs.

The community-based education programs inform and educate the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership, microchipping, and spaying/neutering.

Read more: San Antonio Humane Society Celebrates 70 Years

There is housing for 81 dogs and 48 cats at the SAHS shelter, which includes large dog kennels, small puppy kennels, and cat and kitten kennels. Foster volunteers provide more shelter and care for stray and lost cats and dogs.

“We are committed to a vision to end pet overpopulation and to create a community where every pet is treated with respect and has a permanent loving home,” said Luci Almanza, SAHS Public Relations Associate. “We look forward to a brighter future, and we hope the next 70 years are even better.”

Seven decades ago, SAHS opened at their first location on West Jones Avenue as the Humane Society/SPCA of Bexar County. In 2002, the organization built and moved into their current location on Fredricksburg Road and in 2009 was rebranded to Humane Society of San Antonio.

The same year was the grand opening of the spay/neuter suite at Fredricksburg Road, which allowed staff to perform spay/neuter services in-house. Nearly 7,500 surgeries were completed in the first year at the suite.

Rebranding happened again in 2012 and the nonprofit became the San Antonio Humane Society a year after current President and CEO Nancy May joined the team. In the following years, SAHS began a partnership with Animal Care Services which helped double their live-release rate.

In 2020, they celebrated the opening of the new Leeu Naylor Medical Building, allowing SAHS to take in more pets in need of specialized medical care. The new building accommodates twice as many pets who require shelter, surgeries and rehabilitation – an estimated 20,000 at the Fredericksburg location alone.

Funded through the $10-million Picture the Pawsibilities Capital Campaign, the 17,685-square-foot facility features a larger clinic, a rehabilitation room, and spacious surgical, orthopedic and radiology suites. 

The opening of the Leeu Naylor Medical Building also allowed for the increase of the number spay/neuter surgeries. In 2021, a total of 18,525 pets received specialty surgeries, spay/neuter surgeries, and other procedures at both the SAHS and Brooks Spay/Neuter Clinic. 

And some of those surgeries are for members of the stray population, according to Almanza. Currently SAHS completes 10 surgeries a day, five days a week.

“Presently, we are one of the only animal welfare organizations in the city providing spay/neuter surgeries to the feral cat population,” Almanza said.  “Due to our city’s large stray population, the demands for low-cost wellness services and spay/neuter services are also challenging.”

She explained the spay/neuter surgery calendar fills up within minutes and the nonprofit is actively working on raising more funds and hiring essential veterinary staff to be able to better meet the demands of the community.

SAHS also offer wellness clinics at both of our locations, where the community can take advantage of low-cost wellness and preventative services such as vaccinations, flea prevention and heartworm prevention to help their pets continue to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Keeping all the programs and community services afloat at the San Antonio Humane Society takes a lot of work and help from the San Antonio community itself. One of the ways SAHS is able to keep up their work is through community partnerships with other nonprofits and local businesses.

One of those partnerships is the Pizza for Paws campaign with Peter Piper Pizza, where 15% of their sales during a specific time goes back to SAHS. Generally, events like Pizza for Paws are held once a month, usually on the first Thursday of the month.

“Contributions ultimately help us continue our mission of saving the lives of dogs and cats from all around San Antonio,” Almanza said. “As a local organization, every donation and partnership is critical in ensuring our continued presence in the community. “

As an independent nonprofit organization, SAHS relies on donors and volunteers to stay open. Whether at the SAHS main campus or Brooks Spay/Neuter Clinic, the role of volunteers is essential when assisting the staff in completing daily operational tasks to fulfill the mission and vision of the SAHS.

Many of the dogs and cats that come to the shelter have been abandoned, abused, neglected, injured, or have chronic illnesses. It’s through foster and volunteer programs that SAHS has been able to provide the live-saving care these pets need.

Volunteers play a huge part in all departments, whether it’s answering phone calls, walking our dogs, socializing cats, doing laundry and assisting our medical team,” Almanza said. “Thanks to their time, energy, effort and love, we are able to accomplish our life-saving work.”

Interested people can learn more about how to get involved or sign up today at

Additionally, SAHS offers rescue and rehab funds to allow donors to make a contribution to one of their pets. Donors can pay for an adoption fee through the Guardian Angel Fund, pay for heartworm treatment through the Heartworm Fund, or help injured animals through the Michaels Medical Rescue Fund. To contribute to any of these funds, visit 

San Antonio Humane Society is celebrating their 70 years of service and dedication to the region’s animals with their 70th Anniversary Celebration of Connecting Friends For Live, set for Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the SAHS main campus on 4804 Fredericksburg Rd.

“This special event will highlight our past and future decades of protecting and improving the lives of cats and dogs in our community,” Almanza said. “Additionally, we’ll feature adoption memories, an anniversary video and even offer unique giving and event opportunities to celebrate the anniversary from now through Sept. 2023.”

The community is invited to join the celebration, whether it’s by adopting a new pet, volunteering, fostering, or donating. To donate to SAHS’ 70th anniversary campaign, visit

Through the campaign, the goal is to raise $100,000 to support the medical care, housing and other costs at San Antonio Humane Society.

The 2023 El Ray Fido Fundraising Competition has also just opened for area animals and their owners. The fundraising competition’s top fundraising dog will be bestowed the honor of the crown, with four runner-ups joining the Royal Court.

It all leads to the SAHS’s El Rey Fido Coronation, an official Fiesta event, on April 22, 2023, where San Antonio’s top dogs have the opportunity to be dressed in true royal attire – velvet, sequins, and all.

“It’s another great opportunity to support homeless pets in your community and become a part of over 20 years of SAHS Fiesta tradition,” Almanza said.

To sign up, and for information on everything El Rey Fido, visit 

Written for San Antonio Express News by Jessica Else, published September 2022.

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