Being an animal lover is now just a small part in the quest to save them — save them from abuse, from euthanasia, from just being plain overlooked in county shelters. It is a new era, where bringing home your new cat or your new puppy from just any pet store or litter isn’t always the responsible thing to do.

FOCAS, Friends of County Animal Shelters, gives animals a second chance. Working with the South, Central and North County Animal Shelters of San Diego, FOCAS is a non-profit, volunteer based organization that places animals in foster care, provides medical aid, and creates forums to get these animals in the public eye in hopes of placement. FOCAS does not have any facilities, instead works with trustworthy organizations such as PetSmart and animal medical centers throughout the county where the animals are attended to after being pulled from a county shelter. One of FOCAS’ primary platforms is working with animals that are afflicted with a medical condition or ailment (usually minor) and would in any other given circumstance not be treated and eventually euthanized for lack of money, space, or the animals’ condition being beyond shelter resources. With a goal to reduce the euthanasia rate by 50 percent within county shelters, FOCAS depends on foster care and donations to provide the time and aid to the animals that they are so desperately in need of and would otherwise not be able to receive in a shelter environment. As a result, FOCAS maintains an entirely separate medical fund to work with these cases.

FOCAS is providing second chances to those who need it most because of its partnerships throughout the San Diego County. Here are several specific reasons why FOCAS succeeds:

FOCAS Spotlight Pets: FOCAS increases public awareness and interest in long-stay animals in County Shelters that are being overlooked and are at risk. By signifying the animals with a special card on their crates at shelters, featuring them on the FOCAS website and taking many of them to park adoption events, these animals are getting much more public attention and therefore monumentally increasing their chances of adoption.

Tag Teams: FOCAS has built an impressive number of partnerships with local area rescues to “tag team” animal adoptions where each organization provides a resource to the animals in need. For example, FOCAS provides the medical funds and the joint rescue group provides foster and adoptive home options to get the animal out of the shelter and into an environment in which it is able to recover.

FOCAS/AMC House I & II: Together with Animal Medical Center, medical rehabilitation and isolation units have been created in addition to a FOCAS kitten nursery at the Animal Medical Center in El Cajon. The AMC is expected to accommodate up to 50 cats and kittens and 10 to 15 dogs at any given time.

Here’s how you can help:

Become a Volunteer

Adopt a cat, dog, or a special needs pet. Check our website for current adoptable animals and for updates.

Sign up with FOCAS!

You can volunteer once every few months, or whenever you have time — anything helps! Have a slightly used blanket or any gently used toys? Donate to the animals today.

Donate to FOCAS

You can donate to the FOCAS general fund, or directly to the Medical fund.

Become a Foster

Fosters for cats/kittens, dogs, or an animal with special medial needs are urgently needed

Tell Your Friends

Are your friends thinking of adopting? Educate them as to why and how to get involved with FOCAS.


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