Offering a Paw in Help: CA’s Animal Charities Need Your Help This Holiday

Giving Photos 2022
A Vertical Image of a Rescue Dog at an Animal Shelter is Looking Sad Through a Fence
(mexitographer/mexitographer -

Southern California is gaga over their pets - it’s evident from the number of puppies, kitties and other animals we see in our day-to-day experience, out enjoying the beautiful weather and terrain with their owners. And, while the city of Los Angeles became officially “no kill” for shelter animals in 2021, California has a more sobering statistic: It has one of the highest shelter euthanasia rates in the country.

According to data by, more than 37,000 shelter animals were euthanized just because they didn’t have a safe home, or because their shelters were not “no kill” (less than half of the state’s shelters are). This seems to paint a bleak picture about the status of shelter animals in the state.

Luckily, the future is much brighter. Nonprofits like Best Friends are working toward a goal that ALL shelters, nationwide, become no-kill by 2025. While this seems difficult, much headway has been made on both the local and the national level, and much of it is due to charitable giving and volunteerism by generous individuals.

In addition, shelters across Southern California are welcoming to volunteerism - those who can lend a hand directly elevating the quality of life for unfortunate furry friends have many opportunities to do so.

Giving Photos 2022
(Jacquie Klose/Jacquie Klose -

Here’s a look at some amazing organizations that aid animals in the region:

SpcaLA: The venerable organization has been serving Southern California pets since 1877 and shows no sign of slowing down. With two adoption centers in the South Bay and Long Beach, SpcaLA has been connecting people with loving pets for generations. They take donations on their website, in-person, or through adoption fees or at their Long Beach pet marketplace.

The Stray Cat Alliance: Formed in the late 1990s to address issues with stray felines in the region, the Stray Cat Alliance became a strong advocate for cats everywhere. Dedicated to no-kill policies, the Alliance also battles against mandates which can perpetuate cruelty, like cease-and-desist orders concerning feeding strays that have become dependent on human actions. The Alliance accepts monetary donations, but also encourages adoptions and fostering for kitties that are transitioning from being strays to living in loving homes.

The Rescue Train: Founded in 2004 with a unique mission - to serve pets that would otherwise not receive help, like so-called “undesirables” - certain breeds, senior or special-needs animals, or pets with behavioral issues due to human neglect or abuse. Their mission is a challenging one, but they have excelled, both on an individual level, pet to pet, and through innovative changes to their care model. Interested parties can donate, volunteer, or host a “DIY Fundraiser” - using their talents to aid the organization.

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County: Dedicated to the specific German Shepherd breed, this unique rescue brings to attention the plight that all dogs experience in shelters, while focusing on a breed that many owners must abandon due to space issues, age, or other reasons. The German Shepherd Rescue believes that owners and pets can be perfectly paired and are working to take the stigma out of their preferred breed, breaking the idea that the dogs are “mean” or “vicious” - rather, they are a beautiful companion animal for individuals or families.

-Alan LaGuardia