Humane Society of the Desert

by Alicia Bailey

It was 1961 when the Humane Society of the Desert (HSD) was established with a small piece of land and just over a dozen kennels. The people at the heart of this effort had one goal: to help those animals who could not help themselves. In the beginning, the Humane Society was only equipped to help dogs, but in 1967 a small trailer was donated, allowing them to begin rescuing kittens. Today, HSD is one of Southern California’s largest no-kill animal sanctuaries, with the capacity to rescue dogs, cats, small animals, and even some types of farm animals and horses.

In 2005, generous board member and cat advocate Anne Barry donated the Barry Cat Rescue Center—this enabled the HSD to save more felines in need. The center is a 1,400-square-foot, cage-free building where cats roam free, play and soak up the sun in between visits with adopters and visitors. Each room has its own collection of comfy cat beds, cat trees, cubbies and other enrichment toys to keep everyone happy and provide a more natural meet-and-greet space for those looking to meet their purr-fect match.

The Humane Society of the Desert has saved thousands of pets over the years, and despite being part of the national Humane Society, HSD is responsible for its own funding. Annual fundraising events, such as Le Chien during Fashion Week, as well as the generosity of donors and volunteers, are critical to continuing their compassionate work. This type of generosity enabled HSD to acquire the Animal Hospital of Desert Hot Springs in 2015. The state-of-the-art hospital is full service, not only offering monthly low-cost spay and neuter clinics but also rolling hospital profits back into strengthening the sanctuary.

The Humane Society of the Desert is a tranquil oasis for homeless animals who need a second chance. For some, that means a new forever family. For others, it means they are already home. Whatever the situation, the Humane Society of the Desert will continue to be there for the neglected, abused and abandoned animals who rely on them.

Visit for more information on programs, volunteer opportunities, and events or to make a donation.

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