Looking for a Pet in Chula Vista? Check Out These 5 Spots.

Looking to expand your family? A new pet can make a wonderful addition! Read on to learn about the best Chula Vista animal shelters to find cats, dogs, and other furry future family members.

Why Adopt?

For many people, adopting from a shelter is the best option when looking for a new pet. By finding a new friend that’s been rescued, you’re helping to save a life and giving an animal a loving home at the same time.

If you’re looking to adopt a particular dog breed, it’s tempting to try and find a breeder. Unfortunately, it’s fairly easy to unknowingly buy an animal from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder who you thought was reputable. Often, these are people who breed and raise animals in inhumane conditions and aren’t concerned with the welfare of the animals they breed.

Adopting from a shelter is the best way to ensure you don’t support these kinds of breeders. If you’re willing to be patient and regularly check local shelters, you may find the breed you’re looking for before too long.

Chula Vista Animal Care Facility

Tuesday – Friday, 10 AM – 5 PM; Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM
Distance from Millenia: 20-minute drive

The Chula Vista Animal Care Facility serves Chula Vista, National City, and Lemon Grove in south San Diego. Explore their website to learn more about the facility and the animals you can adopt there. (Click here for available dogs and here for cats.) This shelter features mostly dogs and cats, with puppies and kittens as well as older animals up for adoption. There are often rabbits available too.

Foster Care

If you’re not quite ready to adopt an animal or don’t have the room for it yet, you can get your fill of puppy or kitty love by providing foster care for an animal that needs temporary care before it’s ready for its forever home. Sometimes a litter of kittens or puppies is too young to leave their mother. Or an older cat or dog needs to recover from medical treatment before it’s ready for adoption.

When you foster, all the animal’s care costs are covered by the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility. Saying goodbye to the animals you care for can be hard, but foster care is a highly rewarding way to support animal welfare and get a feel for the kind of pet that’s right for your lifestyle.

Spaying and Neutering

In addition to adopting animals out, this facility offers spaying and neutering services for both cats and dogs. Overpopulation and strays are major issues in San Diego County, just as they are in most parts of the country. By having your new furry friend spayed or neutered, you can make sure you’re not contributing to the problem—you’re helping to solve it.

Call the facility at 619-691-5123 to find out how you can have your pet neutered or spayed. In some cases, local residents can qualify for a free procedure; otherwise, the cost is $75.

Become a Volunteer!

Volunteering at the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility can be incredibly rewarding! Not only do you get to help take care of the animals, you’ll also meet other animal lovers and share in the joy of seeing cats and dogs find their forever homes.

There are lots of ways you can help:

  • Care for and feed animals
  • Exercise animals
  • Assist with adoptions
  • Do administrative work
  • Help with facility maintenance and upkeep
  • Donate to the facility

To qualify as a volunteer, you must be at least 15 ½ years old and must be volunteering of your own volition. Once you apply to volunteer, it may take three to four months to hear back, as there is usually a waiting list.

El Cajon Animal Shelter

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM
Distance from Millenia: 22-minute drive


This animal shelter serves the areas of El Cajon and El Mesa. To find out about cats and dogs available for adoption in El Cajon, check out their online listings! See the website for information about the shelter, including low-cost spay and neuter opportunities and dog licensing.

San Diego County Animal Services South Shelter

Daily, 10:30 AM – 4 PM
Distance from Millenia: 15-minute drive

If you’re interested in adopting from this shelter, you can start your search online. To see all the animals that are available, you’ll need to head to the facility itself.

It’s a good idea to learn more about the adoption process before heading to the shelter. At busy times it can take a couple of hours to complete an adoption, so it’s best to go in the morning or early afternoon, if possible.

How You Can Help the Shelter

There are several ways to help the South shelter; for instance, you can donate to a fund set up to cover medical expenses for sick and injured animals. There is also a volunteer program. You can work with cats, dogs, and other animals the shelter cares for. There’s also a foster program for young kittens, where you can care for litters of kittens for up to 4 weeks until they’re old enough to be adopted.

Baja Animal Sanctuary

Regular adoption event at Kahoots Pet Store: 10 AM – 2 PM
Judy Sobel (BAS contact): 858-335-2243
Kahoots Pet Store: 858-484-3121
Distance from Millenia: 40-minute drive

The Baja Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization in Rosarito, Mexico, 22 miles from the San Ysidro border. Founded by former New Yorker Sunny Benedict, it’s the only no-kill shelter in northern Mexico, and it’s dedicated to finding homes for every dog and cat it cares for.

Adopting an animal from this south-of-the-border shelter is a little unusual. Instead of visiting the shelter, you’ll head to a weekly dog adoption event at a pet store north of San Diego. It’s a little further afield than the shelters local to Millenia but may be worth the drive if the sanctuary’s find-a-pet site pulls up a dog you fall in love with!

If you prefer to adopt a pet from a local shelter but would still like to support the Baja Animal Sanctuary, you can always make a donation.

San Diego Humane Society

Monday – Sunday, 10 AM – 6 PM
Distance from Millenia: 30-minute drive

The San Diego Humane Society is a private nonprofit organization, dedicated to saving the lives of as many healthy, treatable, and adoptable animals as possible. The organization operates shelters in Escondido and Oceanside, as well as in San Diego.

Find out about animals that are up for adoption on the website. While you’re there, you can also learn more about the adoption process, so you’re ready if you decide to visit them in San Diego.

How to Support the Humane Society

The Humane Society website offers a number of ideas for people who would like to donate or otherwise offer help. There are lots of ways to volunteer, too, like:

  • Providing foster care
  • Assisting with training companion animals
  • Community outreach

different dog breeds looking up

For many families large or small, a pet is the perfect way to add some fun and extra love to your home life. Millenia’s community has six parks. You and your new dog are never more than a three-minute walk away from one, and dog parks offer a fun place to play as well.

Whether you’d like a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a reptile, or something else, there are lots of places to find your new best friend!