Our Mission & History

Mission Statement

The Animal Defense League of Texas takes in rescued cats and dogs, provides medical treatment, nutrition, and shelter in a safe, live release facility until they are matched with their forever families. Through community education and empowerment, we advocate for truly responsible pet ownership.

Supported by contributions and directed by a volunteer board, the League provides programs and services which strengthen the bond between animals and people. Through grassroots advocacy, education and rescue, the organization is the leading voice for dogs and cats in crisis.

The Animal Defense League provides a variety of services and resources including:
  • Sheltering of puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats
  • Complete medical care provided to animals at ADL
  • Full-time veterinarian and staff who care for all resident animals
  • Spay/neuter services and vaccinations for pets of low-income families
  • Adoption services to find forever homes for animals taken in by ADL

How ADL Operates

The Animal Defense League is supported through adoption fees, donations, grants, bequests from individuals, and special events to raise needed funds.

Directed by a volunteer board and operated by a professional management and veterinary staff, ADL provides programs and services that strengthen the bond between animals and people. Through grassroots advocacy, education, and rescue, the Animal Defense League is the leading voice for dogs and cats in crisis.

ADL Operates as San Antonio’s largest and oldest true- no-kill shelter. This means that no animal is ever euthanized if it can be treated and returned to health. If the shelter reaches its maximum capacity of 400 animals, no additional dogs and cats can be taken in but no animal will ever be euthanized to make room for others. Animals can be brought in and cared for only as others are adopted.

ADL History

The Animal Defense League got its start as part of the Child Protective & Humane Society which began operating in 1923. This was an initiative to help children, companion animals and beasts of burden. In 1934 the Animal Defense League was incorporated and became a new organization with a mission to prevent cruelty to animals. Over the years our mission has expanded from providing basic shelter and care to finding permanent homes for the thousands of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens annually.

In the early 1960s ADL moved to its present location in northeast San Antonio. Our Nacogdoches campus encompasses more than 12 acres and includes an adoption center, kennel buildings, a cattery complex, an education center, a two-acre pet park, and a separate clinic for on-site ADL animal surgeries and medical care. In 2004, housing was expanded with the addition of two kennels built to house canines and in 2014, three additional kennels were built in partnership with the city of San Antonio further increasing canine housing by an additional 69 runs. In 2016 ADL expanded its service locations when it was awarded the operating contract for a second City owned, tenant operated 3.4 acre campus, The Paul Jolly Center for Pet Adoptions.