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Frequently Asked Questions

The Humane Society of Utah knows that you have questions about how to adopt, what to do when you find a stray animal and other services that the clinic offers. Learn more in our Frequently Asked Questions section.

How many pets do you place into new homes?

In 2013, HSU adopted 7,278 dogs and cats to new homes. An additional 987 dogs and cats were placed back with their owners, or placed at a rescue group or another shelter. Our 2013 placement rate (also known as “live-release” rate, which includes adoptions, transfers to other humane groups and reunions with owners) for dogs was 87.09%; for cats it was 71.42%. Our adoption rates are quite impressive when compared to the national average (25% for dogs and 20% for cats). We are proud of our efforts and the Board, staff, and volunteers of HSU are committed to achieving a 90% percent placement rate of all dogs and cats brought to HSU by 2016, meaning that we will save the lives of over 10,000 adoptable companion animals each calendar year (this goal is based on our current annual intake of dogs and cats).
In 2013, other shelters in the state of Utah comprised an average of 88.1% live-release on dogs and 53% live-release on cats.

What is your “live-release” or placement rate?

For complete placement statistics calculated in accordance with the National Federation of Humane Societies’ Live-Release Data Matrix, click here.

Is HSU a "no kill" facility?

We would like to note that “no kill" does not mean no euthanasia, a key point often lost in this discussion. The term "no kill" has, unfortunately, become a marketing tool rather than an honest description of the enormous undertaking of providing care for homeless pets.

As a rule "no kill" is defined as a 90% placement or live-release rate. Our goal is to achieve a placement rate of 90% on all dogs and cats from our shelter by 2016. There are no time limits placed on how long an animal is available for adoption at the Humane Society of Utah. Dogs available for adoption are never euthanized because of space limitations. HSU euthanizes dogs only for significant health or behavior issues and does not take lightly the decision to end a life. We are rapidly approaching the same standard for cats. With a placement rate of 90% by 2016, we will be saving the lives of more than 10,000 companion animals per calendar year (this goal is based on our current annual intake of dogs and cats).

Also worth noting, many "no kill" shelters are more accurately defined as limited admission facilities. Some private "no kill" shelters pick and choose which animals are acceptable for adoption, turning away many others who have a medical or behavioral condition or are deemed, according to that shelter's criteria, as unadoptable. Generally speaking, Animal Control agencies (whether “no kill” or not) don’t take animals being surrendered by the owners, but rather take strays. In contrast, HSU is an open-admissions shelter, meaning that our doors are always open for any animal that we can legally accept. In fact, many animals that have been rejected from other “no kill” facilities and Animal Control agencies end up at our shelter.

In sum, the use of such vague, hard to define terms and ideals makes it confusing for pet owners who are trying to obtain services. At HSU, rather than branding ourselves as “no kill,” we believe there are more effective uses of our resources (such as funding our many programs) to provide second chances for all healthy and treatable companion animals.

Where do your animals come from?

Pets surrendered by their owners make up the vast majority of the animals received at HSU. We will accept stray dogs and cats, however, we recommend that these animals go to the municipal or county Animal Services organization in the locality that the animal was found. This recommendation is based on the fact that return to owner outcomes will be more likely if the animal stays in the jurisdiction in which it was found.

We also accept dogs from other shelters across Utah and in surrounding states through our Transfer and Rescue Department. We utilize a network of over 140 rescue groups and shelters to choose dogs that are at risk of being euthanized for time limits or space constraints. We are able to bring dogs to HSU and provide a positive outcome for nearly one-thousand dogs per year through this program.

Why do you take animals from shelters outside of Utah?

Prior to beginning our animal transfer program in 2008, the small dog and puppy areas at HSU were often empty. Families looking for small dogs had no adoption alternatives to breeders, pet stores or classified ads. Our current Transfer and Rescue Director (who had relocated from Los Angeles to Utah many years ago) recognized the thousands of small breed dogs being euthanized in other cities outside of Utah every day. The Board and staff of HSU realized that there was a life-saving “supply and demand” answer to both of these problems, and our Transfer and Rescue Department was born! As of February 2014, HSU has saved 5,351 animals lives by transferring them to our shelter. Of this number, 4,381 were healthy and friendly small dogs who had simply found themselves in the unfortunate circumstance of being at an over-crowded shelter in the wrong zip-code. We also support Utah animal shelters by transferring in dogs of all sizes, and, occasionally, even a kitty or two!

How do you decide who is adoptable?

Our goal is to place all healthy and treatable companion animals received at our shelter, which correlates with a 90% placement rate. Pets placed for adoption at our shelter need to be of sound temperament and good health. Pets with a history of severe aggression who pose a public safety threat, and pets with major medical problems that cannot be resolved without extensive veterinary care, are not suitable for our adoption program. That being said, many animals requiring medical care or behavior training are placed into our Foster Care Department where a family will be selected to help the pet become adoptable. Many dogs also undergo substantial assessment activities and training recommendations from our Behavior Coordinator prior to placement for adoption. Our Transfer & Rescue Department also seeks to place dogs and cats with medical or behavioral issues into our network of over 140 partner shelters and rescue groups around the country and in Canada.

How long do you keep animals?

Pets will stay up for adoption as long as they remain physically and emotionally healthy. There are no time limits placed on how long an animal is available for adoption at the Humane Society of Utah. HSU has found homes for many adult dogs and cats in less than 1 day and worked months to find the perfect home for others.

Additionally, HSU has over 150 volunteer foster familieswho care for newborns, recuperating dogs and cats, and dogs needing socialization and training, keeping these animals out of the shelter population until they are ready to be placed up for adoption. Foster families also receive individual animals that simply need a break from the stress of staying at the shelter. We greatly appreciate these individuals and families who open their homes to needy companion animals every day. Outstandingly, foster families directly saved the lives of 1,471 animals in 2013!

How do I bring an animal to you for adoption?

The Receiving Info page of this website contains information on HSU's pre-admission policy and links to print out the necessary forms. We want to do everything possible to help you keep your pet. However, we know that this is not always the best solution and we are available to help when you need to find a new home for your animal. Our staff can provide you with helpful information on how you might change a behavior difficulty or give you information on other community resources.

Could you come pick up my dog? I can't keep him anymore and I don't have any transportation.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide this service. If you need to give an animal up and you cannot bring it, find a friend or relative that can bring you and your pet to HSU, or contact your local Animal Control agency.

Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?

We estimate that about 25% of the animals brought to the shelter are purebreds. If you are interested in specific breed, check our pet lists to see if one is available or sign up for anautomatic E-mail notification when a certain breed becomes available. Our Transfer & Rescue department also works with purebred dog rescue organizations and can provide suggestions on where to turn at (801) 261-2919 ext. 219 or jalmeida@utahhumane.org. Often times, purebred dogs are transferred from HSU to rescue groups who specialize in adoption of a particular breed. That way HSU has more room for mix breeds and the purebred gets the attention it needs as well.

Are your adoptable dogs and cats already microchipped?

We recommend microchipping all cats and dogs. On the day of adoption, we can provide a microchip for only $15.00 (regularly $25.00 for any dog or cat). Some of our adoptable animals are already microchipped and simply require the new owner to register their information for a small fee with the microchip company.

Microchips are a safe, permanent way to identify your companion animal. A pet microchip is a small computer chip (about the size of a rice grain) safely injected between the animal's shoulder blades. Having your pet microchipped greatly increases the chances of it being returned to you when lost. All pets should wear an ID tag with a contact number on it, preferably your mobile number - but microchips are the best backup for a collar and visible ID tag.

What microchips are NOT: GPS trackers or similar devices. A pet's geographic location cannot be tracked by a microchip. The chip must be scanned (at a vet's office or shelter, for example), which will provide the scanner with owner contact information from a computer database. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company so you can be contacted if your pet escapes and is found and brought to a vet or shelter.

Do you require spaying or neutering of adopted pets?

We are committed to ending pet overpopulation and consider spaying and neutering the number one solution to this tragic problem. Many pets are already spayed or neutered before coming to HSU. Any dogs, cats or rabbits that are not yet spayed/neutered are surgically sterilized at our in-house clinic before being placed for adoption.

Can HSU help me if I can't afford to sterilize my animal?

Spaying and neutering saves lives. Our affordable in-house clinic offers sterilization surgeries at a highly reduced price over private veterinary clinics. Please visit our clinic pricing page for more details.

How do I adopt a pet from HSU?

Information on how to adopt a pet is available on the Adoption Process page.

Why are your adoption fees different for each animal?

Do you wonder why puppies cost more? At the Humane Society of Utah, we cheer for ALL the animals! However, we know that some animals are more desired by the public: small breed dogs, puppies, kittens, and some other popular breeds.

Having a higher adoption fee for animals we know will go home quickly enables us to care for long-time or special needs residents until they find their new homes. An example of this is a dog named Fido. He is a great dog and HSU staff and volunteers were very fond of him in the months he lived at HSU. We knew someone from the public would walk in the door and realize what a terrific guy he is. Until then, he sits and watches as the cute little ones go home. Puppies fly out the door with families. Cute, smaller dogs are barely here for a day before their new pet parents adopt them. Luckily for pets like Fido, the more desirable pets are subsidizing his care, as well as the veterinary care of, for example, dogs with broken legs or cats with respiratory infections.

Our adoption fees are based on an animal's age, breed, temperament, behavioral issues, and physical condition. The adoption fee includes a certificate for a free health examination by a participating vet, first vaccines (cats and dogs), spay/neuter surgery, leash or cat carrier, and informational materials. Rabbits and rodents also include a carrier to safely transport your pet home.

Sometimes the pet photos on the website are blurry. Why?

The Humane Society of Utah is thrilled to have the technology to post photos of all the animals available for adoption as soon as they become available. Some of the photos are taken on arrival to the shelter. These photos may not be the highest quality nor show off the animal very well. However, HSU is very lucky to have an excellent photographer who takes quality photos of the animals. These are then uploaded to replace any that may be blurry. There are times when the pet finds a new home before the photographer is able to replace the arrival photo.

What kind of food do you feed the dogs and cats at the shelter?

We are fortunate to have most of our food donated by people in the community. The food is mixed to reduce the shock of a change of diet. Using donated food saves our shelter over $30,000 each year. Monetary donations to help us purchase special food for animals with allergies or other health problems, as well as kitten and puppy milk replacement, are always appreciated. Click here to make a financial contribution

Does the Utah Humane Society sell animals for scientific experimentation or to rendering plants?

No! Under no circumstances are HSU animals utilized for experimentation or research, nor are they sold posthumously to rendering plants.

Where is the Utah Humane Society located?

We are located at 4242 South 300 South (Commerce Drive) in Murray, Utah. For directions, please utilize Google Maps.

What is the history behind your shelter?

The Humane Society of Utah was founded in 1960. From 1960 to 1990, we were located at a shelter in West Valley City, Utah. In 1990, our current facility in Murray, Utah opened for business. Our Murray building was the result of a very generous bequest from a Utah woman named Janice Johnson.

How do I report animal neglect or cruelty?

If you suspect or know an animal is suffering from neglect or abuse, call HSU's Investigator at (801) 261-2919, ext. 210. Our Investigator will ask you for detailed information about the location, animal in question, and potential suspect as well as your contact number, which will be kept strictly confidential. Our Investigator will determine the appropriate action, and you will be given information on contacting your local police department, sheriff's office, or Animal Control agency when appropriate. HSU does not provide emergency response.

I found a lost/stray animal. What should I do?

You should report stray animals by phone to your nearest Animal Control agency (either your municipal or county shelter). If the dog or cat is friendly and approachable, you can try to contain the animal to determine if it has an identification tag on with a name, address or phone number of its owner. If no identification tag is present, you can transport the animal to your local Animal Control to be held.

Help! I've lost my pet. What do I do?

If you have lost your pet, the Humane Society of Utah urges you to visit your local Animal Control shelter first. HSU does not take in as many strays as most Animal Control agencies and your chances of finding your pet are higher at those shelters. Contact our Receiving Department at (801) 261-2919 ext. 214 if you do not locate your pet through Animal Control first.

What services do you offer at the HSU Clinic?

HSU’s in-house Clinic offers vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, heartworm tests (including heartworm preventative medication), anal gland expression, nail clipping, and owner requested euthanasia of sick and elderly pets.

  • Vaccinations, microchips, heartworm tests, anal gland expression and nail clipping are done on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary). Click here for pricing.
  • Spay/neuter surgeries are by appointment only. Click here for pricing. To schedule an appointment, please contact our clinic at (801) 261-2919 ext. 230
  • Owner requested euthanasia is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please contact our clinic at (801) 261-2919 ext. 230
  • I have an animal that is sick (or has been injured) may I bring it to HSU Clinic for treatment?

    Our Clinic does not provide full veterinary services to the public. You will need to take your pet to your own full service veterinarian.

    Do you perform euthanasia services? Can you euthanize my sick/old animal?

    Yes, HSU's licensed veterinarians or certified technicians can perform this service. The method used is an injection of Sodium Pentobarbital, which causes death very swiftly and painlessly. If you would like to be with your pet when it is euthanized, you must make an appointment with our Clinic (801) 261-2919 ext. 230. Our clinic does euthanasia for dogs/cats only. Prices vary by weight of the animal.

    If you don't want to be with your animal, our Receiving department can accept the animal for euthanasia Monday thru Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. The cost for euthanasia in Receiving is $60 per dog/cat, rabbit/parrots $15, rats/guinea pigs $5. Please call (801) 261-2919 ext. 214 for additional information.

    Does HSU receive money from my taxes, and how is HSU different from Animal Control agencies?

    The Humane Society of Utah is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization. We receive NO tax dollars or government funding. HSU is funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses and foundations.

    HSU is not an Animal Control agency. However, HSU is the highest intake shelter in Utah and we handle more homeless pets per year than any other agency in our state. HSU works to ensure a happy and healthy quality of life for all animals. Our main concern is for the well-being of animals and protecting them from abuse or neglect. Our Investigations Department works throughout the state, many times assisting local law enforcement agencies including Animal Control, looking into allegations of animal abuse or neglect with the emphasis being on making the conditions better for the animal.

    Generally speaking, your local Animal Control agencies won’t take animals being surrendered by their owners—only taking strays instead—and will refer you to a local private shelter, such as the HSU, to surrender your pet. Your local Animal Control agency is generally charged with: protecting you from animals; responding to a dog running at large or barking too much; dealing with vicious dog bites or attacks; licensing your pet; and, most notably, sheltering your pet if it were lost. Most Animal Control agencies are also responsible for dead animals in your yard, road or neighborhood.

    What is the difference between the Humane Society of Utah and other animal welfare organizations that solicit funds from me through the mail (such as Humane Society of the United States, PETA, American Humane, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, etc.)?

    While all of these organizations work to help all kinds of animals, what sets HSU apart from the national organizations is that it operates an open-admissions local shelter that receives and houses animals with a trackable adoption program. HSU works directly with members of our Utah communities to find homes for homeless pets, increase the intrinsic value of all animals through legislation, stop abuse and neglect, and inform the public about homeless pets and humane education.

    If I make a gift to a national organization, does HSU receive a portion of my donation?

    The Humane Society of Utah is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization. We receive NO on-going support from national organizations for our programs. HSU is funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses and foundations.

    How can I help?

    HSU greatly appreciates financial donations, volunteer time, and supplies. We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible as allowed by law. Your financial support helps us maintain and expand the life-saving programs and services we offer to the community. Many of our programs would not exist without the generous donation of time by volunteers who work tirelessly with the animals at the shelter and in foster care. There is a world of opportunities offered to individuals who want to volunteer at HSU . Finally, to reduce operational expenses, the public is encouraged to donate needed items directly to the shelter.

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