Rule of 3’s

3 days, 3 Weeks, and 3 Months

Bringing home a furry new family member can be one of the best days ever!  But transitioning to a new home is often one of the most stressful times in an animal’s life.

To help make this transition as smooth as possible, it can help to break it down to 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months.

First 3 Days

The first 3 days should be set aside for your dog or cat to decompress. It’s exciting to bring home a new family member and it can be easy to accidentally overwhelm them! Prepare a quiet place ahead of time where the dog or cat can relax and find their bearings. This space should be a safe place for them to rest and a place where they will not get into trouble when unsupervised. This might mean setting up a small room or bathroom for your cat as they can panic when given too much space too soon.  You might use a baby gate or exercise pen to create a safety zone for your new dog set up with food, water, and a soft place to rest. This can help cut down on accidents or chewed on household items while your new dog is adjusting to a new routine.

cat at the feet of a person

Follow your new pet’s lead and keep your interactions short at first. Give them plenty of chances to rest and decompress. You should avoid any unnecessary interactions that they may not be prepared to handle. A trip to the dog park or the pet store may cause a meltdown! Family members may want to visit right away, but this can be overwhelming. Save these visits for a few weeks down the road when you have had a chance to grow your relationship with your new pet.

First 3 Weeks

Over the next few weeks, you will start to see your new pet’s personality begin to emerge. Creating a consistent schedule with plenty of opportunities for you to reward your pet will help grow this new bond. This is a good time to start to establish a routine with meal times, regular potty breaks, exercise, and enrichment. This is also the time you will want to slowly integrate your new pet with other animals and children in the home. Any introductions should be done using short sessions and an adult should actively supervise all interactions.

Start to engage them with new toys and different activities to see what keeps them engaged and can burn their extra energy. This is also a great time to begin teaching some foundational skills using reward-based training. Cats love reinforcement too! So figure out what toys or treats they like. Use them to reward them for behaviors you want to see. 

Three Months

The next few months will be a chance to identify what routines work for you and your new pet. You should start to notice how much exercise they need and which activities they enjoy. Once they seem relaxed and comfortable with your routine at home, this is a great time to slowly start to integrate new activities like a trip to the park or introductions to family and friends.

Dog kissing a lady

This might also be the time that you start to notice some less desirable behaviors. Most of the time, you can work this through together with support from a behavior expert or veterinarian.

Remember that your new pet is doing their best, but they may not understand what you’re expecting of them. Keep in mind that their behavior may be species-appropriate or age-appropriate even if it’s not ideal for us. We can suggest more desirable outlets for those behaviors. Our behavior staff is happy to assess the situation and send you resources to help you and your pet. You can contact our behavior department for support.

$5,000 reward offered for Utah puppy thrown from a car window

Contact: Guinn Shuster                         

May 17, 2022

News Release
$5,000 reward offered for Utah puppy thrown from a car window

Murray – Utah, May 17, 2022 — Humane Society of Utah offers a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction in Malin’s case. According to Kevin Hansen of the South Salt Lake Animal Services, a bystander saw a 2-month-old puppy thrown from a moving car at 3300 S 300 W on Friday, May 13, 2022. South Salt Lake Animal Services named the critically injured puppy “Malin,” who is now receiving medical attention for two broken legs, two fractured ribs, and a punctured lung.

The Humane Society of Utah’s advocacy director, Rachel Heatley, praised South Salt Lake Animal Services’ response. “South Salt Lake Animal Services handled Malin’s injuries with urgency and deep compassion, ensuring Malin received the treatment she needed,” she said. “We only hope this reward will help bring the perpetrators of this cruelty to justice.”   

Malin is currently in the care of South Salt Lake Animal Services and will be brought into a foster home to help her heal this evening. The Humane Society of Utah is grateful for the tireless efforts of animal control officers in helping animals like Malin and caring for animals in our community. 

The Humane Society of Utah urges anyone with information regarding who injured Malin to contact the South Salt Lake Animal Service’s Office dispatch at 801-840-4000. Any tipster can choose to remain anonymous.

Bea’s Story: A Dying Dog’s Happy, Last Days

Senior fospice dog Bea with a white face and jeweled collar sits in living room with plants behind her.

Beatrice, or Bea, for short, was 14-years old when she returned to the Humane Society of Utah’s Pet Resource Center in Murray. Her caregivers had adopted her from us years ago but needed to bring her back because they were moving to a place that didn’t accept bully breeds. Bea also had two large masses on her side, one of which was bleeding. This is usually a sign of cancer, and unfortunately, her family couldn’t afford the vet bills to care for her failing health.

After Bea’s masses were surgically removed and biopsied by our shelter veterinarian, she was diagnosed with cancer and given just 2-4 months to live. During her recovery, she took a turn for the worse and refused to eat, drink or even move. Anjela Sullenger, HSU’s Behavior and Training Manager, didn’t want Bea to spend her last days in the shelter, so she took her home to foster her. 

“She was in so much pain, so I didn’t expect her to live longer than a week,” Anjela explained. “But then she started to settle in at my house, and she fell in love with my younger dog, Archie, who is really affectionate. They would bounce on the couch together and play. It was so cute.”

Fospice Dog On Borrowed Time

Bea slowly began to regain her strength and her appetite. Suddenly, she wanted treats, lots of treats! Knowing that Bea was terminally ill and on borrowed time, Anjela let her have as many goodies as her precious heart desired. She also ensured Bea had access to the coziest of dog beds and blankets. But Bea’s favorite spot to sleep was in Angela’s bed.

“She was very mucousy, and I didn’t want her slobber on my nice comforter, but she insisted on being under the covers right next to me.” So Angela let her stay, and they cuddled together all night long.

During the day, Bea would follow Anjela wherever she went, including the bathroom. There, she’d park herself on the bathmat to watch Anjela get ready for the day. “My favorite memory of Bea is of her waiting at the door with my other dogs for me to get home. When she saw me coming, she’d tap her feet, spin around and then kiss me on the face. It was wonderful seeing her so happy and having such a wonderful time despite her illness.”

Saying Good-Bye

After a little over a month together, Anjela discovered a new tumor attached to Bea’s abdominal wall, and within one week, it had tripled in size. At this time, Bea’s cognitive abilities began to decline. With her quality of life quickly deteriorating, Anjela knew it was time to say goodbye. On Bea’s last day of life, Anjela spoiled her with her favorite canned dog food and her very own sushi donut. “She LOVED it and was so excited to have the whole thing to herself.”  

When it was time for Bea to be euthanized, Angela held her in her arms as an HSU staff member administered the medication. Our humane euthanasia is a rapid and painless procedure, so Bea passed away peacefully and within less than 20 seconds. “It was hard to see her go, of course, but I absolutely did not want her to suffer anymore just because I enjoyed having her around. As her caretaker, it was my responsibility to help her avoid any pain or fear, and helping her to peacefully transition was an important way for me to show love for her.”

Fostering Compassion

At HSU, we’re always looking for fosters who can provide less traditional care for animals in need, like Bea. Terminally ill pets typically require more maintenance than we can provide at the shelter, and since their quality of life can improve while in a home, fospice care is really important for these dying pets. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find people to support them. The main reason for this is the belief that the time commitment will be too much. However, these animals are so sick that they mostly require medication, cuddles, and sleep. In fact, terminally ill animals are often easier to care for than our younger foster pets. To make the process easier on individuals willing to foster, HSU provides for their medication, food, treats, toys, blankets, and vet care. 

Angela shared, “We hope more individuals and families will consider opening up their hearts and homes to these pets so they can live out their last days knowing how loved they are. Bea is a perfect example of this. She was so happy and full of life during her last month with me, and she had a warm, safe place to call home. Her last days were not scary or confusing for her, and this is what makes the experience worthwhile.”

What’s in a name? Pet Resource Center

Pet resource center in murray
Front entrance view to the Pet Resource Center at the Humane Society of Utah.

You may have (or may not) have noticed that we no longer refer to ourselves as an “animal shelter” in our recent communications and are now calling ourselves a “Pet Resource Center.” In this three-part blog series, we’ll explain why.

In the last few years, the “Pet Resource Center” model has become widely adopted by animal welfare leaders across the country to improve upon the traditional animal sheltering approach. The term resource center comes from human welfare services and describes the way they provide a safety net beyond sheltering to those experiencing homelessness or in danger of becoming homeless. This radical new shift allows for organizations like ours to focus additional efforts on supporting pet guardians in various ways, so we can, in turn, help the companion animals in our communities. 

By adopting this model at the Humane Society of Utah, we can increase our capacity to care and support struggling pet guardians to help “keep pets and people together,” as our mission states. For example, we understand that the previous two years have been challenging for many. Our community members have been affected by housing insecurities, cost of living increases, supply chain, and veterinary shortages. These challenges have made owning a beloved companion animal more difficult. In response, we’ve worked hard to support guardians affected by the pandemic through the various programs we offer at our Pet Resource Center:

Community Clinic

By providing affordable spay/neuter and vaccines services through our two Preventative Care Clinics located in St. George and Murray, our organization was able to help over 144,000 community-owned pets stay healthy in 2021. Our clinics stayed open year-round to provide 12,643 spay/neuter surgeries to help prevent the pet overpopulation problem and administered 143,904 vaccines to help stop the spread of deadly viruses.

Pet Retention Program

Our Pet Retention program aims to keep pets and owners together, when possible, by providing resources to help owners who are experiencing difficulty but wish to keep their companion animals. By supporting our community members this way, we’re also helping keep pets out of the sheltering system. In 2021, our Pet Retention program served 487 medical cases for community-owned pets. In addition, we sponsored the first free vaccination and microchip clinic in Tooele County, providing 171 cats and dogs with free preventative care.

Community Partnerships

Our Pet Resource Center also connects community members with resources to help them keep their beloved pets through partnerships with organizations like Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering. We are currently working with organizations such as The Road Home and the YWCA to provide resources, such as vaccines and general pet care supplies. Developing partnerships is one of the key ways we ensure both people and their pets get what they need and stay together.

Join us for the second part of this blog series next month as we discuss the importance of education. And the educational resources our Pet Resource Center provides through our Behavior and Humane Education departments.

2021 In Review

aerial view of our facility

Dear Humane Society of Utah Family,

For 61 years, the Humane Society of Utah has served as a vital resource for the animals of Utah and beyond. Two things have held consistent in that time: our focus and change. We remain as focused as ever to provide the best life possible for the animals we share our lives with, but how we do that is always progressing. With regularity, we ask ourselves “what’s next?” Staying on the forefront of best practices, we implement new programs to save lives like we never have before to produce the best outcomes for all animals, both in our pet resource center and in the communities we serve.

Despite the many challenges of the ongoing pandemic, this past year has been one filled with success, growth, and forward momentum for the Humane Society of Utah.

6,282 animals were adopted in 2021 who are now in loving homes and 6,282 families are now happier and more complete. Keep in mind, each of these adoptions and placements represents a life – a life positively transformed by you, our HSU family of supporters.

Adoptions don’t just come about when a loving family picks out an ideal animal companion and signs an adoption contract. Adoptions come about because people know when they are no longer able to care for an animal, HSU will. They come about because we are able to give animals excellent veterinary care right when they come through our doors, and because we are able to give them love, food, and a safe space. Adoptions come about because our foster volunteers give those in need a little extra help and the time they need to grow or heal. Adoptions come about because our animal behavior team develops specific training plans for those needing a little refinement. They come about because our transport team rescues animals from overcrowded shelters near and far. Adoptions come about because you donate enrichment toys to keep them busy and blankets to keep them warm and comfy. They come about because you, our supporters, share their photos and stories on social media. They come about when someone chooses adoption and space frees up for the next animal. Adoptions come about because of amazing people including a dedicated staff, incredible volunteers, generous donors, and a supportive community. Adoptions come about because of you! Together, we were able to make all of this come about, 6,282 times, just last year.

Families in crisis sometimes feel they must resort to surrendering the pets they love and care for because they don’t know where to turn for temporary assistance with pet food, veterinary care, or behavior modification assistance. The Humane Society of Utah is focused on keeping pets in their current home, if there is a reasonable way to do so. Helping to keep animals in good homes is essential to reducing the homeless animal population. In 2021, we helped 1,464 pets avoid becoming homeless in the first place through our pet retention program and other resources.

Despite the challenges of COVID, using both in-person and virtual lessons, our amazing humane education team finished 2021 with 10,267 children taught about humane practices and compassion. We are very excited to have received a $100,000 grant from the Toscano Family to expand our humane education program. This grant funding gives us the opportunity to develop lessons for both junior and senior high school students reaching even more children than ever before.

Helping pet owners to spay or neuter their animals at no or low-cost also helps keep animals out of shelters by reducing the number of unwanted litters. In 2021, we sterilized 12,643 animals at our veterinary centers and sterilized 457 feral cats through our CATNIP Community Cat Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

When families are separated, we want to get them reunited. So, we microchipped 4,635 animals in 2021, which means 4,635 animals have an easy road home if they are ever lost!

Some animals who come into our care require a little extra time and care before they’re ready to be adopted into loving homes. Sometimes they’re not old enough to be adopted, sometimes they’re recovering from injury, sometimes they need extra socialization, and oftentimes they have an illness, such as kennel cough. That’s where our amazing foster caregivers jump into action. These loving volunteers provide short-term care for our animals until they’re ready to be adopted.

In 2021, 1,560 animals benefited from a short-term stay in 498 foster homes across the Salt Lake City area. That’s 1,560 more lives saved, thanks to the compassionate caregivers who were willing to open their homes and hearts to animals in need.

Collectively, our volunteers donated more than 11,740 hours of service last year alone. Our volunteers go above and beyond every day for the animals in our care. That is 11,740 hours ensuring dogs are walked, cats are cuddled, animals are photographed for the website, and our adoption and fundraising events are operating smoothly. The simple fact is, HSU could not exist without our volunteers!

While HSU works to save lives in Utah and beyond, we have always stressed that the job ahead of us is too big for any one organization. This is why we feel it is important to foster a cooperative animal welfare community. HSU works with hundreds of rescue groups and animal shelters to advocate for better animal-friendly laws and policies and to transfer animals into our facilities when other organizations need assistance. This year we took in 1,562 animals from other organizations, of which, 442 came in from out of state.

2021 was the first year of operations for our St. George clinic. In 2021, we worked with 17 shelters and rescue groups in Washington County and the general public to spay/neuter 3,265 animals. We also purchased a great piece of land for the future home of the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Pet Resource Center.

We are committed to using the incredible successes of the past year as a foundation to even greater things this year. But to do this, we need your help. Whether you can adopt, foster, donate, volunteer, advocate, or all of the above – we greatly appreciate you being part of the HSU family. Together, we were able to positively impact the animals and people of Utah and beyond – and we are resolved in our ability to make your continued support go even further in 2022 and save more lives!

Humanely Yours,

Assistance Animals

Assistance Animal FAQs

Preguntas frecuentes sobre los animales de asistencia

For the Public-

What is a service animal? 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. To “do work or perform tasks” means the dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog 

that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.

Are emotional support, therapy, or companion animals considered service animals? 

No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. 

Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained? 

No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.

Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA? 

No. The dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places.

What questions can an employee ask to determine if a dog is a service animal? 

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.

Do service animals have to wear a specific vest, tag, or ID identifying them as a service animal? 


Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as such? 


May a city require a dog to be registered as a service animal under the ADA? 

No.  Mandatory registration of service animals is not permissible under the ADA.  However, service animals are subject to the same licensing and vaccination rules that are applied to all dogs.

Can a service animal be any breed of dog? 


assistance animals

For Law Enforcement-

How should I handle a complaint regarding a service animal? 

When handling calls of a complaint regarding a service animal, law enforcement officers should remain neutral and should be prepared to explain the ADA requirements concerning service animals to the concerned parties. Businesses are required to allow service animals to accompany their owner into all areas that other customers or members of the public are allowed. Absent a violation of law independent of the ADA, officers should take no enforcement action beyond keeping the peace. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against as a result of a disability should be referred to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Can individuals with disabilities be refused access to a facility based solely on the breed of their service animal? 

No.  A service animal may not be excluded based on assumptions or stereotypes about the animal’s breed or how the animal might behave.  However, if a particular service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, that animal may be excluded.  If an animal is excluded for such reasons, staff must still offer their goods or services to the person without the animal present.

If a municipality has an ordinance that bans certain breeds of dogs, does the ban apply to service animals? 

No. Municipalities that prohibit specific breeds of dogs must make an exception for a service animal of a prohibited breed, unless the dog poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  Under the “direct threat” provisions of the ADA, local jurisdictions need to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a particular service animal can be excluded based on that particular animal’s actual behavior or history, but they may not exclude a service animal because of fears or generalizations about how an animal or breed might behave.  It is important to note that breed restrictions differ significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In fact, some jurisdictions have no breed restrictions.

Where can service animals be excluded? 

The ADA does not require covered entities to modify policies, practices, or procedures if it would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public.  Nor does it overrule legitimate safety requirements.  If admitting service animals would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program, service animals may be prohibited.  In addition, if a particular service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded.

When might a service dog’s presence fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program provided to the public?  

In most settings, the presence of a service animal will not result in a fundamental alteration.  However, there are some exceptions.  For example, at a boarding school, service animals could be restricted from a specific area of a dormitory reserved specifically for students with allergies to dog dander.  At a zoo, service animals can be restricted from areas where the animals on display are the natural prey or natural predators of dogs, where the presence of a dog would be disruptive, causing the displayed animals to behave aggressively or become agitated.  They cannot be restricted from other areas of the zoo. 

What does under control mean? Must service animals be on a leash? Do they have to be quiet and not bark? 

The ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. In most instances, the handler will be the individual with a disability or a third party who accompanies the individual with a disability. In the school (K-12) context and in similar settings, the school or similar entity may need to provide some assistance to enable a particular student to handle his or her service animal. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents use of these devices. In that case, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may use a long, retractable leash to allow her service animal to pick up or retrieve items. She may not allow the dog to wander away from her and must maintain control of the dog, even if it is retrieving an item at a distance from her. Or, a returning veteran who has PTSD and has great difficulty entering unfamiliar spaces may have a dog that is trained to enter a space, check to see that no threats are there, and come back and signal that it is safe to enter. The dog must be off leash to do its job, but may be leashed at other times. Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in a lecture hall, theater, library, or other quiet place. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.

What happens if a person thinks a covered entity’s staff has discriminated against them? 

Individuals who believe that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.  Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA.

The information on this page has been sourced directly from the U.S. Department of Justice. For more information, please visit

4th of July hours and Safety Tips

The Humane Society of Utah’s Independence and Pioneer Holiday Hours: 

Sunday, 7/4/21 Independence Day – Adoptions open 10-7, all other shelter departments closed

Observed Monday, 7/5/21- Adoptions open 12-5, all other departments closed.

Saturday, 7/24/21 Pioneer Day – Adoptions open 12-5, all other shelter departments closed.

Observed Friday, 7/23 Adoptions open 10-7, all other shelter departments closed.

The July 4 and 24 holidays bring fun, food, and fireworks that can cause harm to pets. Unfortunately, there is an increase in the number of pets that go missing due to fearful reactions from the loud noises, the smell of sulfur, and bright lights from fireworks. The best tip is to prevent your pet from getting lost in the first place. Please do not take your pet with you to watch fireworks, and do not leave them unattended outside during parties or firework activities. If your pet goes missing on one of these holidays, please check with your local municipal animal shelter.


The Humane Society of Utah shares the following safety concerns and tips to pet owners during these holiday celebrations.

  • Keep pets in a safe area during holiday parties. Ask your guests not to feed your pet any food other than their pre-approved treats and to be mindful that they do not escape the house or yard when people come and go. Party foods such as grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, guacamole, chicken wings, cooked bones, chocolate, Xylitol (artificial sweetener common in sugar-free foods), and alcohol are all harmful to your pets.
  • Make sure your pets have current identification. We highly recommended that your pet is microchipped in addition to wearing an ID collar in case fear causes them to bolt. Be sure to keep your contact information updated.
  • Keep your pet safely away from firework activity. For pets usually kept outdoors, bring them inside during firework activity. Try to feed and walk your dog before fireworks begin.
  • Prepare the house. Keep some lights on to calm your pet. Dampen the noise by closing doors, windows, curtains and keeping the TV or calm music playing.
  • Do a follow-up assessment. Your pet may remain anxious even after the firework activity ends. If your pet is stressed, keep them inside overnight. Check the yard to collect fireworks and party items before letting your pets back outside.