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Our History

our history

History of the Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah fosters an atmosphere of love, compassion, and respect for Utah’s pets and is dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals. We work hard to ensure that every healthy and treatable pet that enters our facility will be placed in a loving home, and there is no set limit on the length of time an animal may remain in our adoption program.

 The Humane Society of Utah was founded in 1960. From 1960 to 1992, we were located at a shelter in what is now West Valley City. In 1989, after several bequests were received by a number of donors, we were able to purchase the land where our current Murray facility resides. Shortly after, the construction of our Murray building from 1990 to 1992 was the result of a very generous bequest from a Utah school teacher named Janice Johnson. To this day, our building is named the Janice Johnson Center for Animals. 

In 2014, the expansion and renovation project was completed which allowed us to save more pets than ever before in our history. Using an education-focused open adoption process, positive promotion of shelter pets, and our lifesaving programs and services, our goal is to keep pets and people together, bring them together, and move each individual pet to their most appropriate outcome as quickly as possible. Furthering our progressive multi-pronged approach to increase adoptions and placements of pets, we are constantly improving our shelter.

Beginning in 2009, the Humane Society of Utah embarked on an ambitious remodel project to increase holding space and create a more inviting atmosphere for the public.  The much-needed expansions of our Foster Care, Volunteer, Clinic, and Administration Departments was completed in early 2012. “Kitty City” was also unveiled in 2012—a state-of-the-art adoption area that features our cats in a home-like setting and allows people to interact with their future pet more comfortably. Remarkably, cat adoptions have increased since this new area opened.

In early 2014, the “Bunny Bungalows,” a new adoption area for our third-most adopted species, increased the space available to showcase rabbits.

In May 2014, the highly anticipated “The Wait is Over, Rover” dog adoption area was completed. Our large and small dogs are now showcased for the public in “Dawgville” and “Tiny Town” respectively. As with the cats, the dogs are more relaxed in the new kennel systems that are separated into five different rooms and adoptions have increased as a result.

In 2018, Bunny Bungalows and Rodent Ranch were combined in one large area named Critter Country to better highlight our smallest furry friends. 

Now that you know our history, Please join us in our lifesaving mission, and stand with us to ensure that our doors are always open for every animal, every day.

The Humane Society of Utah is a local, independent 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization that does not receive any tax dollars or government funding and is not a branch of any national organization. We are funded solely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations in our community, and supported by sponsorships, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from our retail outlets and some fees for service. The Humane Society of Utah requires significant resources to provide our programs to animals in need. We can’t do it alone. Our mission is a community initiative which involves collaboration and the support of people like you. You can Change Their World!

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