Animal Shelters Across Utah are Full: Humane Society of Utah Offers Half-Off Adoption Fees to Encourage Adoptions. 

Contact: Guinn Shuster

June 15, 2022

Murray — Utah, June 15, 2022 — Humane Society of Utah (HSU) offers half off all adoption fees through June 30, during the Summer of Love adoption special. Each pet for adoption has been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and medically and behaviorally assessed.

“Shelters across the state are at or over capacity.”, said HSU Associate Director of Marketing and Communications Guinnevere Shuster. “Adoptions are slowing down, and animals are waiting longer than usual to get adopted. By making adoption affordable for everyone we hope to move homeless pets into loving homes.”

There are additional benefits of adopting from the Humane Society of Utah:

  • HSU offers training advice from certified dog trainers and educational information to support pet families for the animal’s life span
  • 10% off preventative veterinary care services at our Murray location clinic for the pet’s life
  • Speak or email with an expert about any behavior or training concerns
  • By opening your heart and home to a new pet, you will help create space in the shelter for other homeless companion animals in need

Adoptable pets come with a free wellness exam from one of our Participating Veterinary Clinics within 30 days of adoption

HSU works with numerous local and rural animal shelters throughout the state of Utah to transfer in at-risk animals. Year-to-date, HSU has transferred in 290 cats and dogs from Utah animal shelters to provide relief from overcrowding and help these homeless pets find homes.

“Many of our shelter partners here in Utah have reached out to the transfer department pleading for assistance with overcrowding,” said HSU Transfer Department Supervisor Spenser Betenson. “For example, in the first six days of June, Uintah County Animal Shelter brought in 54 animals, which is a massive number for a small rural shelter.”

By hosting this adoption special, the Humane Society of Utah hopes to encourage adoptions and make room for the increasing number of homeless pets.

June is Adopt a Cat Month! Here’s Why Cats Make Purr-fect Pets

It may be true that you can’t buy happiness, but you can adopt a cat, and we think that’s pretty dang close! June is National Adopt a Cat Month, and coming in on the heels of “kitten season” (the period of the year in which the most kittens are born), it’s the perfect time to think about adding a feline to the family.

What cat with orange ears sit on cat tree.

Here are a few reasons to consider a shelter kitty for your next pet:

  • You’re saving a life, maybe even multiple lives!
    • Adopting a cat not only makes for a happier and longer life for the animal you adopted, and for many cats who will come after them. We have far more animals on the planet than we have space for in animal shelters, and adopting one opens up room for another animal to have the chance at finding a home. So, you’re making a difference to far more cats than you may have thought!
  • Petting a cat a day keeps the doctor away?
    • You may have heard before that a cat’s purr has “healing powers”, but is that true? The short answer is yes! When you hold a purring cat, your body releases positive endorphins, which are basically happy chemicals for your brain. This can improve mental health and reduce stress, which means you are less at risk for stress-related medical complications. 
  • Cats are easy-going pets
    • Cats are notoriously independent, and they are a great option for pet owners who would like a lower-maintenance companion. “[Cats] don’t require a large amount of outdoor time and physical exercise,” said Gabby Davis, an HSU adoption counselor. “They are wonderful companions that are happy just existing in the same space as you while you complete your own activities, but love playtime, enrichment and training!”
  • Adopting a cat from a shelter is inexpensive
    • Not only is adopting a cat from a shelter going to save you money as compared to purchasing from a breeder, but shelter cats most often come with vaccinations, spayed/neutered, and have been recently examined by our medical team. Aside from saving a chunk of cash on those medical fees, adopting from a nonprofit like HSU means the money you pay for your kitty will go right back towards the care of other animals like them!
  • Cats are adorable
    • There’s a reason felines have ruled the internet for all these years– people can’t get enough of them! Not only do they have cute little faces and toe-beans, but they have silly and charming habits too, like chasing string toys or a catnip mouse. And, in our opinion, there is absolutely no feeling in the world like a cat cuddling up beside you.

Adopt One of These Shelter Cats!

  • Grey shelter cat looking up against black backdrop.
  • Blue eyed shelter cat lays on tile floor.
  • Black and white shelter cat plays with brown feather toy.
  • Long haired orange shelter cat lays on blue mat in studio with white backdrop.
  • Black and white cat looks up with big green eyes.

To view all our adoptable cats and kittens click here.

Mochi’s Story:  A Family’s Unexpected First Pet

Mochi was just four-months-old when he found himself up for adoption at the Humane Society of Utah’s Kitty City. This high-spirited, black and white striped kitten greeted everyone who passed by with an excited meow, as if to say, “pick me, pick me!” 

Adopting a Kitten

Shu Saito, one of HSU’s long-time corporate sponsors, took notice. Shu was visiting HSU that day to drop off, yet again, another generous donation to our nonprofit. Alongside him were his wife, Amy, and their five-year-old son, Kota. Amy and Kota had always wanted a cat of their own, but Shu had too many reservations. 

“My husband didn’t grow up with pets, so he didn’t know what to expect. He was worried that owning one would be more mess and responsibility than we could handle,” Amy explained. “But I told him on our way to HSU that it would be difficult for me to leave without adopting a kitten. I didn’t think in a million years he would be open to it.”

Amy grew up with cats and enjoyed their company so much; she is a “little obsessed.” She and Kota had tried to talk Shu into adopting one several times, but Shu wouldn’t budge. However, when Shu saw Kota and Mochi visiting that day, he had a change of heart. “Mochi and Kota got along from the start, and Kota was so excited to meet his new friend. It just felt right,” Amy shared.

A Family Falls In Love

The four of them have been a family for several months now, and it’s going better than expected. “There was a learning curve,” Amy explained. “We had to figure out Mochi’s personality and where we were going to put the litter box and how to keep it clean. But our son loves his new kitty so much. They sleep together every night.” 

Shu has fallen in love with Mochi, too, and vice versa. While Shu is lounging on the couch after a long day at work, Mochi will come to lay directly on top of him and fall asleep. “I love seeing the two of them together. It’s precious! Mochi has such a cute personality. He will bring us his little balls so we can play fetch, which I’ve never seen a cat do before.”  

Amy and her family are over the moon with their unexpected adoption. In a short time, Mochi has become an essential part of their family, and they wouldn’t have it any other way, litter box hassle and all.

Worth the Wait: Leo’s Story

Leo's story: black and tan bully breed missing fur stands in living room looking out patio door.

Our staff was heartbroken by the sight of Leo’s condition when he first arrived at the Humane Society of Utah in early 2022. Leo, a four-year-old bully breed mix, was severely malnourished and suffering from what appeared to be extreme allergies, which had led to hair loss and skin infections all over his body and in his ears. As a result of these infections, Leo’s body was covered in swollen red sores, pustules, and scabs. After our medical team assessed him, their number one priority became to help Leo gain weight and clear up his painful skin and ear infections as best they could.

Concerns of refeeding Syndrome

Unfortunately, due to Leo’s severe malnutrition, our medical team had concerns of refeeding syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal condition caused by sudden shifts in blood electrolyte levels. Since food deprivation changes the way one’s body metabolizes nutrients, there can be an abrupt electrolyte change when fat metabolism switches to carbohydrate metabolism in malnourished patients. To prevent this, HSU had to re-introduce food slowly. As a result, Leo’s healing process was prolonged and his energy low, but he made progress. 

Due to his severe medical issues, Leo was placed in our foster care program for a longer-than-average stay. His foster guardian and HSU’s Behavior and Training Manager, Anjela Sullenger, said, “He’s settling in with me and tolerating his new regime of taking medicated baths for his skin very well. He has become very affectionate with me and wants me  to sit and cuddle with him all day, which is very sweet.”

Leo's story: a severely malnourished black and tan dog stands looking out patio door. The dog is missing much fur and all ribs can be seen.

Leo’s true personality shines through

Anjela brings him to work with her every day to support Leo’s mental and emotional health. At our Pet Resource Center in Murray, Leo follows Anjela everywhere while hanging out at her office. If Anjela has to step out for a minute, Leo patiently waits by her office door for her to return. While at home together, their favorite thing to do is to sit and cuddle on the couch and catch up on Anjela’s favorite TV shows.

Anjela shared, “Leo gets along very well with my two dogs, although he is not interested in playing at the moment and not really up for much exercise. But I have high hopes that he will become more playful as he starts to feel better.”. 

HSU’s Resource Center Veterinarian, Dr. Meredith Bleuer, has been part of the team to help Leo recover. She adds,  “malnutrition is not only detrimental to metabolic function, but can also lead to many secondary problems such as skin abnormalities, delayed wound healing and major organ dysfunction.  It is important to ensure pets receive proper nutrients with a nutritionally balanced diet.”  

Worth the Wait

Over the next two months, Leo would require further visits with specialists to help get to the root of his skin issues. While visiting with the dermatologist veterinarians at Blue Pearl, it became apparent that Leo was suffering from an autoimmune skin disease. Luckily, he could make a full recovery with proper medication. While in Anjela’s care, Leo steadily began to gain weight, and his splotchy, scab-filled coat was eventually replaced with soft, velvety fur. 

Although Leo’s road to recovery has been long and challenging, our dedicated team, who never gave up, is happy to report that he was adopted on March 26th! He now spends his days cuddling with his new family and doggy friend on the couch. Leo is an excellent reminder that while most transformations don’t happen overnight, they are worth the wait when they finally do – and it’s important never to give up hope.  

A Love Story From Texas to California

Six-year-old Jaeger’s story began in El Paso, Texas. While we don’t have many details of his early life, we know that he was a frequent flyer at the local animal shelter and found himself there numerous times. After spending an unknown amount of time in El Paso, Jaeger was transferred to the Humane Society of Utah in June of 2021 for a second chance at life.

Filled with energy and enthusiasm, Jaeger arrived at HSU ready to find his perfect match. Our staff quickly picked up on his quirks and started making a plan as to what type of adopter would suit him best. We found that he had lots of energy and needed an adopter who could help him stay stimulated mentally and physically. He also wasn’t house trained and would need a refresher on doggy etiquette, so finding a patient adopter was vital.

During his stay

Jaeger worked closely with our behavior team and was learning more every day. We knew finding the right fit for him might take some time, but seeing him with a loving family would be well worth it.

From June to September of 2021, Jaeger was adopted and returned three times. There were various reasons for Jaeger not being a fit for each of these families. However, it also gave us more information about who would be a good fit for him.

Jaeger continued to work with our staff and volunteers on a daily basis who took detailed notes of his personality and behavior. He became a staff favorite and was loved by every person in the building! Everyone was rooting for Jaeger to find the best home possible and was prepared to do whatever it took to get him adopted.

Fast forward to the end of September

It began as a typical day but little did we know, it would end up being an unforgettable one for Jaeger. A woman walked into our Adoptions Center and talked with our staff about the type of dog she was looking for. After introducing her to several dogs and learning more about their personalities, she laid her eyes on Jaeger. With his vibrant red coat and puppy dog eyes, she couldn’t resist taking him out to the play yard to see if they’d be a good match.

A short time later, she brought Jaeger back inside and insisted that he was the one for her! Filled with excitement, our staff gave her a rundown of Jaeger’s history, enjoyments, and struggles, emphasizing the importance of him finding the right fit. The potential adopter was sure she could help Jaeger become the good boy he was destined to be and started filling out the paperwork.

Only a week after taking Jaeger home, we received this message:

“Thank you so much to you amazing humans. It has been a little over a week since I adopted Jaeger, renamed River. He is exactly what I was hoping for and more. He’s definitely a cuddle bug but loves his walks, especially with our next door neighbor’s dog who is his new best friend. I love him so much and as much as I wish he wasn’t adopted and returned three times before me, I’m glad they brought him back so I could give him an amazing home and all the love I have.”

Worth the wait

We were elated to see that Jaeger (renamed River) had finally found his perfect match. We kept in touch with his adopter throughout the following months and learned that they had moved to California together. She expressed how she was so glad to have River by her side through the move and that he behaved perfectly through it all. “River has been with me every step of the way,” she said. “He was a champ and enjoyed the car ride more than I did! So far, he loves going for walks more than ever because it’s warm and there’s still light later in the day. We have yet to go to a beach out here but I’m positive he’s going to love it!”

Stories like this show that even if a dog has tried out multiple homes and bounced around from shelter to shelter, it doesn’t mean that they won’t find the right fit. Jaeger (renamed River) would never have met his current family if he didn’t wind up at the shelter in El Paso, been transferred to us, and returned three times before meeting her. Some dogs may take a little extra effort when finding a home, but in our minds, we think it’s worth it!

Introducing a new pet to your pets at home

Our trained staff is here to help guide you when introducing a new pet to your pets at home. We want everyone to be safe and happy, so please follow these suggestions carefully and don’t rush the process.
We recommend that you do not immediately introduce your pets at home to a newly adopted pet. Consider how you will manage an isolation period and be sure all existing pets are up to date on vaccinations and other routine health care before bringing a new pet home.

Facilitating positive pet-to-pet introductions will require some management on your part. Not all pets are instant friends and may require temporary or intermittent separation to ensure a smooth transition. Some pets are happy to share their home within a week or two, others may take a month or longer to adjust.

Our adoption counselors will be happy to review steps to properly introduce your new pet to your resident pets.

Introducing your adopted dog to the dogs at home.

Training Resources – Additional Resources from our Behavior Team

View this fun video from Bad Rap for helpful tips.

Helpful tips from Jackson Galaxy about introducing your new cat to a cat at home.

We hope this helps you introduce your newly adopted pet to any resident pets! If you need more help, contact us.

Animal Hoarding in Utah

What To Do If I Suspect My Friend/Family Member/Neighbor is an Animal Hoarder?

An often overlooked and underreported source of animal cruelty is animal hoarding. Animal hoarding tends to take place in private places like the home and can be challenging to detect, even for friends and family. However, due to the large number of animals involved and the destructive impact animal hoarding has on human well-being, it is crucial to recognize hoarding and to get appropriate intervention to reduce human and animal suffering.

animal hoarding in utah

What is Animal Hoarding?

Animal hoarding is a variation of hoarding disorder, a psychological condition. According to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC), animal hoarding is defined by four main characteristics:

  1. The failure to provide minimal standards of sanitation, space, nutrition and veterinary care for the animals in one’s care; 
  2. An inability to recognize the effects of this failure on the welfare of the animals, human members of the household, and the environment; 
  3. Obsessive attempts to accumulate or maintain a collection of animals in the face of progressively deteriorating conditions; and 
  4. Denial or minimization of problems and living conditions for people and animals.

 In short, hoarders cannot adequately care for the animals in their possession. Animals may suffer from illness due to being malnourished or exposed to built up excrement in the home. A buildup of urine can cause ammonia burns to an animal’s skin and eyes. Accumulation of feces can lead to bacterial infections and illness. Additionally, animals in hoarding situations tend to be undersocialized, exhibiting a fear response to humans that can become aggressive, leading to a potential public safety issue in addition to the public health issues caused by excessive accumulation of animals.  

animal hoarding in utah

Types of Hoarders

There are three general types of hoarders: the overwhelmed caregiver, the rescuer, and the exploiter. 

The Overwhelmed Caregiver

The overwhelmed caregiver is a type of hoarder who owns a large number of animals that were likely reasonably well taken care of until a significant change in life circumstances compromised the person’s ability to care for the animals properly. These circumstances may include job loss, death of a loved one, or diagnosis of a serious illness. The problem is compounded when the individual has unaltered companion animals who breed, passively adding to the total amount of animals in the home and therefore making caregiving that much more difficult. Typically isolated, this type of hoarder can be difficult to spot and, therefore, hard to help. However, when confronted by an authority figure, this individual usually has fewer problems accepting help than the rescuer-hoarder or exploiter-hoarder. 

The Rescuer

The rescuer type of hoarder can be an individual or, most commonly, an individual posing as an organization. This hoarder type is generally mission-driven, aiming to save as many animals as possible from a presumed threat (often euthanasia). While they may care deeply for their animals, they also tend to believe that only they can adequately care for the animals and fail to recognize the poor standard of living to which their animals are reduced. Acquiring new animals tends to take place by taking on additional animals they perceive to need rescue, including animals from classified ads, shelters with higher-than-average euthanasia rates, and individuals looking to rehome their animals, as well as by taking in stray animals. They may even register as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit rescue or sanctuary, acquiring animals and donations from unsuspecting individuals under the guise of being a legitimate organization. Due to the mission-driven nature of their hoarding, rescuer-hoarders may go to great lengths to avoid intervention from authorities. 

The Exploiter

Exploiter-hoarders are not driven by love or compassion for the animals they hoard. Instead, exploiter-hoarders tend to acquire animals for their own needs with little or no attachment to the animals themselves. Often, their personalities are charming, but they tend to lack remorse or guilt for the treatment of animals in their care. Their focus on gaining what they need from hoarding the animals and their indifference to the animals themselves makes them more likely to avoid detection actively. An example of an exploiter-hoarder is a puppy mill operator or backyard breeder. 

animal hoarding in utah

How to Spot a Hoarder

A large number of animals is not necessarily indicative of a hoarder. For instance, in communities with access to community cat programs, an individual or group of individuals may care for a large population of outdoor semi-feral or feral cats but may have the connections and resources necessary to keep the situation under control. The problem begins when a situation spins out of control. 

 The ASPCA lists the following ways to detect an individual hoarder:

  • They have numerous animals and may not know the total number in their care;
  • Their home is in rough shape and often deteriorating further, including dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in the wall and floor, and extremely cluttered surroundings;
  • There is a strong smell of ammonia or feces in or around the home;
  • The floors of the home may be covered in dried feces, urine, vomit, etc.;
  • Animals are emaciated, lethargic, and not well socialized;
  • Fleas and rodents are present in or around the home;
  • The individual is isolated from the community and appears to be neglecting their own needs; 
  • The individual insists all or most of the animals in their care are happy and healthy, even when there are clear signs of distress and illness.

The ASPCA lists the following ways to detect an organizational hoarder:

  • The group is unwilling to let visitors see the location where the animals are kept or bred (pay particular attention to the background of photos posted on social media and websites);
  • The group will not disclose the number of animals in its care and makes little effort to adopt animals out;
  • More animals are continually taken in, despite the poor condition of existing animals;
  • Legitimate shelters and rescue organizations are viewed as the enemy;
  • Animals may be received or sold at a remote location rather than at the group’s actual facility if it exists.
animal hoarding in utah

What To Do When You Suspect Someone in Your Life or Neighborhood is Hoarding Animals

Individuals with hoarding disorder have a diagnosable illness. They are likely entirely unaware of the dysfunction involved in their behavior or the harm they are causing to the animals and themselves. Encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional, assuring them that seeking help is what is best for the animals in their care. Please note, when dealing with an exploiter-hoarder, you may need to skip an encouragement of self-help entirely and rely directly on the authorities.  They may be unwilling to accept help, and if that is the case, your first call should be to your local police department or animal control to initiate an investigation. Because animal hoarding is a multifaceted problem, the solution does not end with the police or animal control. Other important contacts include:

  • Social Services Groups – Different social services may need to be involved depending on who is in the household, such as adult protective services for elderly individuals and child protective services for children in the home.
  • Health Department – The state health department or local environmental health department may need to be contacted for more information on the clean-up of the house. 
  • Local Animal Shelters – Removing animals from a hoarding situation is time and resource-intensive, even for the most sophisticated animal shelters. Volunteering your time to these organizations or donating to assist in their operational costs goes a long way in providing care for the victims of animal hoarding. 
animal hoarding in utah

What To Do if You Suspect You May Have a Hoarding Problem

Know that it is okay to need and accept help. Contact a mental health professional as well as an appropriate social services agency to get started on the road to recovery.