The Humane Society of Utah (Utah Humane) knows that you have questions about how to adopt, what to do when you find a stray animal, clinic services and other programs that the HSU offers. Learn more in our Frequently Asked Questions section.
What is the difference between Utah Humane and other animal welfare organizations that solicit funds from me through the mail (such as Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), American Humane Association (AHA), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS), etc.)?
Dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals.
Utah Humane saves the lives of over 12,000 pets annually—including nearly 10,000 adoptions into new loving homes and many more through transfers to trusted rescue groups to handle special behavior and medical cases, return to owners, and pet retention and shelter diversion services. Our placement rate (also known as “live-release” rate, which includes adoptions, transfers to other humane groups, and reunions with owners) exceeds 90% for all animals.
Click HERE to view our complete placement statistics calculated in accordance with the National Federation of Humane Societies’ Live-Release Data Matrix.
The term “no-kill" does not mean no euthanasia. As a national standard, no-kill is defined as a 90% placement or live-release rate, which Utah Humane has exceeded thanks to our lifesaving programs and services. Click HERE to view our lifesaving statistics. Utah Humane is a private open-admission shelter that practices socially conscious sheltering and evaluates every animal to move them to their most appropriate outcome as quickly as possible. Our doors are open to any animal that we can legally accept, and we maintain no contract with local government for animal control services. We do not euthanize any healthy or treatable pet for space, time, or financial restrictions. All euthanasia decisions are made by a licensed shelter veterinarian and group of experts based on a national matrix that considers a pet's quality of life and our community's safety.
Pets with treatable medical and behavioral issues will pass through our lifesaving Clinic, Foster Care, Behavior, and Adoption programs to receive all services and resources at our disposal to find them new loving homes. Moreover, we work with other partners to save lives across the state through our Transfer program. By moving pets to and from different shelters and rescue groups, more options become available for every pet to receive a positive outcome.
Utah Humane believes in finding the right outcome for every pet who comes to us, even if that “outcome” is never being admitted at all. This means building the community safety net so that many pets can get the care they need right where they are. It also means providing sufficient space and humane care, or Capacity for Care, in the shelter so the pets that are admitted can be moved quickly and safely to the best possible outcome. Lost pets are directed to their local animal control services where they can be reunited with their families.
Although Utah Humane cannot take animals from the field and offer a TNR program, we can provide referrals to other groups that offer this service where cats who are thriving in the community are spayed or neutered and returned to their outdoor home if possible, or placed in a working home if not.
For pets whose suffering can’t be remedied any other way, euthanasia will be available with the most kindness and comfort that can possibly be provided. Utah Humane euthanizes animals by injection (EBI) only for irremediable health or behavior issues when necessary, and does not take lightly the decision to end a life.
Since some "no-kill" shelters may be closed-admission and only accept healthy or treatable animals, and the term "kill shelter" can negatively affect shelters most in need of support to save more lives, Utah Humane chooses not to use this term and is appropriately referred to as a progressive open-admission shelter that has achieved no-kill standards.
Although the national no-kill standard is calculated as a 90% live release rate in accordance with the National Federation of Humane Societies’ Live-Release Data Matrix, Best Friends Animal Society has redefined the calculation to include owner-requested euthanasias. According to their new standard, our shelter falls below the 90% benchmark because we provide end-of-life euthanasia services for pet owners in the community seeking to end the suffering of their pets at the end of their life or with irremediable conditions.
When an owner requests euthanasia for their pet through Utah Humane, our staff evaluates the pet. Some pets are deemed treatable and can be adopted. We reserve the right to refuse euthanasia service if guardianship or a medical/behavioral condition cannot be confirmed. Utah Humane will not euthanize any healthy or treatable pet.
Our Clinic performs an affordable end-of-life euthanasia service for the community where the owner can be present with their pet. Euthanasia is performed by a licensed veterinarian through the injection of sodium pentobarbital (EBI) only.
Our Admissions Department performs an affordable end-of-life euthanasia service where the owner is not with their pet. A certified animal care technician performs euthanasia by the injection of sodium pentobarbital (EBI) only.
Although these animals are owned pets and have not been surrendered to Utah Humane, Best Friends Animal Society is now including these animals into their live release rate calculation, which drops Utah Humane from a current 97% YTD live release to below 90%.
Utah Humane does not agree that owner-requested euthanasias should be calculated into a Save Rate. These are not sheltered animals and are not the property of Utah Humane. These animals are owned pets, and the owners are seeking an affordable and humane end-of-life solution. We do not want owners taking matters into their own hands or doing nothing and allowing their pets to suffer. It is also our contention that owner-requested euthanasias are completely different from euthanizing for space, time, or money. Utah Humane will continue to provide the compassionate humane service of owner-requested euthanasias when appropriate even though Best Friends' new system penalizes us for providing this much-needed community service.
Pets surrendered by their owners make up the majority of pets received at Utah Humane. We do not accept strays and recommend that these animals go to the municipal or county animal control services where the animal was found. Lost pets are more likely to be reunited with their owner if the animal stays in the jurisdiction where it was found.
We also transfer thousands of pets to Utah Humane each year from other shelters across Utah and neighboring states through our Transfer Program. We utilize a network of rescue groups and shelters to choose animals that are at risk of being euthanized for medical reasons, time limits, or space constraints. Transferring in a variety of animals not only saves their lives, but it also offers a wider selection to adopters to dissuade purchasing from a store or breeder.
Before beginning our Transfer Program in 2008, the small dog area at Utah Humane was often empty. Utah families looking for small dogs had no adoption alternatives to breeders or pet stores. Meanwhile, every day, thousands of small breed dogs were being euthanized in shelters outside of Utah. Our Board of Directors and staff realized that there was a lifesaving “supply and demand” answer to both of these problems, and our Transfer Program was born. Since the beginning of this program, Utah Humane has expanded beyond just small breed dogs and has saved the lives of thousands of dogs, cats, and rabbits of all sizes and breeds by transferring them to our facility and providing needed care. As a priority, we transfer from local Utah animal shelters when they are overcrowded when possible.
Utah Humane's goal is to place all healthy and treatable companion animals that we receive as quickly as possible. Our average length of stay for dogs and cats is four days. 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 suffering from major medical problems that affect their quality of life are not suitable for our adoption program.
That being said, many animals requiring medical care and surgeries are treated by our Clinic every day. Each year, our veterinarians perform hundreds of surgeries on homeless pets, including limb amputations, lump removals, eye enucleations, dental services, and more. Many animals with behavioral problems receive training and socialization through our Foster Care program, in which a foster family is selected to help the pet become adoptable. Many dogs also undergo substantial assessment activities and training recommendations from our Behavior and Training Department prior to placement for adoption. Lastly, when a dog or cat is deemed unsuitable for our Adoption program, our Transfer program often seeks to place these animals into our network of partner rescue groups.
How long do you keep animals?
Pets will stay in our Adoption program 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. We find homes for many dogs and cats in less than one day and work for months to find the perfect home for others.
Additionally, Utah Humane has many foster families who care for newborn and orphaned kittens and puppies, dogs and cats recuperating from illness or injury, and dogs needing socialization and training. Foster families also receive animals that simply need a break from the stress of staying at the shelter. Foster Care allows Utah Humane to keep some animals out of the shelter population until they are ready to be placed for adoption and gives us more space for holding adoptable pets. We greatly appreciate these volunteers who open their homes to homeless pets in need every day of the year!
How do I rehome my pet through Utah Humane?
Visit the Admissions Department page of this website for information about our Coordinated Entry System. We want to do everything possible to help you keep your pet in your home and offer alternatives options through our Pet Retention and Shelter Diversion programs. However, we understand there may be situations when you need to rehome your pet, and we will have an open and honest discussion with you about your options. Our staff is able to provide helpful information on issues that often cause pet owners to surrender their animals, such as behavior problems, training, housing, affordable care, information on other community resources, and much more. Schedule a consultation call to discuss your situation or schedule a pet surrender appointment on our Admissions page. Pet surrenders are accepted by appointment only.
Could you pick up my pet? I can't keep it anymore and I don't have any transportation.
Unfortunately, we cannot provide this service. If you can no longer care for your pet and you cannot bring it to our Admission Department, please find a friend or relative who can bring you and your pet to our facility. All owner-surrendered admissions require proof of ownership through bill of sale, purchase/adoption contract, vet records, license, and microchip. You can also try contacting your local Animal Control agency for assistance. If you are unable to bring your pet to us, you will need to send a signed letter transferring ownership to Utah Humane and granting the person bringing the animal permission to surrender the animal on your behalf along with your proof of ownership and contact information. Pet surrenders are accepted by appointment only through our Admissions page.
Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?
Yes! National data estimates that 25% of shelter animals are purebreds, and this holds true at Utah Humane. If you are interested in a specific breed of dog or cat, check our pet listings to see if one is available. Our Transfer program also works with purebred dog rescue organizations and can provide suggestions on where to turn for certain breeds. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Purebred dogs are also transferred from Utah Humane to rescue groups who specialize in a particular breed, thereby giving us more room for mix-breed dogs and giving the purebred the specific attention it needs.
How does Utah Humane feel about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and breed discrimination?
Breed Specific Legislation - or "BSL" - is the practice of using laws to regulate and restrict dog ownership based solely on the physical appearance of the dog. Our organization feels that a more fitting term for this type of lawmaking is Breed Discriminatory Legislation. Currently, Pit Bull Terriers and Pit Bull Terrier-type dogs are the most common breed to be discriminated against in America. In the past, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans were often singled out as bad dogs and dangerous breeds just as Pit Bulls are today.
In agreement with the American Bar Association, National Animal Control Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and all prominent national animal welfare groups, Utah Humane believes that legislation or ordinances targeting dogs by breed are ineffective and inhumane. Preemptively punishing any type of dog for behavior that it may or may not demonstrate is not protecting the public and is doing a disservice to our canine companions. A much more effective means of protecting the public from dangerous dogs include dog licensing with vaccination requirements, on-leash requirements, and cruelty and neglect laws. Through these alternative methods, some cities, counties, and states are addressing responsible dog ownership and punishing irresponsible dog owners for dangerous behaviors.
Utah Humane is happy to report that Utah's legislators prohibited breed discrimination in our state and revoked all existing breed discriminatory ordinances in ten cities on January 1, 2015.
Are your adoptable dogs and cats already microchipped?
Yes, all of our dogs and cats are microchipped prior to adoption. Utah Humane highly recommends that all pet owners microchip and register their dogs and cats, and keep their contact information up to date.
Microchips are a safe, permanent way to identify your companion animal. A pet microchip is a small computer chip (about the size of a grain of rice) safely injected under the skin between the animal's shoulder blades. Having your pet microchipped greatly increases the chances of it being returned to you when lost or misplaced. Utah Humane also recommends that all dogs and cats should wear an ID tag with a current contact number on it, preferably your mobile number, at all times—but microchips are the best backup for a collar and visible ID tag.
Microchips are not GPS trackers or similar devices—pet's geographic location cannot be tracked by a microchip. The chip must be scanned at a veterinary clinic or shelter 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 directly if your pet is found and brought to a veterinary clinic or shelter.
Do you require spaying or neutering of adoptable pets?
Utah Humane is committed to ending the pet overpopulation problem and considers spaying and neutering the number one solution to the tragic problem of overcrowded shelters and the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets across America.
Many pets are already spayed or neutered before coming to Utah Humane. Any dogs, cats, or rabbits that are not yet spayed or neutered are surgically sterilized at our in-house Clinic before being placed in our Adoption program.
Can Utah Humane 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. Please visit our Clinic Pricing page for more details.
How do I adopt a pet from Utah Humane?
Information is available on the How to Adopt page.
Utah Humane is a local, independent 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization that relies on individual donations, grants, and fundraising to operate. We do not receive any federal, state, or government funding. It is typical for progressive shelters to invest an average of $450 per animal, which is more than most adoption fees. Adopting from a socially conscious shelter is a great value for the pet owner considering the shelter has invested in spay/neuter, other necessary surgery, vaccines, a microchip, and often much more.
We use a variable pricing system and the adoption fee for each animal is dependent on many factors including age, breed, and health of the individual animal. Our adoption fees help to offset the cost of the evaluation, housing, food, enrichment, training, medical care, and more for the thousands of animals that need our help. We do our best to keep our adoption prices reasonable while generating income to support our goal of caring for every animal until we can place them in a new loving home.
The adoption fee for each animal is included in their animal profile. You can view the adoption fee for a specific animal by clicking on their profile.
Name Your Price means that you can pay $5, $25, $50 or whatever you'd like to pay as a donation to Utah Humane.
Discounted adoption fees apply for select animals who have been at the shelter 14 days or longer or special promotions.
All dogs and cats include mandatory spay/neuter, a microchip, and receive species/age appropriate initial vaccinations. All adoptable rabbits are also spayed/neutered. You will receive a free wellness examination at a participating private veterinarian (this list will be provided upon adoption) and 30 days of free pet insurance from Petfirst Pet Insurance (must be activated at the time of adoption.) If you have any questions regarding the adoption fee of a specific animal, please call our Adoptions Department at (801) 261-2919.
Utah Humane is thrilled to have the technology to post photos on our website of all the animals available for adoption as soon as they become available. We are also thankful for social media, which allows us to share images and stories of adoptable pets with the public every day. Photos are always taken upon intake, or the pet's arrival, at our shelter. However, these intake photos may not be the highest quality nor show the animal very well. Utah Humane is lucky to have an excellent full-time staff photographer and volunteer photographers who utilize a studio room in the shelter. Our photographers take portraits of adoptable pets to replace intake photos that may be blurry. Of course, there are times when animals are adopted before our photographer can replace their intake photo with a portrait.
What kind of food do you feed the dogs and cats while they are at the shelter?
We are fortunate to have most of our dry food donated by people in the community (please note that we can only accept donations of unopened bags and cans of food). Because donated dry food consists of many brands, it is mixed in barrels to reduce the shock of a change in diet. Using donated food saves our shelter over $30,000 each year! Of course, monetary donations to help us purchase canned wet food, special formulas of food for animals with allergies or other health problems, and kitten and puppy milk replacement formula, are always appreciated. Click here to make a financial contribution.
Does Utah Humane sell animals for scientific experimentation or to rendering plants?
Absolutely not! Under no circumstances are animals from Utah Humane utilized for experimentation or research, nor are they sold posthumously to rendering plants.
Where is Utah Humane located?
We are located at 4242 South 300 West (Commerce Drive) in Murray, Utah. For directions, please utilize Google Maps.
How can I contact someone at Utah Humane?
Click here for a list of contacts.
How can I volunteer for Utah Humane?
How can I foster animals for Utah Humane?
What is the history of your current building?
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.
Beginning in 2009, a series of large donations were received that allowed Utah Humane to embark on an ambitious renovation project of our shelter facility. First, a bequest from Ronald and Darlene Boyce resulted in the "Kitty City" and Clinic expansions, and new Administration and Foster Care wings. Shortly after, Robert and Teresa Kay made an extremely generous donation for an expansion to our dog adoption area. After four years of construction, our square footage was doubled.
If you need to report an animal emergency, call 911. 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. Utah Humane does not provide emergency response and does not have legal authority.
What written resources can I get about animal cruelty?
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 services to be scanned for a microchip and held to reunite with the owner.
Utah Humane does not accept stray pets and requires proof of ownership for surrendered pets. Since owners will be searching for their lost pet in their local area, taking a lost or stray animal to your local animal control services offers owners the best chance of finding their pet.
Help! I've lost my pet. What do I do?
Utah Humane urges you to visit your local Animal Control services and local veterinary clinics in person since it may be difficult to find a pet based on a verbal description or photo.
Visit our Admissions Department in person during regular business hours if you do not locate your pet through Animal Control.
We encourage you to view our Stray Listing Search linked to several other shelters.
Remember to keep checking with other shelters as the stray holding period depends on when the animal was received. Some individuals attempt to find owners on their own before bringing the animal to a shelter. You may also try the Facebook group Utah Lost and Found Pets. Read more tips at PawBoost and consider using My Lost Pet Alert and Lost Pet USA services.
We strongly recommend having your pet microchipped and registered to you as a safe and permanent way to identify your animal. Remember to keep your contact information updated with your pet microchip registration company.
What services do you offer at the Utah Humane Clinic?
Our in-house Clinic offers vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, heartworm tests (including heartworm preventative medication), and owner-requested euthanasia of ill and elderly pets.
Vaccinations, microchips, and heartworm tests 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 the Utah Humane Clinic for treatment?
Our Clinic is not a full veterinary hospital and does not provide these services to the public. You will need to take your pet to your own full-service veterinarian or a local after-hours animal emergency center if needed.
Do you perform end-of-life euthanasia services? Can you euthanize my sick/old animal?
Yes, our licensed veterinarians or certified technicians can perform this service. The only method used is an injection of Sodium Pentobarbital (EBI), 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 and cats only. Prices vary by the weight of the animal. Visit our Clinic page for more information.
If you do not want to be with your animal, our Admissions Department can accept the animal for euthanasia Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. View more information and schedule an appointment on our Admissions page.
Per our agreement with the No Kill Utah Coalition, our shelter is committed to saving every animal in our care who can be saved. We do not euthanize healthy or treatable pets even at an owner’s request. We only euthanize a pet if:
A veterinarian has assessed that there is no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life, or
It would be clearly inhumane or unsafe not to do so immediately, or
In cases of irremediable canine aggression when (1) a veterinarian has eliminated medical treatment as a solution; (2) rehabilitation by a specialist in canine behavior has failed; and (3) staff and public safety cannot be reasonably assured, or other management protocols seriously compromise the quality of life.
We reserve the right to refuse euthanasia service if guardianship or a medical/behavioral condition cannot be confirmed. Utah Humane will not euthanize any healthy or treatable pet.
Does Utah Humane receive money from my taxes, and how is Utah Humane different from Animal Control agencies?
Utah Humane 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. Our goal is to save over 10,000 animals each year through an education-focused adoption process, positive promotion of shelter pets, and our many other lifesaving programs and services.
Utah Humane is not an animal control agency. However, we are the highest intake shelter in Utah and we handle more homeless pets per year than any other agency in our state.
Generally speaking, your local animal control services agency is 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 sheltering your pet if it were lost. Most animal control agencies are also responsible for deceased animals in your yard, road or neighborhood.
What is the difference between Utah Humane 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 Utah Humane apart from the national organizations is that we operate a local, private open-admission shelter that receives and houses animals through a trackable adoption program. Utah Humane works directly with members of our Utah communities to find homes for homeless pets, advocate for animal welfare legislation, end abuse and neglect, and inform the public about pet care training. Utah Humane handles local companion animal issues while some other national organizations may work with all animals on a national and international level.
If I make a gift to a national organization, does Utah Humane receive a portion of my donation?
No, 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. Utah Humane is not a United Way charity and is not affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, American Humane Association, or PETA, and does not receive any portion of dues or donations paid to national organizations. We are solely funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations.
How can I help and get involved?
Utah Humane 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 opportunity offered to individuals who want to volunteer at Utah Humane. Finally, to reduce operational expenses, the public is encouraged to donate needed items directly to the shelter.