The Humane Society of Utah (HSU) 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 Mission Statement of the Humane Society of Utah (HSU)?
- What is the Federal Tax ID (EIN) of the HSU?
- How many pets do you place into new homes?
- What is your “live-release” or placement rate?
- Is the HSU a "no kill" facility?
- Where do your animals come from?
- Why do you take animals from shelters outside of Utah?
- How do you decide who is adoptable?
- How long do you keep animals?
- How do I bring an animal to you for adoption?
- Could you come pick up my dog? I can't keep him anymore and I don't have any transportation.
- Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?
- How does your organization feel about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and breed discrimination?
- Are your adoptable dogs and cats already microchipped?
- Do you require spaying or neutering of adopted pets?
- Can the HSU help me if I can't afford to sterilize my animal?
- How do I adopt a pet from the HSU?
- Why are your adoption fees different for each animal?
- Sometimes the pet photos on the website are blurry. Why?
- What kind of food do you feed the dogs and cats at the shelter?
- Does the Humane Society of Utah sell animals for scientific experimentation or to rendering plants?
- Where is the Humane Society of Utah located?
- What are the HSU shelter hours?
- How can I contact someone at the HSU?
- How can I volunteer for the HSU?
- How can I foster animals for the HSU?
- What is the history behind your shelter?
- How do I report animal neglect or cruelty?
- What written resources can I get about animal cruelty?
- I found a lost/stray animal. What should I do?
- Help! I've lost my pet. What do I do?
- What services do you offer at the HSU Clinic?
- I have an animal that is sick (or has been injured) may I bring it to the HSU Clinic for treatment?
- Do you perform euthanasia services? Can you euthanize my sick/old animal?
- Does the HSU receive money from my taxes, and how is the HSU different from Animal Control agencies?
- 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 (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.)?
- If I make a gift to a national organization like those mentioned in the previous question, does the HSU receive a portion of my donation?
- How can I help the Humane Society of Utah?
What is the Mission Statement of the Humane Society of Utah (HSU)?
Dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear and suffering in all animals.
In 2016, HSU saved the lives of 11,019 pets. These placements included adoptions into new loving homes (9,978), transfers to trusted rescue groups to handle special behavior and medical cases (441), and returns to owner (600). Our 2016 placement rate (also known as “live-release” rate, which includes adoptions, transfers to other humane groups and reunions with owners) was 90.82% for all animals in 2016, which meets the accepted no-kill standard. Our adoption rates are quite impressive when compared to the national average (25% for dogs and 20% for cats), especially considering the fact we are an open-admissions shelter. We are proud of our efforts and the Board, staff, foster parents and volunteers of HSU are committed to maintaining a 90% placement rate or better for dogs and cats, meaning that we will continue to save the lives of thousands of adoptable companion animals each calendar year.
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.
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. In 2016, we achieved a 90.82% live release rate for both dogs and cats combined. 2015 was the first year we met the no-kill standard for dogs and cats combined--In previous years we achieved the standards for dogs only. There are no time limits placed on how long an animal is available for adoption at the Humane Society of Utah. As of 2016, both dogs and cats available for adoption are never euthanized because of space limitations. The HSU euthanizes animals only for irremediable health or behavior issues and does not take lightly the decision to end a life. We consider the quality of life of the animal and have many programs and services in place to do everything in the best interest of each animal.
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 and turn away other pets 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) do not usually take pets being surrendered by their owners, but rather control stray, feral and dangerous animals. 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 HSU.
In summary, the use of the term "no-kill" can be vague and hard to define for the general public, and can make it confusing for pet owners who are trying to obtain services. Pet owners should do their research and contact shelters, rescue groups and Animal Control agencies for more information when it comes to the welfare of their pets.
Where do your animals come from?
Pets surrendered by their owners make up the majority of pets 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 transfer thousands of dogs to HSU each year from other shelters across Utah and in surrounding states through our Transfer and Rescue department. We utilize a network of over 320 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 animals to HSU and provide a positive outcome for over 3,000 pets per year through this program.
Prior to beginning our Transfer and Rescue program in 2008, the small dog area at HSU was often empty. Utah families looking for small dogs had no adoption alternatives to breeders, pet stores or classified ads. Meanwhile, every day, thousands of small breed dogs were being euthanized in shelters outside of Utah. As many other shelters and rescue groups were discovering at the same time, the Board of Directors 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! Since the beginning of this program, HSU has expanded beyond just small breed dogs. The HSU has saved the lives of thousands of dogs of all sizes, and even hundreds of cats and kittens, by transferring them to our facility. These are healthy and friendly pets who had simply found themselves in the unfortunate circumstance of being at an over-crowded shelter in the wrong zip code. We also support dozens of Utah animal shelters when they are overcrowded.
How do you decide who is adoptable?
The HSU's goal is to place all healthy and treatable companion animals that we receive, which correlates to a 90% placement or live-release rate (the "no-kill" standard). 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 cannot be resolved without extensive veterinary care, 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 care family is selected to help the pet become adoptable. Many dogs also undergo substantial assessment activities and training recommendations from our Behavior department prior to placement for adoption. Lastly, when a dog or cat is deemed unsuitable for our adoption program, the HSU's Transfer and Rescue department often seeks to place these animals into our network of partner shelters and 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. The HSU has found homes for many adult dogs and cats in less than 1 day and worked for months to find the perfect home for others.
Additionally, HSU has nearly 300 foster families who care for newborn and orphaned kittens and puppies, dogs and cats recuperating from illness, 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 HSU to keep some animals out of the shelter population until they are ready to be placed up for adoption and gives us more space for holding adoptable pets. We greatly appreciate these individuals and families who open their homes to homeless pets in need every day of the year!
How do I bring an animal to HSU for adoption?
Visit the Receiving area of this website for 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 possible and we are available to help when keeping your pet is no longer an option. Our staff is always happy to provide helpful information on issues that often cause pet owners to give up their animals, such as behavior training, finding apartments that allow pets, information on other community resources and much more.
Could you come pick up my pet? I can't keep him/her 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 HSU Receiving Department, please find a friend or relative who can bring you and your pet to our facility. You can also try contacting your local Animal Control agency for assistance.
Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?
National data estimates that 25% of shelter animals are purebreds, and this holds true at HSU. If you are interested in a specific breed of dog or cat, check our pet listings to see if one is available. Our Transfer and Rescue Department also works with purebred dog rescue organizations and can provide suggestions on where to turn for certain breeds, via (801) 261-2919 ext. 219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Often times, purebred dogs are transferred from HSU to rescue groups who specialize in a particular breed, thereby giving the Humane Society of Utah more room for mix-breed dogs and giving the purebred the specific attention it needs as well.
How does HSU 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, HSU 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.
The HSU is happy to report that in 2014, Utah's legislators prohibited breed discrimination in our state and revoked all existing breed discriminatory ordinances in ten cities as of January 1, 2015.
Are your adoptable dogs and cats already microchipped?
Yes, all of our dogs and cats are microchipped prior to adoption. The Humane Society of Utah highly recommends that all pet owners microchip their dogs and cats.
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 between the animal's shoulder blades. Having your pet microchipped greatly increases the chances of it being returned to you when lost. The HSU 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. 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 adoptable pets?
The Humane Society of Utah is committed to ending the pet overpopulation problem. The HSU 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 HSU. 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 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. 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 in the Adoption Process.
Do you wonder why certain adoption fees 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 purebreds. Having higher adoption fees for an animal that we know will be adopted quickly provides much needed financial resources for us to care for long-term or special needs residents until they find new homes.
For example, let us tell you a common story of a dog that we'll call Fido. Fido is a great dog. He's about six years old and most likely a Labrador mix. The HSU staff and volunteers have grown very fond of him in the months that he has lived at our shelter. Every day, Fido waits for someone to walk in the door and realize what a terrific guy he is! Until then, Fido sits and watches as cute little dogs, puppies and purebreds are adopted to new homes every single day of the week. Luckily for dogs and cats like Fido, who may have to wait a little longer for their new families, the more "desirable" pets are subsidizing his care. Furthermore, if Fido were to become sick during his stay at HSU, his veterinary care and foster care would be possible in part because of the quick turnover rate of other pets, allowing for more kennel space and financial resources.
The adoption fees at HSU are based on an animal's age and breed. Temperament, behavioral issues and physical conditions may also play a part in the adoption fee. The cost of any adoption fee includes a certificate for a free health examination by a participating vet, first vaccines (cats and dogs), microchip (dogs only) spay/neuter surgery, leash or cat carrier, and informational materials. Rabbits and rodents also include a carrier to safely transport your pet home.
The Humane Society of Utah 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 (i.e., the pet's arrival) at our shelter. However, these intake photos may not be the highest quality nor show the animal very well. The HSU is very lucky to have an excellent full-time staff photographer and studio room in the shelter. Our photographer takes portraits of adoptable pets to replace intake photos that may be blurry. Of course, there are times when animals are adopted before our photographer is able to replace their intake photo with a portrait, or we have a high population and are working hard to take portraits of every adoptable pet.
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 of 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 the Humane Society of Utah sell animals for scientific experimentation or to rendering plants?
Absolutely not! Under no circumstances are animals from HSU utilized for experimentation or research, nor are they sold posthumously to rendering plants.
Where is the Humane Society of Utah 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 HSU?
Viewable by clicking here.
How can I volunteer for HSU?
Viewable by clicking here.
How can I foster animals for HSU?
Viewable by clicking here.
What is the history behind 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 HSU 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 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.
What written resources can I get about animal cruelty?
Viewable by clicking here.
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 the chances of finding your pet are higher at those shelters. Contact our Receiving Department during regular business hours at (801) 261-2919 ext. 214 if you do not locate your pet through Animal Control first.
We encourage you to view our Stray Listing Search linked to several other shelters. Visit local shelters and veterinary clinics in person since it may be difficult to find a pet based on a verbal description or photo.
We also invite you to visit our Receiving Department during regular business hours to view our Stray Book and fill out a lost pet profile. You are also welcome to give us a flyer to hang in our receiving lobby.
Remember to keep checking with us and other shelters as our stray holding period depends on when the animal is received. Some individuals attempt to find owners on their own before bringing the animal to us. Also, try the Facebook Group: Utah Lost and Found Pets. Read more tips at PawBoost and consider using My Lost Pet Alert services.
We strongly recommend having your pet microchipped as it is a safe and permanent way to identify your animal.
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 or a local after-hours animal emergency center if needed.
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 (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/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 through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The cost for euthanasia in Receiving is $65 per dog/cat, rabbit/parrots $15, rats/guinea pigs $5. Please call (801) 261-2919 ext. 214 for additional information.
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 that does not receive any tax dollars or government funding and is not a branch of any national organization. We are solely 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 opportunity 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.