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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)?

Dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear and suffering in all animals.

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What is the Federal Tax ID (EIN) of the HSU?


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How many pets do you place into new homes?

In 2017, HSU saved the lives of 11,141 pets. These placements included adoptions into new loving homes (10,022), transfers to trusted rescue groups to handle special behavior and medical cases (417), and return to owners (454). Our 2016 placement rate (also known as “live-release” rate, which includes adoptions, transfers to other humane groups and reunions with owners) was 90.71% for all animals, which meets the accepted no-kill standard. Our adoption rates are impressive when compared to the national average (25% for dogs and 20% for cats), especially considering the fact we are an open-admission 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.

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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.

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Is HSU a "no-kill" facility?

HSU is an open-admission shelter, meaning that our doors are open to any animal that we can legally accept. 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 HSU has achieved for both dogs and cats. No-kill standards outline that a dog or cat will not be euthanized for space, time or financial restrictions. As a member of the No Kill Utah (NKUT) Coalition, the Humane Society of Utah does not limit the time that a pet can stay with us until it finds a new home. 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 NKUT members 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.

HSU 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 do come 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 HSU 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. HSU 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, HSU is appropriately referred to as an open-admission shelter that has achieved no-kill standards.


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Where do your animals come from?

Pets surrendered by their owners make up the majority of pets received at HSU. We cannot legally 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 HSU 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 time limits or space constraints. 



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Why do you take animals from shelters outside of Utah?

Before beginning our Transfer 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. Our Board of Directors and staff of HSU 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, 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 and providing a variety of pets for interested adopters. As a priority, we transfer from local Utah animal shelters when they are overcrowded as needed.

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How do you decide who is adoptable?

HSU's goal is to place all healthy and treatable companion animals that we receive and maintain 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 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 Program often seeks to place these animals into our network of partner shelters and rescue groups.

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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 finds homes for many dogs and cats in less than one day and works 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!

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How do I rehome my pet through HSU?

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 Program. However, we understand there may be situations when you need to rehome your pet and will have an open discussion with you about your options. Our staff is able to provide helpful information on issues that often cause pet owners to give up 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.

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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 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 HSU 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.

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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 Program also works with purebred dog rescue organizations and can provide suggestions on where to turn for certain breeds. Email transfer@utahhumane.org for more information. 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.

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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 Utah's legislators prohibited breed discrimination in our state and revoked all existing breed discriminatory ordinances in ten cities on January 1, 2015.

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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 and register 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 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. 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.

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Do you require spaying or neutering of adoptable pets?

The Humane Society of Utah is committed to ending the pet overpopulation problem. 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.

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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.

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How do I adopt a pet from HSU?

Information on how to adopt a pet is available in the Adoption Process.

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Why are your adoption fees different for each animal?

The Humane Society of Utah's (HSU) is a private, nonprofit organization that relies on individual donations, grants and fundraising to operate. We do not receive any federal, state or government funding.

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 evaluation, housing, food, enrichment, behavior modification, 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 HSU. A $5 minimum charge is requested to cover the leash/carrier, collar, tag and paperwork.

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 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.

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Sometimes the pet photos on your website are blurry. Why?

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What are HSU shelter hours?

Adoption hours are viewable by clicking here. Admission hours are viewable by clicking here.

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How can I contact someone at HSU?

Viewable by clicking here.

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How can I volunteer for HSU?

Viewable by clicking here.

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How can I foster animals for HSU?

Viewable by clicking here.

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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 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.

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How do I report animal neglect or cruelty?

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. HSU does not provide emergency response.

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What written resources can I get about animal cruelty?

Viewable by clicking here.

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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.

HSU cannot legally take in 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. 

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Help! I've lost my pet. What do I do?

The Humane Society of Utah 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.

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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

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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.

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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. 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.

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Does HSU receive money from my taxes, and how is HSU different from Animal Control agencies?

The Humane Society of Utah is a locally operated 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. HSU’s 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.

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.

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.


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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 we operate a local, private nonprofit open-admission shelter that receives and houses animals through a trackable adoption program. HSU works directly with members of our Utah communities to find homes for homeless pets, advocate for animal welfare legislation, stop abuse and neglect, and inform the public about pet care training. HSU handles local companion animal issues while some other national organizations may work with all animals on a national and international level.

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If I make a gift to a national organization, does HSU receive a portion of my donation?

No, 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.

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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.

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