The HSUS and Shelters

How does the HSUS help local animal shelters and rescue groups?

The Humane Society of the United States, a national animal advocacy and direct care organization, complements the work of local groups by focusing on national-level issues like ending the puppy mill industry, strengthening cruelty laws and eliminating large-scale animal abuses. We also run programs and spearhead campaigns designed to ease the burden on local sheltering groups. For example, Animal Care Expo and the HumanePro website provide in-depth educational and training opportunities, while our Pets for Life program keeps pets with their families and reduces the number of homeless animals. The Shelter Pet Project, a national media campaign that the HSUS ran in partnership with the Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund, has encouraged people to adopt from shelters and rescues. The Pets and People Together campaign launched in 2022, and is informing audiences about many ways to help shelters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the HSUS provided a toolkit to help shelters respond to the impact in their communities. 

Finally, although the HSUS does not run or oversee local animal shelters or rescues, we do operate rescue teams, community-based programs and sanctuaries that directly assist thousands of animals each year.

Download How the HSUS Helps Local Shelters

Where can I lodge a complaint about a local shelter or rescue group?

As a national animal advocacy organization, the HSUS doesn’t operate or oversee local shelters or rescue groups. We are neither a parent or chapter organization for any local shelter, nor an inspection agency. Each shelter and rescue group is an independent organization governed by its own board of directors or local officials, and each group sets its own policies and rules. If you have a complaint about a local group, bring your concern directly to the person in charge of that organization, since they are in the best position to understand the issue and make change. 

What is the HSUS’ position on “no kill” shelters?

The HSUS has long been committed to ending the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals (Setting Aside Semantics: Not Killing Pets Must Be Our Goal) and believes that it is vital for shelters, rescue groups, community cat care groups, community leaders and citizens to work together toward that goal. Through efforts like Animal Care Expo, the HumanePro website and our public service campaigns (the Shelter Pet Project, and Pets and People Together) the HSUS works ceaselessly to help shelters reduce the need for euthanasia, all while striving to identify and address the root causes of pet homelessness, through our puppy mill workPets for Life, Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico, assistance to address evictions, and other initiatives.

What is the HSUS’ position on use of the gas chamber for euthanasia in animal shelters?

The HSUS is actively working to end the use of gas chambers in shelters across the country.