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What is the relationship of Idaho Humane Society to national groups such as Humane Society of the United States or ASPCA?

Idaho Humane Society receives no funding from these or other national groups, nor are we governed by or affiliated with Humane Society of the United States or ASPCA or any other national animal welfare group. We are a local nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to taking care of the animals here in our community. The only way to help local homeless, unwanted, abandoned and abused pets (as well as local sick, injured and orphaned wildlife) is by making a donation directly to the Idaho Humane Society or other local animal welfare and rescue organizations. Click here to learn the many ways you can help out local animals.

What is an Animal Welfare Organization?

Many people are uncertain as to what an animal welfare group is, versus an “animal rights” organization. Here’s the essential distinction: Animal welfare refers to the mainstream view that it is morally acceptable for humans to use non-human animals for companionship, food, in research, as clothing, and in entertainment, so long as unnecessary suffering is avoided. Simply put, it’s the view that the overwhelming majority of caring individuals share in regards to how animals should be treated. This is in contrast with the animal rights position, which holds that other animals should not be used by, or regarded as the property of, humans. Another term that could be applied to organizations like the I.H.S., would be animal protection organization: since animals, like very small children, cannot assert themselves they should be afforded protection but not rights. We are private, 501©3 mainstream animal welfare organization, completely independent and unaffiliated with any other organization including the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and any of the other national animal advocacy groups.

Is the Idaho Humane Society a Government Agency?

No. The Idaho Humane Society is a private, non-profit organization supported by tax deductable donations and fees for services. In addition to our advocacy and many services we provide on behalf of animals, we also accomplish our mission by contracting with local government to enforce state and local laws regarding the care and keeping of animals, and to shelter our communities’ stray animals. Our humane officers are deputized to enforce animal welfare laws by the Ada County Sheriff’s Department. Additionally, we serve as an animal licensing authority for our contracting municipalities. For more information on our Animal Care and Control Division please click here.

Is the Idaho Humane Society a “No-kill” Organization?

The Idaho Humane Society welcomes every animal in need. We are defined as an “open admission” shelter. We rescue, rehabilitate and re-home more animals each year than any other shelter or organization in Idaho. We turn no animals away providing we have the legal authority to accept them, in some cases stray animals from some jurisdictions may be referred to the municipal animal control shelter in that community. Once that municipality has legal ownership of the animal, the Idaho Humane Society can then take the animal and find it a new home. There are other organizations that call themselves “no kill” shelters, but we believe the term is misleading. These organizations are more accurately defined as “limited admission” shelters, because they restrict the number of animals they take in. They may turn away those that aren’t healthy or behaviorally sound. By “picking and choosing”, they may turn away the animals most in need of assistance. To operate successfully, they have to limit their intake to animals that can be adopted quickly. Alternatively, many “no kill” shelters fill to capacity with less adoptable pets which are then interned in these facilities indefinitely, and in the interim, all other animals are turned away, often to breed and add even more animals to the pet overpopulation crisis. While “no-kill” shelters can make positive contributions, the greatest burden falls on “open admission” shelters like the I.H.S. to create a community in which adoptable pets are no longer euthanized.

As an open-admission shelter, we take in ill and injured animals and those that are not immediate candidates for adoption. We receive pets that are no longer wanted, pets from people who can no longer care for them, as well as stray animals.

The staff and our extensive community of volunteers work hard to give second chances to every healthy or rehabilitatable animal.

There is no set time limit for how long an animal can remain in our Adoptions Program. As long as an animal maintains general good health, a sound temperament and we have space, we’ll keep a pet for weeks to months in our shelter, and even longer in our Foster Care Program. Sick animals that have a good prognosis for recovery are sent to our Veterinary Medical Center for treatment, and then to our Foster Care Program for recovery and where they remain available for adoption. If a dog has a correctable behavior issue, it may be sent into our Foster Care Program or Inmate Dog Training Program for intensive training. We may put a healthy but overlooked animal in temporary Foster Care and return it to the Adoptions program at a later time. We do everything we can to avoid euthanasia of healthy or rehabilitatable animals.

But more keep coming-- an average of about 41 every day-- and the reality is that there is not enough space and money to accommodate all of them. We humanely euthanize those animals-- primarily cats-- that are not chosen by new families. There is a terrible overpopulation of unwanted cats in the Treasure Valley. We also euthanize aggressive animals-- primarily dogs-- that are determined to be a threat to the community, and those sick or injured animals that are unrehabilitatable given our resource limitations.

Our goal is to save the lives of all adoptable dogs and cats in our community, and to accomplish this we are:

  • Increasing efforts to promote spaying and neutering
  • Increasing the number of shelter animals adopted to new homes
  • Encouraging responsible pet ownership through expanded public awareness and humane education
  • Supporting pet owners through dog training classes, and behavior counseling
  • Involving ourselves proactively in humane issues through legislative processes

Euthanasia of adoptable animals is just one of the many animal welfare issues we face in our community. The term “no-kill” community really doesn’t do justice to the societal change that we have been striving for in our region for many decades. A much better title for our goal is a “humane community.”