The three main pillars of the Humane State program are: Training for law enforcement and animal welfare workers, capacity-building for rescue groups and shelters and public outreach based on the specific needs of each community. By strengthening the front lines, empowering the sheltering and rescue community and increasing public awareness of animal issues, Humane State connects the dots between animal protection laws, the people who work on behalf of animals every day and the community as a whole.
Humane State will continue to support animal shelters, law enforcement and the rescue community with resources and training to improve animal welfare and provide law enforcement officers, prosecutors and state agencies with the tools and resources needed to strengthen and enforce laws and ordinances. Together, we are creating a paradigm shift in the animal welfare movement, establishing collaborative environments, promoting humane care for animals and supporting the people who devote their lives to animal welfare.
Imagine what the Humane State program could do in your neighborhood. Help your state become a safer place for animals by donating today.
Where we are
Born out of a need to address the lack of enforcement of existing state and local laws, Humane State was launched in 2015 to bring much needed education, awareness and support to law enforcement and the shelter and rescue communities. From its origins in Puerto Rico, Humane State soon after expanded to Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Could your state be next?
Humane States emeritus
New Jersey ranks seventh in the HSUS state rankings and has a reputation as a leader the animal welfare movement, however, they are among the worst for actual enforcement of animal protection laws. Enforcement issues were so egregious that in 2018 the New Jersey State Legislature took action and created a new structure for enforcing animal cruelty laws. To support these efforts, working in partnership with the leading organizations and agencies in the state, the Humane State Program launched a three-year initiative in New Jersey in 2020.
Wisconsin law suggests that municipalities “may” appoint a humane officer, but the lack of a clear mandate or funding means that most locations throughout the state have no one properly trained to respond to animal cruelty and neglect. While a state-based federation for animal sheltering and rescue professionals exists in Wisconsin, many groups remain isolated and deprived of critical resources. And in rural communities across the state, outdoor cat populations continue to explode, putting cats in harm’s way. Humane State’s ability to bring training, equipment and supplies to under-resourced communities will address Wisconsin’s most pressing animal welfare challenges.
Kansas is one of the largest producers of puppy mill dogs in the country and has just four USDA inspectors to cover the entire state. To make matters worse, animal control officers in the state have limited access to training and resources. And while the Kansas state sheltering system has made incredible progress in recent years — banning gas chambers and death by gunshot, for example — many agencies are overrun with the burden of caring for seized and disposed puppy mill dogs. Through its law enforcement and shelter trainings, Humane State will connect the dots between animal protection laws and the people who enforce them.
Oklahoma has the dubious honor of being among five states with the greatest number of operational puppy mills. Weak enforcement of animal welfare laws — and a fragmented and disperse animal welfare network — discourages collaboration between shelters, rescues and law enforcement. In 2016, in partnership with the FBI, National Sheriffs’ Association, Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and the Oklahoma Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, we launched our humane law enforcement training in cities across Oklahoma and have since trained officers from hundreds of law enforcement agencies on animal protection laws.
Puerto Rico’s challenges are almost too numerous to mention: Hundreds of thousands of street dogs roaming freely, shelters under-resourced and overwhelmed, virtually no spay/neuter infrastructure, law enforcement uneducated about animal protection and virtually no animal protection measures in place. In 2015, the Humane Society of the United States decided to change this. We announced a partnership with the government of Puerto Rico to transform animal welfare on the island. Since that time, we have launched a targeted campaign to expand the capacity of animal welfare officers, extend spay/neuter services and provide shelters and rescues with training and educational resources.