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

The HSUS, a national animal advocacy 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 HumanePro provide superior educational and training opportunities, while Pets for Life keeps pets with their families and reduces the number of homeless animals. The Shelter Pet Project, a national media campaign that the HSUS runs in partnership with the Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund, encourages people to adopt from shelters and rescues. The HSUS also provides rescue groups with training opportunities and important resources through Rescue Central.

Finally, although the HSUS does not run or oversee local animal shelters or rescues, we do operate rescue teams, community-based programs and five wildlife sanctuaries and care centers that directly assist tens of thousands of animals each year—and we're always looking for volunteers.

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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 group, 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.

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Where can I adopt a pet?

Thank you for wanting to adopt a new pet! As a national animal advocacy organization, the HSUS does not operate local shelters nor have pets available for adoption. However, we do collaborate with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council on, helping to ensure that all healthy and adoptable pets find loving homes.

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How can I volunteer to help animals?

Thank you for your interest in volunteering! Because the HSUS isn't affiliated with your local shelter or animal welfare agency, we can't give you specific information about external opportunities, but you can view current volunteer opportunities at the HSUS.

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I need to find a new home for my pet. Where can I turn?

We are so sorry to hear that you are struggling to keep your pet. We know it's a hard situation! While we do not operate local shelters, we have resources that may help you keep your companion at home.

Money issues

If you have no other option but to rehome your pet, you'll find helpful information here: Need to Find Your Pet a New Home?

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What is the HSUS's position on "no kill" shelters?

The HSUS has long been committed to achieving an end to the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals and believes that it is vital for shelters, rescue groups, TNR groups, community leaders and citizens to work together toward that goal. Through efforts like Animal Care EXPO, HumanePro and The Shelter Pet Project, 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 work, Pets for Life and other initiatives.

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What is the HSUS's 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.

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How can I start my own animal shelter or rescue group?

Thank you for wanting to help animals in your community! Before embarking on this effort, please take a moment to consider what the animals in your community need most. What will have the greatest impact, a shelter or efforts focused on preventing pet homelessness in the first place? We encourage you to review the Pets for Life Toolkit to learn how to assess the needs of your community, and to best determine where there are voids to be filled. If you determine that a shelter or rescue group is most needed, visit Rescue Central for information on starting and operating an effective, humane rescue group.

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I have a question not answered here

If you have a question about the HSUS's programs for shelters or rescue groups, please email us. Please understand we receive a very high volume of public inquiries, and while we read all emails submitted, we may not be able to respond if the question has been addressed on this page, at or if it involves a complaint about a local shelter or rescue organization.

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