What We Do : History & Philosophy

Over a Century of Caring

Founded in 1897, the Seattle Humane Society was the first humane organization formed to serve King County. In the early 20th Century, committees were devoted to issues such as stock yards, slaughterhouses, and ranches. 

From 1930 – 1972, the Seattle Humane Society carried out animal control duties including picking up lost and/or stray animals. In 1972, the Seattle Humane Society moved to Bellevue and the City of Seattle and King County both established their own animal control divisions.

Numerous community services were added in the early 1980s including the Pet Food Bank and the Visiting Pet Friends program. In 1986, the Seattle Humane Society was honored by the American Humane Association with a 5-Star rating.

Beginning in 1993, the Seattle Humane Society started performing spay/neuter surgeries on all shelter animals over the age of eight weeks. An endowment fund was created in 1995 to ensure that the Seattle Humane Society's life-saving work continues well into the future.

Today we remain true to our original mission to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves and to bring people and pets together. As a private nonprofit organization, the Seattle Humane Society works closely with municipal animal control departments and other nonprofit organizations to help companion animals in King County. The Seattle Humane Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, consisting of local community and business leaders. They set the direction and policies for the organization and strive to make it as effective as possible.


Dedicated to Bringing People and Pets Together

The Humane Society for Seattle/King County, (aka Seattle Humane Society) is a private nonprofit dedicated to bringing people and pets together. Our vision for the future is to save the lives of all homeless companion animals in our community.

All healthy and adoptable companion animals who come through Seattle Humane Society's doors are given as long as it takes for us to find them a home of their own, regardless of age, beauty or infirmity. In addition, we provide medical care and treatment for our shelter guests who need a little something extra to make them adoptable.


Care We Provide

Shelter guests are spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, examined by one of our staff veterinarians, and temperament tested prior to being made available for adoption.

Pets with conditions that we can treat receive the care they need. Treatments can range from repairing broken legs; performing amputations; eye removal; care for sore ears, skin conditions and wounds; and treatment for kennel cough and upper respiratory infections in cats. At many shelters, animals requiring special care are put to death, but through the generosity of our donors, we are able to provide life-saving care to give hundreds of animals a new chance at life.

In the case of animals who have terminal medical conditions or for animals who present a public safety risk, our trained professional staff humanely euthanizes those animals.


Admitting and Rescuing Pets

The Seattle Humane Society accepts any owner surrendered animals utilizing intake appointments to allow our staff and volunteers to collect as much information as possible about the incoming pet. The appointments are scheduled on a first-call basis and are not based on the age or desirability of the animal. In the case of an emergency, animals will be admitted immediately.

The Seattle Humane Society houses stray animals for the city of Renton. At the end of the stray period, the animals are spayed or neutered and micro-chipped and made available for adoption.


Continuing Improvements

The Seattle Humane Society made long-awaited improvements at our campus during 2007. Prospective adopters can interact with the cats in condos. The cats are housed in new spacious compartments where staff and volunteers can socialize them daily. Sixty dog kennels have been completely remodeled to give a quieter kennel and to prevent barrier frustration. These changes were designed so the animals can thrive in the shelter and in their new home. Training programs have expanded in the remodeled auditorium. The Visiting Pets Program takes the healing presence of pets to 300 seniors, people with disabilities, and kids on a monthly basis. Animal Adventures Camp for kids offers youngsters an opportunity to have fun and learn about pets.

The simple truth is that animals benefit greatly from what we do. But people benefit greatly as well. It happens through companionship . . . the concept of people and their pets existing in camaraderie as equals, and as friends joined to live with and serve each other throughout their lives. And the most important part of our job is to make sure that there is a solid basis for and ongoing support of this companionship.

The Seattle Humane Society campus at I-90 and I-405 is a buzz of activity to help pets and the people who love them.

You might also like to:

LEARN how to leave a legacy to the animals.
JOIN our team of volunteers
DISCOVER the variety of community services we offer