Our Mission & Values

dog on back getting belly scratched in yard

Our Mission Is Clear:

To save the most vulnerable animals and enrich the lives of pets and people.

This simple statement is our North Star, guiding every initiative to ensure we’re having the greatest impact possible.

In carrying out this mission, we constantly return to our core values of innovation, compassion and excellence. These aren’t just words to us, but reminders. We must innovate and find creative solutions if we’re going to continue transforming the future of animal welfare. We must have compassion because that’s the foundation for a better world. And we must always strive for excellence because our pets and our community deserve our best.

a small white dog plays at the park

Ethical No-Kill Philosophy™

We never euthanize a pet for space or length of time. The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is a safety net for the most vulnerable animals—the sick, injured and abused—who are often turned away by other shelters. By taking in these pets, we’ve been able to reduce euthanasia by 83%. But sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we have to make the humane decision to euthanize an animal who is suffering from a severe medical condition or who is a danger to other pets or people. These extreme cases are treated with the utmost compassion.

Quality of Care

We’re striving to elevate the standards in animal welfare in all areas by being a leader in the industry. Here’s how we ensure our pets’ time with us is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

  • Standards of Care
  • There are currently no legal guidelines for the care of animals in shelters. However, we believe standards are vital—not only for accountability, but to help shelters understand best practices. We abide by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. This comprehensive guide was written, researched and vetted by renowned veterinarians and details 49 areas of compliance for humane shelter operations. It’s the gold standard for meeting pets’ physical, mental and behavioral needs in a shelter environment.

    Only one shelter has ever reached 100% compliance with the Standards of Care, and we’re right behind them. Our new Papago Park Campus was designed with these guidelines in mind. While we already have a high level of compliance, the new campus’s upgraded facilities will allow us to cross the threshold to 100% compliance—which we are very excited for!

  • Animal Enrichment
  • Enrichment includes any activities or environments that stimulate the pet’s brain and encourage them to use their natural instincts. On our campuses, this often means engaging pets as often as possible with:

    • Puzzle toys and frozen KONG® toys stuffed with treats for dogs
    • Playdates with other pets
    • Daily out-of-kennel time
    • Interactive toys, scratchers and puzzle feeders for cats
    • Exercise wheels and tubes for critters to explore

    You may even come across a staff member serenading pets with guitar music, or blowing bubbles for cats to chase!

    We use a holistic care model led by our Animal Care and Experience team that includes more than 50 non-repetitive sensory experiences on a two-week cycle. Our model is so uniquely effective that it is now taught by the University of Florida as part of their Shelter Animal Behavior and Welfare course for veterinary students.

  • Fear Free Shelters
  • The shelter environment can be very stressful for pets. The new smells, people and animals can lead a pet to experience severe anxiety and even suppress their immune system.

    To ensure pets are kept comfortable during their time with us, we require all AHS staff to complete certification from Fear Free Shelters. This program teaches specific animal care and handling practices to reduce pets’ stress throughout the shelter. Even in the middle of our busiest seasons, we’re committed to following these practices and keeping our kennels as stress-free as possible.

A History of Compassion

Since 1957, the Arizona Humane Society has fostered the belief that every pet deserves a good life. What once began as a small shelter established by a compassionate group of volunteers has since grown to become the state’s largest animal welfare and protection agency, as well as the state’s designated responder for animals in distress during natural disasters.

Over the years, we’d started various programs to save the lives of Arizona’s most vulnerable pets. But in 2013, we knew we had to push harder to create the pet-friendly future we wanted to see. In the face of a pet overpopulation crisis, we began lifesaving programs like our Parvo ICU, Mutternity Suites, and Bottle Baby ICU & Kitten Nursery to care for animals who are often euthanized in other shelters.

As a result, we’ve decreased euthanization by 83%—that’s 130,000 additional lives saved. We’re working hard to transform the very notion of animal welfare in Arizona, and we’re proud to say that many of these first-of-their-kind programs, services, education and communication techniques that have been emulated by organizations all over the world.

small black and white dog, being held by vet in blue shirt

Join Our Mission

The Arizona Humane Society sees cases daily that are beyond the scope of imagination—pets coming from situations of abuse, neglect abandonment. And although we cannot save them all, there is not a day that goes by where we don’t try.

But none of this lifesaving work would be possible without our donors. As a local nonprofit that’s not funded by the government or other humane societies, we are reliant on the generosity of our community to continue this important work. Make a gift today so that pets can have a tomorrow.