Oregon Humane Society
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Services and Policies


OHS Funding



OHS Animal Adoption Statistics


For complete adoption numbers, including figures calculated in accordance with the Asilomar Standard, visit the OHS Adoption Statistics page.



General & Adoptions


How many pets do you place into new homes?


In 2013 OHS found homes for 11,110 pets. Our "save rate" (adoptions, plus transfers to other humane groups and reunions with owners) for dogs in 2013 was 99 percent; for cats it was 98 percent. Our adoption rates are quite impressive when compared to the national average (25 percent for dogs and 20 percent for cats). We are proud of our efforts and the Board, staff, and volunteers of OHS are committed to placing 100 percent of the animals brought to OHS for adoption into new, loving homes.


Where do your animals come from?


Pets surrendered by their owners make up the majority of the animals received at OHS. We do not accept stray dogs, as by law these animals must go to county animal services in the local jurisdiction in which they were found. We sometimes have stray cats at the shelter, as some jurisdictions have no facilities for stray cats.


Through our Second Chance Program, OHS saves more lives by accepting animals from shelters and animal control agencies across Oregon, Washington and California. In the case of a national disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina, we accepted dogs from Georgia and Louisiana. In a typical year, we'll receive thousands of animals from other shelters. These shelters typically face the dual problems of too many abandoned animals and too few adopters.


How do you decide who is adoptable?


Our goal is to find homes for 100 percent of the pets received at our shelter. Pets placed up for adoption need to be of sound temperament and good health. Pets with a history of severe aggression or major medical problems that cannot be resolved without extensive veterinary care are not suitable for our adoption program. That said, many animals undergo substantial rehabilitation at OHS prior to placement for adoption. Our "Pet Pals" dog obedience program, staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers, works with difficult to place dogs to resolve behavior problems that would be a deterrent to adoption, and our medical staff treat pets for a variety of conditions and injuries.


How long do you keep animals?


There is never a time limit on an animal's stay at OHS. For some pets, this can mean living at the shelter for six months or more until the right home is available.


When looking for a new home, dogs generally wait an average of 8 days or less and cats wait an average of 9 days or less (kittens average 1 day while puppies, 3 days).


OHS has 296 volunteer foster families who care for newborns, pregnant cats, and recuperating dogs until they are ready to be placed up for adoption. In addition, foster families will shelter and care for animals when the kennels are full or if an individual animal needs a break from the stress of staying in the kennels. Our foster families directly saved the lives of 1,274 animals in 2013 alone.


Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?


We estimate that about 25 percent of the animals brought to the shelter are purebreds. If you are interested in specific breed, check our pet lists to see if one is available. OHS also works with purebred dog rescue organizations. Many times, these dogs are transferred from OHS to rescue groups who specialize in adoption of a particular breed. That way OHS has more room for mix breeds and the purebred gets the attention it needs as well.


How do I adopt a pet from OHS?


Information on how to adopt a pet is available on the How to Adopt page.


Do you require spaying or neutering of adopted pets?


We are committed to ending pet overpopulation and consider spaying and neutering the number one solution to this tragic problem. Many pets have already been spayed or neutered before coming to OHS. Those who have not been are spayed/neutered while they are at the shelter.


How do I bring an animal to you for adoption?


The Find a Home page contains information on OHS's pre-admission policy and links to print out the necessary forms. We want to do everything possible to help you keep your pet. However, we know that this is not always the best solution and we are available to help when you need to find a new home for your animal. When you contact OHS at (503) 285-7722, ext. 211, you will be asked several questions about your pet and situation. Admissions staff answering this extension will provide you with helpful information on how you might change a behavior difficulty or give you information on other community resources to place your companion animal. You will be given the opportunity to schedule an appointment with the OHS admissions department. This way we can provide you and your animal with the time needed to complete the process.


Why are your adoption fees different for each animal?


Wondering why puppies cost more? At the Oregon Humane Society, we cheer for ALL the animals. However, we know some animals are more desired by the public, such as puppies, kittens, and some popular breeds.


Having a higher adoption fee for animals we know will go home quickly enables us to care for long-time or special needs residents until they find their new homes.


Our adoption fees are based on an animal's age, breed, temperament, behavioral issues, and physical condition. The adoption fee includes a certificate for a free health examination by a participating vet, initial vaccines (cats and dogs), spay/neuter surgery, a microchip, ID tag, collar, a free month of pet insurance, and a pet care booklet. Cats, rabbits, and pocket pets (rodents) also include a carrier to safely transport your pet home.


What is a microchip and how does it work?


Microchips are a safe, permanent way to identify your companion animal. A pet microchip is a small computer chip (about the size of a rice grain) safely injected between the animal's shoulder blades. Having your pet microchipped greatly increases the chances of it being returned to you when lost. All pets should wear an ID tag with a contact number on it, preferably your mobile number - but microchips are the best backup for a collar and visible ID tag.


Microchips are not GPS trackers. A pet's geographic location cannot be tracked by a microchip. The chip must be scanned (at a vet's office or shelter, for example), which will provide the scanner with owner contact information from a computer database. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company so you can be contacted if your pet escapes and is found and brought to a vet or shelter.


What is the shelter that opened in 2000 like and what is the history behind it?


With the help of over 7,000 donors, in 2000 the Oregon Humane Society completed its most ambitious project in its then-132-year history. The new animal resource center and educational facilities, conceived in 1993, were completed in June 2000. With this achievement, OHS began a new chapter in its long and successful history as a progressive animal welfare organization. Learn about the capital campaign that raised funds for the project, budgets, information about the corporate partners, details about the building, and other useful data in the OHS New Shelter Project 2000 book, prepared by Skanska USA Building.


Does OHS test cats for feline leukemia?


We test every cat for feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Tests for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are administered when we have reason to suspect the cat has FIV.



OHS Services and Policies


What kind of food do you feed the dogs and cats at the shelter?


We are fortunate to have most of our food donated by pet owners, veterinary clinics, retailers, and wholesale pet food brokers. The food is of good quality and is mixed to reduce the shock of a change of diet. Using quality, donated food saves over $30,000 a year. We also accept monetary donations to our food fund. This fund is used to purchase special food for animals with allergies or other health problems, as well as kitten food and other high demand diets as needed.


Can OHS help if I can't afford to spay or neuter my animal?


Spaying and neutering saves lives and OHS has programs to assist pet owners with the cost of a spay/neuter surgery. Find a list of helpful resources on the Spay/Neuter Assistance page.


Spay and Save offers $10 cat alters throughout the Portland metro area. You must receive government assistance to qualify. Download details here (PDF) or call 1-800-345-SPAY.


There are also discount coupons available for spay/neuter services. The coupons are good at several clinics throughout the Portland area and state of Oregon.


Can you recommend a veterinarian for me to see?


Contact the Portland Veterinarian Medical Association at (503) 228-7387 for information about local animal clinics and veterinarians. Statewide, check out the Oregon Veterinarian Medical Association.


Is OHS a "no kill" facility?


There are no time limits placed on how long an animal is available for adoption at the Oregon Humane Society. Animals available for adoption are never euthanized because of space limitations. OHS euthanizes only for very significant health or behavior issues and does not take lightly the decision to end a life. As a rule "no kill" is defined as a 90% save rate. OHS has a save rate well over 95% on all pets at the shelter, certainly fitting the criteria although we don't refer to ourselves as a "no kill."


Many "no kill" shelters are more accurately defined as limited admission facilities. The term "no kill" has, unfortunately, become a marketing tool rather than an honest description of the enormous undertaking of providing care for homeless pets. Some "no kill" shelters pick and choose which animals are acceptable for adoption, turning away many others who have a medical or behavioral condition or are deemed, according to that shelter's criteria, as unadoptable. Use of such vague, hard-to-define terms and ideals makes it confusing for pet owners trying to obtain services.


"No kill" does not mean no euthanasia, a key point often lost in this discussion. In the case of true "sanctuaries," where no euthanasia is practiced, there are painfully few instances where companion animals are maintained in a manner that preserves their physical and mental health.


Through effective use of our resources (including foster care volunteers, the Second Chance Program, and volunteer trainers) and medical care, OHS can provide rehabilitation (both behavioral and medical) treatment for many animals, increasing their chances of finding a home. Success is seen every day: for example, when an untrained 9 month old Labrador mix pup is transformed into a well-mannered dog who can now sit, stay, and heel on command. Even a cat with a severe disability receives a new lease on life thanks to a foster volunteer and veterinarian who did not give up on the cat. OHS is a place for second chances.


How do I report animal neglect or cruelty?


If you suspect or know an animal is suffering from neglect or abuse, file a report with OHS's Investigations Department online here or call (503) 285-7722, ext. 214. If there is an emergency, please call the police.


You will be prompted to leave detailed information about the location, animal in question, and potential suspect as well as your contact number, which will be kept strictly confidential. Due to the confidential nature of the investigations, you will not receive any information regarding the results of the investigation.


You can also contact your local police department, sheriff's office, or animal control agency for assistance.


What written resources can I get about animal cruelty?


You can purchase a printed copy of the new "Oregon Animal Cruelty Laws," which is a reference guide to Oregon Revised Statutes and Administrative Rules pertaining to animal welfare laws in Oregon. To order this pocket reference guide, send $5 to: Oregon Humane Society, Investigations Department or you can download a copy here.


I found an animal in my neighborhood. What should I do?


The Lost/Found Page has details on what you can do. There are several options to help find the animal's family. If you can keep the animal until his/her owners are located, here are some suggestions:


If you are unable to keep the animal, you should take him/her to your local animal control agency. OHS will take in stray cats if you call first and make an appointment. Stray dogs found in Multnomah County need to be taken to the Multnomah Co. Animal Control Services shelter in Troutdale.


Help! I've lost my pet. What do I do?


First remain calm. OHS's lost/found section has information, resources, and advice to help you find your pet.


Whom do I call when I see a loose dog, roaming cat, or dead animal in my yard/road/neighborhood?


Please contact your local animal control agency with this information.


When there is a need to euthanize an animal, what happens to its remains?


The Oregon Humane Society respects the bond pet guardians have for their beloved companion and knows it continues even when the pet is no longer alive. We offer a special resting place for those wishing to utilize the services of our Pet Memorial Gardens. Under no circumstances do we release any animal remains to rendering plants, landfills, or for medical research. The remains are respectfully cremated on-site.


Does the Oregon Humane Society sell animals for scientific experimentation?


No. Under no circumstances are OHS animals utilized for experimentation or research.


What is the Oregon Humane Society's policy on rodeos?


The Oregon Humane Society (OHS) is opposed to rodeos because the way in which they are conducted today inevitably results in injury, pain, torture, fear, or harassment being inflicted upon the participating animals. Studies by veterinarians have documented such visible injuries as broken limbs, flank sores, open wounds, abrasions, broken horns, and spur marks. Some events render animals dazed or unconscious; there are instances when rodeo animals are so badly injured they must be destroyed. Many roping and riding events are both obviously injurious and involve use of devices to make the animals react violently.

The Society rejects the contention that rodeos are a harmless showing of part of the American heritage. It rejects also the idea that supervision of rodeo events, many of which were developed for entertainment and profit without regard for animals suffering, is an effective means of eliminating the cruelty in them.

The Society believes that exposure of children to the atmosphere of violence in rodeos may be psychologically damaging and almost surely teaches them tolerance of inhumane treatment of animals in the name of competition. Therefore, it is the policy of OHS to support all organizations who work to eliminate all rodeo events in which there is danger of injury, pain, torture, fear, or harassment to the participating animals and to seek an end to the use of devices which, through pain or discomfort, induce rodeo animals to react violently.

OHS Funding

Does OHS receive money from my taxes and how is OHS different from the county animal control agency?


The Oregon Humane Society receives no tax money or government support. OHS is funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals and businesses in this community.


With regard to how OHS compares and differs with county animal control agencies in Oregon, OHS operates the largest animal shelter facility enabling us to place more homeless animals. Both OHS and animal control agencies have the similar goal of controlling the population of homeless pets by stressing the importance of spaying/neutering. Both also place pets into new, loving homes.


The difference between OHS and animal control agencies lies in the focus of each organization's protection arm. Your local animal control agency is generally charged with the duty of protecting you from animals. They are the ones you call when a dog is running at large or barking too much. Animal control is also the agency that deals with vicious dog bites or attacks. The license your pet wears comes from your local animal control agency and you'd visit their shelter if your pet were lost. Most animal control agencies are also the ones you contact if there is a dead animal in your yard, road, or neighborhood.


The Oregon Humane Society works to ensure quality lives for all animals. Our main concern is for the well being of the animal, protecting them from abuse or neglect. OHS is the place to call for help finding a home for your pet, to get information on responsible pet ownership, for tips on solving training and/or behavior difficulties, to find out about animal welfare legislation, and more.


The Oregon Humane Society's Investigations Department works throughout the state, many times assisting local law enforcement agencies including animal control, looking into allegations of animal abuse or neglect with the emphasis being on making the conditions better for the animal - whether that includes providing education for the owner or removal of the animal.


What is the difference between the Oregon Humane Society and other animal welfare organizations that solicit funds from me through the mail (such as Humane Society of the United States, PETA, American Humane, ASPCA, Friends for Animals, etc.)?


The Oregon Humane Society is not affiliated with any other local or national organizations. OHS is a local, independent non-profit organization.


While these national organizations work to help all kinds of animals, what sets OHS apart from them is that OHS operates a local shelter (in Portland, Oregon) that receives and houses animals with a trackable adoption program. OHS works directly with members of this local community to find homes for homeless pets, help increase the value of companion animals, stop abuse and neglect, and solve training and behavior difficulties.


If I make a gift to a national organization, does OHS receive a portion of my donation?


OHS is a non-profit independent organization funded mostly by the voluntary donations of individuals and businesses in this community. OHS receives no ongoing support from national organizations but occasionally receives grant funding for special projects. Funding for OHS's services and programs from donors is received in the form of cash donations, bequests, trusts and endowments, and fees.


How can I help?


Let us count the ways - OHS greatly appreciates donations of cash, time, and items. The Oregon Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible as allowed by law. Your financial support helps us maintain and even expand the programs and services we offer to the community. Many of OHS's programs would not exist without the generous donation of time by volunteers. Volunteers work in all areas of the shelter operation - working directly with the animals, foster care, education, adoption, retail, administration, legislative, and more. There is a world of opportunities offered to individuals who want to volunteer at OHS. Finally, to reduce expenses, the public is encouraged to donate needed items directly to the shelter. This not only reduces OHS's costs but you may be able to write off the donation on your taxes.