Animal Humane Society joins 'Socially Conscious Sheltering' movement

Young girl petting dog at dog park

For decades, Animal Humane Society has been recognized as a leader in animal welfare. From innovative medical and behavior programs to investments in outreach and advocacy, we’ve helped transform the way shelters across the country care for animals and engage their communities.

Now, we’re leading by example, lending our support to a new movement known as ‘Socially Conscious Sheltering,’ and eight core principles that lead to the best outcomes for animals — and animal lovers — in our community.

The Socially Conscious Sheltering movement began because shelter leaders recognized the need to create a common set of values to guide organizations — values that could be easily communicated and would highlight the shared responsibility for animal welfare among shelters, individuals, and communities. This emerging framework maximizes the physical and emotional health and well-being of animals, while balancing the needs of communities and public safety.

While animal welfare organizations across the country are just beginning to embrace Socially Conscious Sheltering, the movement is based on principles AHS has modeled for years. We’re proud to be the first shelter in Minnesota to formally join this movement.

Core values of Socially Conscious Sheltering

  1. Place every healthy and safe animal.
  2. Ensure every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care.
  3. Assess the medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals and ensure these needs are thoughtfully addressed.
  4. Align shelter policy with the needs of the community.
  5. Alleviate suffering and make appropriate euthanasia decisions.
  6. Enhance the human-animal bond through safe placements and post-adoption support.
  7. Consider the health, wellness, and safety of animals for each community when transferring animals.
  8. Foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision making, mutual respect, continual learning, and collaboration.

Read a full description of each tenet at

We all play a role in animal welfare

Practicing these shared principles has led to thousands of second chances for animals in our community. However, Socially Conscious Sheltering means we measure the success of our shelter not on one single statistic, but on our ability to increase the quality of life for pets and people in our community — because we all play a role in animal welfare. Together, we’re making the world a more humane place for animals. Learn more about your role in Socially Conscious Sheltering at

This article was included in our Summer 2021 issue of Animal Tracks, a magazine delivered to AHS donors. See previous issues of Animal Tracks.

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