Dane County Humane Society

The mission statement of Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) is Helping People Help Animals. We are an adoption guarantee, open admission shelter located in Dane County that functions as a private non-profit organization. DCHS accepts all animals that need assistance no matter their age, health status, or temperament. DCHS guarantees that all healthy cats and dogs and those with treatable medical/behavioral conditions will find new homes.

Approximately 9,000 animals pass through our doors every year including companion animals, exotic species, farm animals, small mammals, and orphaned or injured wildlife. We serve as the stray animal holding facility for Dane County, and we reunite over 1,000 lost pets with their families each year.  DCHS is a recognized leader in providing many services including low cost spay/neuter, humane education, adoption services, and wildlife rehabilitation.

Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) places great importance on providing services specifically for kids, by offering year-round humane education programs and volunteer opportunities. DCHS’s humane education program includes a number of unique opportunities for school groups and individuals.  Among these are Camp Pawprint, Humane Heroes Club, field trips to the shelter, classroom presentations, and birthday parties. Camp Pawprint: Summer Break is a week long day camp where children spend a total each day directly interacting with our shelter animals, completing hands-on activities related to animal care, and experiencing professional speakers such as ZooZort, International Crane Foundation, and many more! We offer 3 camp themes throughout the summer so youths can learn about domesticated animals,  local and exotic wildlife, and careers in the animal world. Our day camps offer kids an educational experience during school holidays where they get to meet animals and learn about their care. The Humane Heroes Club is for animal-loving kids and meets three times a month! Our Heroes complete service projects for the shelter and meet many different animals. Our shelter field trips consist of a 2.5 hour session where groups enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the shelter, interact with our classroom animals, have a lesson on an animal or environmental topic of their choice, and then can stay and enjoy lunch on our grounds. For classroom presentations, our humane educator visits the classroom and presents a standards-based lesson about animals. We also bring classroom animals to interact with the students.

​Great lessons about having compassion and empathy are gained by meeting and learning about animals. Understanding animal behavior and nonverbal communication teaches children to put themselves in the shoes, or paws, of another. By providing youths with opportunities to meet and handle animals, they are introduced to a new world, to beings that do not share the same verbal language with us but share a similar capacity for feelings and emotions. The greatest outcome to be achieved is the learning of empathy. To have empathy is to have an understanding that all living creatures have feelings and emotions and can feel pain. By developing compassion for animals, children learn to have compassion for others. Humane education is presented to young people so that these values will be carried with them through adulthood and will help the world become a more humane place for all.