Is the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County the same thing as Memphis Animal Services?


The Humane Society is totally separate from Memphis Animal Services, which is Memphis’ municipal, government-run animal control facility. The Humane Society is a private nonprofit with a mission of rescuing and rehabilitating injured and abused animals. We are a limited-intake facility and we accept animals when we have resources available. Memphis Animal Services is an open-admission facility and accepts animals brought to them by Memphis residents, as space allows.

How is the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County funded?

The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County is funded bydonations from people and businesses. We do receive grant funding from various foundations and government entities when we apply for it and are awarded it. We are 100% reliant on the generosity and support of the public to stay in operation.

I would like to report animal cruelty. How do I do that?

Please visit Local Laws for more info. Shelby County residents (excluding Bartlett, Germantown, and Collierville) should call the police non-emergency line at 901-545-COPS to request assistance. MPD will then route the call to MAS animal services officers.


I found a dog or a cat; will you take him/her?

We are able to take in animals as resources are available. Since we never euthanize for time or space, there are times when our facility is simply full and we do not have the space to bring in another animal. The need in the Memphis community is immense, and we, along with most all rescue groups, stay near or at capacity most of the time. It is because of this pet overpopulation that we at the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County are raising money to host low income spay/neuter services and vaccine services to community members of Memphis to make pet vet care more affordable and accessible to Memphians, helping to reduce overpopulation and euthanasia.

Are you a no-kill shelter?

The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County never euthanizes an animal for time or space reasons. We only euthanize for medical or behavior reasons, such as when an animal is too injured or sick to survive and still maintain a good quality of life, or if an animal’s aggressive behavior shows him/her to be a danger to people, other animals, or himself.

What is your euthanasia policy?

At the heart of our mission lies the well-being and care of the animals under our responsibility. Our priority is to ensure they lead happy and healthy lives. In exceptional cases where an animal is enduring severe illness, injury, or behavioral problems that may pose risks to our staff, volunteers, or the public, we may consider humane euthanasia. However, this decision is rare and always adheres to strict guidelines.

We remain dedicated to rehabilitating animals and promoting behavior modification through comprehensive training. Our ultimate goal is to find loving forever homes for these animals, where they can thrive and experience the love and care they deserve.

How do I adopt an animal from you, and how are adoption decisions made?

If you have an animal or a few animals you’re interested in adopting, the next step would be to fill out an adoption application, where you’ll answer questions about your lifestyle, living and housing situation, other pets, etc. Our goal with each adoption is ensuring that the adopter is the best fit for that particular animal. For example, we would prefer to send a high-energy dog home with someone who has time to exercise and train the dog; we wouldn’t send home a cat-aggressive dog with someone who has cats; we might not want to send a large, hyper, untrained dog home with someone with small children, etc. There are many factors we take into consideration.

If you have pets or have had pets recently, we will need the name and contact information of your vet. We will contact your vet to ensure that your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations, well cared for, and spayed/neutered. We require all adopters to have other pets in the home (even outdoor pets) be vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

Why do you have so many pit bulls?

We take in injured and abused animals and, sadly, pit bulls in our community bear the brunt of abandonment, neglect, and abuse. Dogs of every breed, as well as cats, are victims of abuse, and as such we have many different breeds of dog and cat available for adoption, but at any given time, our dog population may be made up of between 30 to 50 percent pit bulls. Many people misunderstand pit bulls based on propaganda they have seen in movies, on TV and in the media. We invite you to come meet some of our dogs, get them out of their kennel and spend some time with them and then you can make your own decision. We think you’ll see that pit bulls are just like any other dog—they crave human attention and affection, are eager to please, and just want to be loved.

I’m looking for an outside dog (or cat). Do you have those?

We do not place dogs in homes where they will be “outside” dogs, nor do we allow our dogs to be chained up outside permanently. Dogs are social animals and want to be near their family—left outside all the time, they become bored and depressed. We choose adopters who will make the dog a cherished member of the family. Additionally, our Memphis summers are too extreme for dogs to live outside permanently; they can be and are deadly to animals and people in the height of summer. Though we have milder winters, there have been many cases of animals freezing to death outside. Likewise, we do not place cats in homes where they will be primarily “outside” cats.

I’m looking for a guard dog. Do you have those?

We will not place a dog in a home where his primary purpose is as a guard dog. A dog’s primary purpose is for companionship and as stated above, we choose adopters who will make the dog a cherished member of the family. Just about any well-cared-for dog—any breed of dog and any size dog—will make an effort to protect his family when needed; they needn’t be a “guard dog” to do that. Even the sound of a dog barking inside the house is often enough to deter criminal activity.

I want a declawed cat. Do you have those?

We never declaw cats and we do not recommend it. The declawing procedure is actually an amputation of the first joint of the toe, as if each of your fingers were cut off at the top knuckle. Declawed cats CAN sometimes have behavior issues stemming from their inability to protect themselves with their claws, including aggression toward other cats, problems using the litter box, etc. With that said, not all declawed cats experience these behavior problems. Though we don’t declaw cats, we do sometimes get cats who are already declawed. You may inquire with an adoption counselor as to whether we currently have any declawed cats. A great, humane alternative to declawing is using nail caps, available at any pet store. Nail caps come in different colors so your fun-loving cat can look like she just had a manicure, and they also come in clear for more dignified, serious cats. They have a dull edge that prevents snagging, tearing and other damage from nails.

How do I change the amount of my monthly donation?

If you would like to change the amount of your monthly donation, you can email donations@memphishumane.org with your specifications or call 901-937-3903 to speak to a member of our staff. Thank you for your support!


Donating to the Humane Society is a meaningful way to make a positive impact on the lives of countless animals. Your generous contributions provide vital support for our mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and find loving homes for abandoned and neglected animals.