No-Kill | Open Admission

To celebrate the commitment the community has made to the animals of the Dubuque Regional Humane Society (DRHS), our organization is pleased to announce our commitment to the community:

The DRHS will operate as a no-kill, open admission humane society. We will provide each animal in our care the best opportunity to be placed in a safe, loving home. We will never euthanize a healthy, treatable animal for lack of space, length of time, or any other reason that is not in the best interest of the animal. We will continue to partner with residents to affirm the Tri-State region is a compassionate, humane, no-kill community.

We meet the industry standards as advocated by Best Friends and Maddie's Fund.

National Resources:

Best Friends:

Animal shelter policies and practices:
No-kill pet shelters and organizations only euthanize animals who are irremediably suffering and cannot be rehabilitated. They do not kill pets as a means of population control. The benchmark for achieving no-kill is when a community saves at least 90 percent of the homeless animals it takes in. In a no-kill community, shelters strive to not only find permanent homes for all the dogs and cats they take in, they also implement a variety of programs to reduce the number of pets coming in and to increase the number of pets leaving the shelter alive.

The difference between shelter euthanasia and killing:
Best Friends defines euthanasia purely as an act of mercy. (Other groups sometimes use the term “mercy killing.”) We believe pet euthanasia should be reserved for situations when an animal is irremediably suffering and a veterinarian has determined the animal has no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life, or the animal’s behavior doesn’t allow him/her to be a candidate for rehabilitation

For more information from Best Friends, please CLICK HERE.

Maddie's Fund:

How does Maddie's Fund define no-kill?
Maddie's Fund defines no-kill as saving both healthy and treatable dogs and cats, with euthanasia reserved only for unhealthy & untreatable animals. While no-kill organizations save all the healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats under their care, no-kill communities save all of the healthy and treatable pets in all of the animal welfare agencies community-wide.

For more information from Maddie's Fund, please

Questions and Answers about No-Kill | Open Admission

Q: Is the DRHS a no-kill shelter?
A: Yes! The DRHS places 100% of our healthy treatable animals into safe, loving homes. This is the most widely accepted definition of no-kill, as endorsed by Best Friends and Maddie's Fund.
Q: Does no-kill mean no euthanasia?
A: No. Euthanasia is reserved solely for animals that are suffering from illness or injury with no chance at recovery or quality of life. It is also for animals with behavior that makes them a danger to the community. While these decisions are difficult, they provide the most compassionate outcome for these animals.
Q: How do you determine which animals are euthanized?
A: We look at each animal as an individual, assessing his or her individual situation and needs. This, in addition to determining the quality of life moving forward, aid our staff in making these tough decisions. We do not make generalizations about an animal due to its age, breed, illness, etc. It's truly about that one animal.
Q: So what is different from five years ago?
A: Changes in philosophy and operations have significantly shortened the length of time animals are in our care until adopted. Animals are adopted faster and fewer are getting sick. This enables us to provide medical treatment to those who are sick and get more adopted.
Q: Has this cost a lot of money? More Staff?
A: Actually, by moving animals through the shelter faster, we have decreased the staff time needed to provide care. These resources are redirected to provide treatment and care to animals we were once unable to treat.
Q: Do you fudge your numbers to make them look good?
A: No! The community holds us accountable for the animals in our care. We take that seriously. Our philosophy is, to be honest, transparent and good stewards of the support shown by people. Our numbers are posted on our website (in the news section) showing live release rate, euthanasia, deaths, etc.
Q: What does open admission mean?
A: We will not turn away any animal due to its breed, age, temperament, etc.