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. While DCHS is proud to provide state of the art medical care and behavior enrichment programs, some cases are not able to be addressed or pose significant safety risks for the public and may lead to euthanasia. DCHS does not make any of these decisions based on length of stay or space and have reduced our overall euthanasia rate.

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.

In the past few years, DCHS has been able to reach out to shelters beyond our immediate community to transfer animals into and out of our shelter to better place them. DCHS works with more than 80 rescues and shelters throughout Wisconsin and the United States.

DCHS currently assists Dane County and the City of Madison authorities when they pursue animal seizures due to suspected abuse and neglect. DCHS is private, non-profit organization and has no legal authority to investigate animal abuse or seize animals. The shelter maintains contractual relationships to serve as a holding facility for stray and impounded animals, including those seized by local authorities pursuant to Chapter 173 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Decisions on whether to seize an animal or to keep a seized animal at DCHS are made by law enforcement, statutorily-authorized humane officers, and representatives of Dane County Animal Control, in conjunction with local prosecutors and the courts.

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