Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Nevada Humane Society (NHS)?

Nevada Humane Society (NHS) is a charitable, non-profit organization and the only open-admission, no-kill shelter in the state of Nevada, founded in 1932. Our mission is to care for pets, find them homes and save lives and our vision is that all pets have a healthy, happy life. Our guiding principles are to promote humane treatment, relieve suffering, operate a no-kill shelter and educate and engage the community. We accomplish our lifesaving by providing quality care and finding homes for homeless pets while offering a variety of programs to benefit the public and animals. We are dependent upon donations and do not receive funding from government agencies or national animal welfare groups.  | TOP


Are you part of a national organization?

No. NHS is a private and independent organization. We work with many other humane organizations, including national groups, but we do not receive funding from them. | TOP


Are all of the animal shelters and rescue groups in Nevada part of the Nevada Humane Society?

No. While we certainly share many of the same goals, and while we work closely together on many projects, these are all individual agencies and groups. For more information on their missions and operations, please contact each of them directly. | TOP


Are you a "no kill" shelter?

Though we originated in 1932, it was in 2007 that our Board of Directors changed the mission of the organization to one of lifesaving, promoting animal welfare while finding homes and providing care for homeless pets in Northern Nevada. Thanks to the amazing support of the community and the hard work of our Board of Directors, dedicated staff, volunteers and partners, we have achieved dramatic results. In 2012, Washoe County was highlighted by Maddie’s Fund, honored with the Community Lifesaving Award and named one of the safest communities in the country for homeless pets, with a 95% lifesaving rate. Carson City, where we expanded to in 2014, also enjoys a 95% lifesaving rate and we only continue to grow to save even more lives. To learn more about how you can help, please take a look at our volunteer opportunities. | TOP


Are you animal control?

No. Animal Control services are provided through a variety of government agencies whose primary function is that of public safety. They enforce ordinances with regards to rabies control, leash laws, animal nuisance issues and much, much more. In Washoe County, the central impound facility for animals Washoe County Regional Animal Services, located next door to Nevada Humane Society, at 2825 Longley Lane, Suite A. They are also the ones who provide animal control services. However, in Carson City, we have a special contract with the city and we provide those services. For information on that, please call 775-887-2171.| TOP


What should I do if I've lost an animal or found one?

In Washoe County, Reno and Sparks, if you have lost your pet, please visit Washoe County Regional Animal Services in person or online, as that is where lost, found and abandoned animals are taken. File a lost report in person or online as well. You may also check out our kennels. We are prohibited by law from accepting stray animals, but you are welcome to come by to put your mind at ease. Be sure to put up flyers with your pet’s description, date lost, area lost and contact information. Use social media too and don’t give up!


If you have seen a stray animal and would like it picked up, please call Washoe County Regional Animal Services at (775) 322-DOGS. If the animal is friendly and you can safely handle it, check for identification and try to trace the owner. If you are able to maintain the pet while looking for the owner, be sure to still file a found report, in person or online, or by calling 775-353-8900.


If you live in Carson City, please contact Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171 (we do provide animal control and licensing services in Carson City). If you live outside of Washoe County or Carson City, please contact your local police or sheriff’s department (or animal control if you have one) for assistance. | TOP


What animals do you take?

We accept animals from their legal owners who are no longer able to keep them. Acceptance of an animal does not guarantee admission into the adoption program. There is no set “time limit” for any animal’s stay at the shelter – each animal is assessed individually for health, temperament and behavior. NHS is unable to re-home animals who are a danger to themselves or others, or who are medically challenged beyond our ability to rehabilitate. | TOP


Can you call me if you can't place my pet?

NHS wants to be your last resort. Please try to place your pet with family, friends, co-workers, through the paper or through a rescue program first. You may even call us to see if we have anyone on record looking for your type of pet already. While we have a very successful adoption program, we cannot guarantee placement. If you can possibly reclaim your pet at a future date, then your pet may take the place for another pet at the shelter whose owner did not have a choice. | TOP


How do I surrender my pet?

NHS accepts owned pets by appointment only Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call (775) 856-2000. Please bring whatever written information you have about your pet: vaccination and medical records, pedigree papers, a brief biography, etc. You will be asked to fill out a surrender form, and sign a legal release of ownership.


The surrender fees for animals are as follows:

  • Spayed/neutered adult dog/cat: $25
  • Intact adult dog or cat: $50
  • Kitten/puppy (each animal): $20
  • Spayed/neutered rabbit: $25
  • Intact rabbit: $50
  • Other small animal: $20

If you are unable to afford this fee, it may be waived under certain circumstances. We do suggest that you call the shelter before bringing your pet to us; appointments are required. We may be able to assist you with other placement options, or offer guidance and counseling with behavior and training problems so that you can keep your pet. You may also visit our Animal Behavior Assistance section and view our Behavior Information Pages to help you address problems that are straining your pet-owner relationship. | TOP


If my situation changes and I am able to reclaim my pet, what is the process?

If your pet is still at the shelter, you may reclaim it by re-adopting it. As the pet is now the legal property of NHS, it will have to be spayed or neutered prior to leaving the facility (applies to dogs, cats and rabbits) if it is unaltered. You will be responsible for this charge. | TOP


Why do I have to have my pet (dogs, cats, rabbits) altered if I reclaim it?

Nevada Revised Statute 574.600 mandates that ALL dogs and cats must be surgically altered before leaving a shelter, animal control center or “releasing agency” (rescue/placement group). This helps control the state’s pet overpopulation crisis and thereby reduces the number of homeless animals euthanized in shelters. NHS operates a spay/neuter clinic on-site and is able to accommodate the pediatric sterilization of puppies and kittens in addition to adult dogs, cats and rabbits. Rabbits were added to our internal policy as we receive over 300 for adoption each year. | TOP


Do you offer all veterinary services through your clinic?

Not entirely. Our clinic offers subsidized (low-cost) spay/neuter/vaccination services to the public on occasion as resources are available. We also operate a weekly low-cost vaccine clinic. We look to expand the availability of these services in the future but for more clinic information, please visit that page directly..


Spaying and neutering directly addresses the tragedy of pet overpopulation and helps ensure the ever-decreasing numbers of homeless animal euthanasia in our community. Vaccinations help promote a healthy pet population for all income levels, and are required by the NHS clinic to be current a the time of surgery. We also offer microchipping to support complete pet identification. NHS strongly recommends that all pet owners establish a relationship with a local, full-service veterinary hospital to provide for the pet's health throughout its lifetime. | TOP


Do you have financial assistance programs available for any of your clinic services?

NHS offers financial assistance for dog and cat spays/neuters at its clinic, on a space available basis, if our low prices are even beyond your reach. Please ask for more information at the time you call for an appointment at (775) 856-2000 . We are also sometimes able to offer spay/neuter assistance to private cat owners in the form vouchers, which can be used at a participating veterinary hospital near you, courtesy of The Robert Z. Hawkins Foundation. The NHS prefers that you ask your veterinarian to call or write us to recommend you for this program. Vouchers are limited to ten per household per year, and are intended for low and fixed income animal owners. | TOP


How do I adopt a pet?

Our primary goal is to make lifelong matches between the pet and its new owner. We do this through sharing information about the pet and its needs, as well as you and your needs. Our counselors are here to help you make the right choice. Our animal caregivers are familiar with each and every pet in the facility and are excited to share this information with you. We have visitation booths for “meet-and-greets”, as well as more open (but enclosed) areas for dog-dogs introductions. We ask that adopters be legal adults, with current identification and proof of residency where the pet will live and that renters provide proof of landlord approval. Pitbulls and pit mixes have special adoption requirements; please contact our main office at (775) 856-2000 for more information. | Adoption Page | TOP


How much does it cost to adopt?

Adoption fee includes spay/neuter, vaccines and a microchip. Click here for current adoption fees. | TOP


Do I need to license my dog?

All dogs over 4 months of age and residing in the congested areas of Washoe County are required to be licensed with Animal Services. Click here for licensing FAQs, forms and more.| TOP