Humane Society Silicon Valley | FAQs
Humane Society Silicon Valley
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Got a question? Read HSSV’s Frequently Asked Questions to get answers about our medical, pet and adoption services offering around Silicon Valley.

Q: How many animals does Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) assist?

A: HSSV’s shelter program and Medical Services programs assisted more than 16,700 animals in 2014. Learn more about our annual progress.

Q: What programs and services does HSSV offer?

A: HSSV offers the following programs and services.

  • Adoptions
  • Shelter care and emergency treatment for stray/abandoned animals
  • Affordable spaying/neutering, vaccinations, testing, microchipping
  • Foster care
  • Dog Park and training center
  • Humane, compassionate euthanasia
  • Education outreach programs for children, teens, and families
  • Pet loss support group
  • Whole Pets Supply Store


Q. When was HSSV established?

A: HSSV was established in 1929. Since that time, we have found loving homes for more than 500,000 animals.

Q. How is HSSV funded and governed?

A: HSSV is an independent, non-profit organization supported by individual donations, program fees, special events, and foundation and corporate grants. The agency is governed by a volunteer board of directors, which oversees an annual operating budget of about $9 million.

Q: How many employees and volunteers does HSSV have?

A: HSSV has approximately 100 employees and 1,138 active volunteers.

Q: What cities do you provide animal sheltering services for?

A: HSSV provides shelter services for the city of Sunnyvale. We receive stray, sick, injured, and dead animals picked up by animal control in this city.

Q: Do you accept owner-surrendered animals?

A: HSSV accepts owner surrendered cats, dogs, and rabbits by appointment only. All surrendered animals are assessed by our medical and behavioral experts for our adoption program. If they do not meet our requirements, then every attempt is made to find the animal a home either through a rescue group or other shelter.

Q: What is the difference between the Humane Society and the S.P.C.A?

A: The names generally mean the same thing, but all S.P.C.A.s and Humane Societies are separate non-profit agencies. For example, the Humane Society of the United States does not have any authority or connection with HSSV. We all operate independently.

Q: How many animals do you adopt out monthly?

A: More than 300 animals a month are adopted into new homes or placed with specific rescue organizations.

Q: How much does it cost to adopt a pet?

A: Adoption charges are $175 for cats and dogs, and $70 for rabbits. The fee covers spaying/neutering, initial vaccinations, de-worming for animals under four months of age, microchipping, ID tags, a professional health examination, and behavior evaluation. All adopted pets are eligible for a free examination at a local VCA Hospital.

Q: Why should I pay to adopt an animal at the shelter when I can get one for free?

A: Our goal is to be the best place to adopt a pet. When you adopt from our shelter, you meet with an adoption counselor who knows each of our animals' history and can match you with the pet that best suits you & your family. Your pet receives a behavior and medical evaluation, vaccinations, is spayed or neutered, and microchipped. Therefore, the cost of the services you and your pet receive actually totals much more than $175. And, by adopting from our shelter, you not only save the life of that animal, you support our services so that we can continue to care for the other homeless pets in Silicon Valley.

Q: Is Humane Society Silicon Valley a no-kill shelter?

A: Yes, we are aligned with the no-kill philosophy and our mission is to save as many animals as possible in our community. We do not euthanize for time or space. We save over 95% of animals in our care, which is well above the threshold considered for being a no kill shelter and we meet the programmatic guidelines put forth by the No Kill Advocacy Center.

It is important to note that there is quite a bit of misunderstanding around the term "no kill" with the general public. As a result, we do not routinely use this language because it suggests, and many people assume, that absolutely no euthanasia occurs. Specifically in cases where an animal is gravely ill, suffering and not treatable, or if the safety of people and/or other animals is at risk, we do humanely euthanize an animal.

We believe in transparency around our data. For detailed data on animal intake and save rates, please visit our Asilomar Reports page.

Q: How long do you keep the animals before you euthanize them?

A: Our goal is to ensure that every animal in our adoption program is placed in a loving home. If an animal is healthy and behaviorally sound, we care for that animal until we find it a home. We never euthanize for time or space. Our staff and volunteers socialize and exercise our animals to help keep them happy and well-adjusted during their stay at the shelter.

Q: Do you have legal holding times for animals that are brought into your shelter?

A: Yes, state law governs legal holding periods for shelter animals. The legal times are as follows:

  • Stray cats with identification: 10 days
  • Stray cats without identification: 72 hours
  • Feral cats: 72 hours
  • Stray dogs with identification: 10 days
  • Stray dogs without identification: 5 days
  • Surrendered cats and dogs: no holding period
  • Wildlife: no holding period

Please note that HSSV does everything possible to reunite animals brought to the shelter bearing ID. During the 10-day holding period, staff makes every attempt to locate the owner and inform them that we have their pet.

Q: Is your Medical Center open to the public?

A: Our Medical Center specializes in affordable spay/neuter services to the public. We also offer affordable vaccinations, microchipping, testing and flea control.

Q: Do you have a pet store at the shelter? What does it sell and where do the profits go?

A: Yes, our Whole Pets Store specializes in nutrition and humane training products. The store features a complete line of high-quality pet foods, an extensive line of attractive collars and leashes, humane training toys, and animal enrichment products as well as some novelty items. All proceeds directly support the shelter animals and help first-time adopters start off on the right paw.