Dane County Humane Society

Madison, Wisconsin

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About Dane County Humane Society

Dane County Humane Society is a non-profit, community-supported organization in Madison, Wisconsin. Their open admission policy and adoption guarantee means that all healthy or treatable animals are taken in until a new loving home can be found.

The society was founded in 1921, when Ida Kittleson, wife of Madison’s Mayor, began to house lost and abandoned animals in the basement of their home. Dane County Humane Society is now the second-largest shelter in Wisconsin, caring for over 9,000 animals annually. Over 800 dedicated staff work endlessly to provide care, safety, and comfort to all those who come through their doors: 4,000 of which are wild and farm animals!

Their mission is threefold:

  • Foster compassionate connections between humans and animals
  • Educate the public and wider community
  • Ensure the welfare of all animals in their care

Contact Info

5132 Voges Rd
(608) 838-0413
Website: giveshelter.org

Hours of Operation

Mon - Fri: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Wed: Closed

Adoption Process

Begin by browsing their website's gallery to see if you can spot your new best friend.

Next, call the adoption center to make an appointment for a visit. Over the phone, an adoption counselor will discuss your preferences, experience, and home environment to help find the right pet for you.

On the day of your appointment at the shelter, you’ll have the opportunity to meet any animals that could be a potential match. Medical and behavioral needs will be discussed in detail to make sure you're aware of all the responsibilities of caring for your new pet. Dane County Humane Society's adoption counselors are extremely supportive and will work closely with you to find the perfect companion.

It’s also possible to take your new friend home on the same day! The shelter will even provide a small amount of pet food to get you started.

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees at Dane County Humane Society are as follows:


Dog adoption fees are on a sliding scale, according to health, behavior, and length of stay at the shelter.

  • Puppies (up to 1 year old): $350-$450
  • Adults (1-6 years): $250-$350
  • Seniors (7+ years): $250 or less


  • Kittens (up to 5 months): $125
  • Pair of kittens: $200
  • Young adults (6-12 months): $80
  • Adults (1-7 years): $60
  • Pair of adults: $90
  • Seniors (7+ years): $30

Your adoption fee for dogs and cats covers spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations, flea and tick treatment, heartworm testing (for dogs), and any other necessary veterinary care.


  • Canaries: $40
  • Cockatiels/lovebirds: $55
  • Conures: $100
  • Doves/finches: $10
  • Parakeets: $15

Small Mammals

  • Rabbits: $60
  • Chinchillas/ferrets/hedgehogs: $75
  • Gerbils/hamsters/rats: $10
  • Guinea pigs: $20
  • Mice: $5
  • Sugar gliders: $100

Reptiles & Fish

  • Iguana: $35
  • Tarantulas: $25
  • Fish/snakes/turtles/geckos: varies by species

Barnyard Animals

  • Roosters: no fee
  • Chickens/ducks/geese: $5
  • Turkeys/peacocks: $25
  • Goats/sheep/pigs: $50
  • Cattle/llamas/alpacas: $100
  • Horses: $200-$800

Adoption Process & Fees

Our writing team is hard at work researching this shelter's adoption process and fees, so this page will be updated soon!

In the meantime, here's some nice-to-know info that applies to nearly every animal shelter, humane society, and rescue.

Why Rescue A Shelter Dog?

Because shelter dogs are full of love!

Is it because they know you saved them and love you harder for it?

I can't say for certain, but yes.

Jokes aside, there are three things all shelter dogs need to thrive in their new home:

  1. Love
  2. Patient
  3. Training

Older shelter dogs, generally 1+ years old, may have experienced a lot of trauma, which often results in one of 8 common behavioral issues:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Aggression toward people & pets
  3. Resource guarding
  4. Destructive behavior
  5. Housetraining regression
  6. Poor social skills
  7. Leash reactivity & barrier-related aggression
  8. Constant whining

These issues are correctable! Your dog isn't broken, they're just damaged. You can fix them with enough love, patience, and a good training plan.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, finding good dog trainers can be hard. Like everything else, dog training is moving only. but there are great online dog trainers that are proven to work and can help get your new pup on the right path.

Animal Shelter vs Humane Society vs Rescue: What's the Difference?

You can learn a lot about an animal welfare organization just by looking at their name.

Animal Shelters

  • Most Animal Shelters are city or county-run organizations, often operated by the local Animal Control department, that manage strays and handle owner surrenders.
  • They usually have kennel facilities you can visit to adopt animals, and they usually have less stringent adoption requirements, lower adoption fees, and same-day adoptions (because their goal is to get animals out of the shelter).
  • Unfortunately, they usually know very little about each animal, including their true personalities and any behavioral problems.

Humane Societies

  • Most Humane Societies are non-profit organizations, many of which are no-kill shelters.
  • Some (but not all) are affiliated with The Humane Society of the United States.
  • They exist to improve animal welfare in the local community and often partner with city or county-run Animal Shelters that often euthanize animals due to capacity restraints.
  • They usually have kennel facilities, sometimes at multiple locations, and usually offer other services to the community such as low-cost spay/neuter clinics, community education programs, and more.
  • They may also have some animals in foster care.
  • There's a lot of variation in process and fees among Humane Societies, but they usually have really good websites that detail everything for you.


  • Most Rescues are foster-based organizations that don't have physical facilities.
  • They usually have websites and contact emails, but not all of them have phone numbers.
  • Because they don't have a physical facility, you need to view animals in their foster network online, usually on their website but sometimes on their member pages on either PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet.
  • If you see an animal you'd like to meet, contact the rescue using the process listed on their website or via email. They'll help you through the application process and set up a time for you to meet the animal at the foster's home.
  • Adopting from a rescue generally is the most expensive option here and takes the longest, but you get an animal that's been cared for in a loving home environment and their foster can tell you a lot about their personality.

6 Tips to Improve Your Adoption Experience

Adoption processes vary drastically from organization to organization, but here are some general tips that apply in most instances. Note that we'll use the term "shelters" here for simplicity but it includes all types of rescue organizations.

  1. See an animal online that you'd like to meet? Call the shelter before your visit to make sure the animal is still available. This especially applies for puppies, which are adopted out quickly.
  2. Usually, you'll need to get some paperwork in order: a photo ID, vaccination/medical records for any pets you currently have, possibly your vet's contact info and a couple of personal references, and (for renters) proof you're allowed to have a pet (copy of your lease or your landlord's contact info).
  3. If you need to provide contact info for your vet, let your vet know ahead of time. Otherwise, they may not release your information.
  4. Many shelters require your current dogs to meet adoptive dogs. Your current dogs need to be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  5. Some shelters require you to schedule a home visit to ensure a suitable living environment for the new animal.
  6. Adoption fees may seem excessive, but they're actually amazing values. Truthfully, caring for a pet is expensive. Most adoption fees include required medical care to get the animal ready for their new home including (but not limited to) spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, general vet exams, flea/tick treatment, deworming, heartworm testing/treatment for dogs, and feline leukemia and feline AIDS testing/treatment for cats. In general, your adoption fee is less than the cost of this care, so you're saving money in addition to your new animal's life!

If you have any questions about adopting an animal (what you'll need, what to expect, etc.) feel free to contact the PetLists team!

For more information about what's included in your adoption fee, or any other questions about the adoption process, reach out to
Dane County Humane Society
directly using the contact info above.

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All information on this page is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge. If you spot an error, please contact us using our contact form.
Note: Hours of operation and other information on this page are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.