Willamette Humane Society

Salem, Oregon

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About Willamette Humane Society

Willamette Humane Society is an independent, non-profit organization that was founded in 1965.

Generous donations keep the center alive and enable the charity to continue their amazing work. Based in Salem, they shelter up to 10,000 animals each year from the Marion and Polk county areas.

Williamette Humane Society is an excellent organization to adopt from if you're a first-time adopter and a little nervous about the process. The center is super supportive and offers pre- and-post adoption consultations as well as a telephone helpline.

The shelter focuses on rehoming abandoned cats and dogs. They don't take in or rehome other types of animals, but always are happy to refer you to facilities that can or offer advice whenever possible.

In addition to their rehoming program, the Willamette Humane Society operates several other programs for the community:

  • Lost and found pet service
  • Dog training
  • Spay and neuter clinic
  • Animal helpline
  • Humane end-of-life services

Their dedicated staff is passionate about promoting the welfare of domestic animals through education and direct action. Their aim is to place each pet in the best care possible by matching them with their perfect family or individual.

Contact Info

4246 Turner Rd SE
(503) 585-5900
Website: willamettehumanesociety.org

Hours of Operation

Mon, Thu, Fri: 12:00 pm - 17:00 pm
Sat, Sun: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Tue, Wed: Closed

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!

Adoption Process

The shelter invites you to view all the adoptable animals on their website before visiting the center in person to find your new friend for life! They also encourage calling the shelter if you have any questions about a specific animal or would like to find out more about the adoption process.

You can pop-in without an appointment. Their wonderful staff will be delighted to help you find the pet that suits your needs and lifestyle best. The organization also uses a “family rating system” to help identify which pets are most suitable around small children.  

When you've found your perfect companion, an Adoptions Specialist will discuss the pet’s history with you, including any behavioral or medical needs. It's important to take these into account before committing to the adoption.

Once you're good to go, their staff will be only too happy to help kit you out with any supplies you need from their on-site shop. They also offer post-adoption support through their telephone hotline and canine behavior training classes.

Adoption Fees


  • Puppies: Start at $125 (rare shelter breeds up to $500)
  • Adults: Start at $100 (rare shelter breeds up to $400)
  • Seniors (7+ years): Start at $60


  • Kittens (2-6 months): $125
  • Juveniles (7-12 months): $75
  • Adults (1-7 years): $50
  • Seniors (7+ years): $25
  • Special needs (FIV+ or others): $25
  • Barn cats: Free
  • Desirable breeds: Base adoption price + $25
  • Hospice: Free

Your adoption fee covers a veterinary examination, microchipping and inclusion in the national registration database, spaying/neutering, temporary collar/leash, first vaccinations, deworming, a free trial for 24PetWatch insurance, and a voucher for NutriSource pet food.

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

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You can also go back to our listing of all 50 states to find shelters elsewhere in the US.
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.