Wisconsin Humane Society

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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About Wisconsin Humane Society

Wisconsin Humane Society was founded in 1879 and has been saving the lives of animals in desperate need for over 140 years. They're a private, non-profit organization and the largest animal rescue organization in Wisconsin with 5 separate campuses:

  • Milwaukee: 4500 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208
  • Ozaukee: 630 West Dekora Street, Saukville, Wisconsin 53080
  • Racine: 8900 16th Street, Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin 53177
  • Door County: 3475 Park Drive, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
  • Green Bay: 1830 Radisson Street, Green Bay, WI 54302

Each year they take in over 40,000 animals in need of medical attention, love, and rehoming. Receiving no government funding, they rely heavily on kind donations to continue their crucial work.

The shelter’s vision is to create a community where animals are treated with the respect and kindness they deserve. In addition to finding 13,000 animals new families through adoption every year, the shelter offers the following specialized services:

  • Low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics
  • Trap-Neuter-Return program for wild cats
  • Pet food bank
  • Youth programs that teach compassion, care, and respect for animals
  • Outreach programs for under-served areas
  • Fostering for animals in violent homes
  • Training courses for dogs and puppies
  • A Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which helps 5,000 animals annually

By working closely with the community, the Wisconsin Humane Society aims to reduce the number of healthy animals needlessly euthanized each year. There's no time limit as to how long a pet can stay at the shelter. Their staff is committed to finding pets as many loving forever homes as possible, where true peace and happiness can be found.

Contact Info

4500 W Wisconsin Ave
(414) 264-6257
Website: wihumane.org

Hours of Operation

Varies by location

Adoption Process

No appointment is necessary to visit the shelter. There could be a short wait when you arrive to speak to an Adoption Counselor and meet the animals, so plan accordingly.

If you'd like to speed up the process, you can create an Adopter Profile in advance, which is found on their website. This isn't an application but will be used as a guide to find the best match for you.

The shelter operates on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you spot a lucky animal on their website who you'd love to adopt, be sure to get there ASAP!

It's possible to meet, adopt, and take your new pal home on the same day. From start to finish, the process can take as little as 1 hour. You'll need to complete some paperwork and pay the appropriate fee before the adoption can be finalized. Remember to bring a valid photo ID and proof of address.

All cats must be taken away in a carrier and dogs on a leash. The shelter has both items available for purchase in their retail store.

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees at the Wisconsin Humane Society are as follows:


  • Puppies/adults: $25-$449


  • Kittens (up to 1 year): $99-$199
  • Adults (1+ year): Name your own fee

Other Small Animals

  • Species vary: Up to $75 (for some, name your own fee)

Wisconsin Humane Society offers a 10% military discount on adoption fees with valid proof of service.

Your adoption fee covers spaying/neutering, up-to-date vaccinations, microchipping, a complimentary post-adoption veterinary visit, and a starter bag of Hill's Science Diet food.

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
Wisconsin 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.