Report Cruelty

Our Mission. Who We Are.

The mission of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area, Inc. is to build a better community for pets and people through compassion, protection, education, and collaboration. 

Our Numbers

Animals Assisted Each Year

Animal In Our Care At Any Given Time

People Served in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties


Many community members who have never visited our shelter may not realize the extent of HSHA’s reach in our community and the sheer volume of animals that we care for.  The following statistics frequently help to put our services in perspective.

  • The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area assists over 10,000 animals a year through our residential care and adoption program, low-cost veterinary clinics, pet food bank, and counseling services.
  • At any given time, there can be close to 500 animals under our care.
  • HSHA serves Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry Counties– an area of more than 500,000 people.
  • The shelter employs over 50 full-time and part-time employees, most of whom work directly with the animals, and operates within a $2.4 million budget.


HSHA is funded solely by the community and could not fulfill our mission without the community’s support.  Many community members are surprised to find that we are supported locally, without national affiliation.

  • HSHA is not a government agency.
  • We are not affiliated with or funded by any national animal welfare organizations, such as the Humane Society of the United States or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (this is because these organizations do not act as umbrella organizations).
  • We rely solely on the community for donations.
  • HSHA contracts with local municipalities to take in stray animals from those municipalities.  The contract fee does not produce a profit for us, but rather simply covers our costs for caring for the stray animals.  The fee is based on the number of animals coming in from each municipality.
  • We hold three signature fundraising events each year: the Penguin Plunge (City Island, January 1), 5K Run/Walk for the Animals (May), Fur Ball Gala & Auction (November).


HSHA not only helps pets but also helps people through our various programs and services.  Each program and service is designed to fill a need in our community, and many of them are targeted toward specific audiences, such as low-income pet owners.  Others are focused on providing quality care for our shelter residents. 

  • Veterinary Resource Center. We offer low-cost vaccinations and microchipping, spaying and neutering for dogs as well as for both owned and feral cats.  In addition we offer illness assessment and treatment options, diagnostic capabilities, dental services, surgical services, and x-rays.
  • Cruelty Investigations. HSHA’s Humane Police Officers investigate more than 4,000 complaints of animal cruelty annually.  When necessary, officers remove animals that are being abused and prosecutes their abusers.
  • Humane Education Programs. Ensuring a humane community tomorrow means educating the community today.  Our staff regularly visits schools, youth groups, nursing homes, and other community groups to teach about the functions of a Humane Society and responsible pet ownership.
  • Pet Ownership Support Programs. In addition to services offered at the Veterinary Resource Center, we also offer other services to assist people with their pets such as low cost euthanasia and cremation services, as well as lost and found service to reunite owners with lost pets.  Moreover our Pet Food Bank assists members of the community struggling to feed their pets through our free pet food bank and our SafeHaven Program is available for those domestic violence victims who flee their homes with pets.  The program provides 30 days of free housing and care for the pet until the owner is able to get back on his/her feet. This program has also been expanded over the years to include temporary housing services for victims of fire, natural disaster or temporary homelessness.

Help Us in Our Mission

The mission of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area, Inc. is to build a better community for pets and people through compassion, protection, education, and collaboration


Does HSHA only adopt out cats and dogs?

While most of our adoptions are cats and dogs, we also shelter “pocket pets,” such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, and birds.  In addition we adopt horses and a menagerie of farm animals. If you are interested in adopting a pocket pet, equine or farm animal. Please email or call our Adoption Center to see what animals are available.

Why doesn’t HSHA call itself a no-kill shelter?

Within our community, and communities around the country, the phrase “no-kill” is a popular buzzword used to describe animal shelters.  The phrase has varying definitions, and is frequently misinterpreted as referring to a shelter that never euthanizes animals. HSHA has chosen instead to not hide behind the vague and sometimes misleading “no-kill” moniker.  Instead, HSHA is very clear about exactly what our policy is: we do not euthanize adoptable animals due to lack of space or length of stay. Unlike some shelters that turn away unadoptable animals, HSHA accepts a wide range of animals, regardless of breed, temperament, or medical condition.  Moreover, HSHA reserves euthanasia for those animals that are medically or behaviorally unsound and are not able to be adopted. HSHA is committed to continue keeping adoptable animals at our shelter until they find a home. However, as an organization that relies solely on donations to accomplish our mission, we also need the commitment of the community.

Does HSHA only have pit bulls available for adoption?

While many shelters turn away or euthanize pit bulls, HSHA does not believe in discrimination of any kind and we pride ourselves on being an advocate for the breed. Many of HSHA’s canines are pit bulls or a pit bull mix because portions of our service area produce an overabundance of this breed.  However, many of our resident canines are not pit bulls. We encourage anyone interested in adopting to take the time come to the shelter to meet all of our wonderful residents.

Why doesn’t the Humane Society take strays from some municipalities?

Some municipalities choose not to contract with HSHA for residential care services for stray animals found within their municipality. Thus, HSHA is unable to take in strays from these areas because we do not receive support from the municipality to care for these animals. If a citizen from a non-participating municipality is willing to pay the intake fee, and there is space available in the shelter, we may be able to accept the animal. HSHA encourages citizens in non-participating municipalities to urge their municipality to participate. Click here for help. 

There are stray pets in my neighborhood. Can you come pick them up?

HSHA is unable to pick up stray animals.  Many municipalities have an animal control officer to pick up animals and others utilize local law enforcement.  Check with your municipality in what services are available in your area.

What is the Humane Society's policy on feral cats?

HSHA does not accept feral cats to be euthanized. The organization only accepts feral cats to be altered and returned to the place from which they came (known as “Trap-Neuter-Return” or “TNR”). In order to receive a FREE Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) surgery for a feral cat, you must obtain a TNR Voucher from the municipality in which you reside. Only municipalities that contract with HSHA for services will have these vouchers to distribute. Each municipality will also determine how many vouchers may be distributed per individual. To find out if your municipality contracts with HSHA for services and if they are distributing TNR vouchers, contact your municipality.  Citizens who do not have access to TNR Vouchers may continue to participate in HSHA’s TNR Program on a paid basis. Costs are $45 for a neuter and $65 for a spay, plus additional costs for FeLV/FIV testing and basic vaccinations. An appointment is required for TNR services (regardless of whether you have a voucher). To schedule an appointment, please call HSHA at (717) 564-3320 and follow the recorded prompts.