General FAQ

SFAHS is an open-admission animal shelter -- what does that mean?
The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is an open-admission animal shelter. This means that we will not turn away any pet based on age, health issues or injuries, behavioral problems, or aggression. As an open-admission shelter, we provide a safe haven to animals who would have no other place to go. In the Sioux Falls area, SFAHS is the only organization to accept stray and unwanted pets of all species; a service that is much-needed to prevent neglect and unnecessary suffering. There is no time limit or pre-determined length of stay for any animal in our care, as well as no breed restriction for dogs; we keep every animal's individual needs in mind. The majority of pets are placed for adoption or transferred to another animal rescue when a pet's needs are different than what we are able to accommodate.  

Because we never turn our backs on an animal or deny any animal, humane euthanasia is present at our shelter, but only if a safe and humane solution can’t be reached.  We have a responsibility to the community to not adopt out animals who could be dangerous, and we have a duty to animals who are suffering to not prolong their mental, emotional or physical pain, even if that means the most humane option for that animal is to provide a dignified and humane end. Pets are always treated with kindness, dignity, and compassion.

How does being an open-admission shelter make SFAHS different?
While open-admission shelters like ours provide refuge to all animals at any time, many limited-admission animal groups pick and choose which pets they will admit. Some may refer to themselves as “limited-admission” because they do not accept animals who may be euthanized; many will also advertise they have a 99% placement rate because they are able to only accept animals that are adoption candidates and turn away those that may have mental, physical, or emotional issues and medical problems.

Open-admission shelters take in all animals, even those who have been refused by other shelters or rescue groups. And in every community, there are a number of pets who are not candidates for adoption due to medical issues, mental or emotional instability, or aggression.

As the area’s largest and only open-admission animal welfare organization, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society takes in more animals than any other organization in the area. Sadly, some of these animals are severely ill or injured, emotionally or mentally unstable, or have a temperament which makes them dangerous to place into a home. SFAHS will not place these animals for adoption. We have a responsibility to the community to not adopt animals who could be dangerous, and we have a duty to animals who are suffering to not prolong their mental, emotional, or physical pain.

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society's euthanasia rate has steadily declined over the past decade, and we continue to strive to reduce the number of animals who must be humanely euthanized. 

Doesn't accepting animals for any reason make it too easy to get rid of an animal?
We don't judge those that come to surrender their pets to SFAHS. While those that do surrender are typically stereotyped or labeled as irresponsible or careless, we have found that simply isn't true. In most surrender situations, the owners care very deeply about their pets and are trying to do the right thing. Some have realized their current situation is not best for them or their pets, some have fallen on hard times, and some have admitted they did not realize the large amount of responsibility that providing for a pet requires.
I don't support euthanasia, so how can I support you?
We do not support euthanasia either. It is never and will never be the first choice.

Until an entire community can meet the needs of every single pet, homeless or not, it will occur -- somewhere. Euthanasia is not the fault of any shelter, public or private.

A community cannot turn a blind eye to the homeless pet issues, responsible pet ownership issues, or unreputable breeders and then be upset when those animals end up in the shelter with aggression, severe emotional, mental, physical, or medical issues and need to have their suffering ended in a humane and dignified way. 

By supporting the Sioux Falls Area Humane society, you are supporting a humane community for animals. By getting involved now, you can help prevent future animals from becoming homeless, abused, or severely ill. We look to help the entire community to solve these problems -- not just those housed in our shelter. We continually strive to do what we can to save as many pets as possible, provide resources for pets in the shelter, and continue to improve the education and information available to the public. 

As an independent, non-profit organization that relies on donations to help thousands of animals each year, you make the great work we are able to do happen.
Why does SFAHS strive for community collaboration?

Despite the many labels for animal welfare organizations, we all share a common goal—to help as many homeless or abused pets as possible. No shelter or rescue group in a community works in a vacuum. In order to address the problem of homeless pets, we need all animal groups and people in the community to work together.

We partner with many local and regional rescues, local veterinarians and pet stores. And we look to you as a partner as well. When you get involved by making a donation, volunteer, foster or even attend an event, your support has a direct local impact for the animals in need and helps us make more community programs and education possible. 

When you share education and information about responsible pet ownership, when you adopt, or when you spay or neuter your pet, you are making a difference.

How are you affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States?
We are not affiliated with and receive no ongoing funding from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), or any other local, state or national organizations. Donations made to national groups are not dispersed to local shelters. If you wish to contribute to make an impact in your community directly, donate locally and directly though the shelter here.
How is SFAHS funded?

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is supported through the generosity of our community. We are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive regular funding from, any national animal welfare organization or any federal, state, or local government agencies. 

How do I donate?
Thank you for considering a donation to support our mission to be a safe haven and human voice for all animals in need at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. 

You can make an online donation here, mail a donation, or you may make a donation in person at our shelter. Our address is:
3720 East Benson Road
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

You can find more information about in-kind donations and other creative ways to support us in the "Donate" section of our website.
Does SFAHS spay/neuter every single animal?
As of the end of 2019, 99% of animals adopted out of the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is spayed or neutered before adoption, thanks to generous people who have donated towards this goal.
Does SFAHS offer microchipping?
Yes. Anyone in the public can come to the SFAHS Adoption Center to have their pet microchipped for just $20. No appointment is necessary to have your pet microchipped.

Every cat and dog that is adopted from the SFAHS is already microchipped.
Does SFAHS provide public vet services?
No, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is not able to provide public vet services.
Does SFAHS provide public spay/neuter services?
No, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is not able to provide public spay/neuter services.
Why can't I visit the animals without paperwork?
Our visitation policy went into effect in April of 2016 and we have seen major improvements in behavior and health of the animals that are available for adoption, due to decreased traffic. While you may assume decreased traffic is bad, it actually is better for the animals and those who are interested in adopting to have the ability to better see an animal's personality, making a better match for adoption. Our volunteers help provide daily socialization and interaction with every animal.
Am I obligated to adopt if I fill out pre-screen paperwork?
No, you are not obligated to adopt by filling out the paperwork. We will keep your application active for 30 days from your most recent visit. Should you not find the animal you are looking for in your first visit, you are more than welcome to come back and look again. You will not have to fill out new paperwork if your next visit is within the next 30 days.
I just want to walk dogs or cuddle cats. Can I do that?
If you would like to help socialize the animals, read over the requirements of becoming a volunteer and consider applying! We are always accepting new volunteers.
When did SFAHS change its visitation policy?
Our current visitation policy went into effect April of 2016.
Why did SFAHS change its visitation policy?
It is our mission to provide a safe haven and human voice for all animals in need. This is the only place some of these animals have ever found a warm spot to sleep, food to eat and loving hands to care for them.
We want to be sure they know they are safe and can trust humans.

We are there when they come into the shelter and try to learn as much as we can about them. We treat them as our own pets and love them unconditionally. We are there on their first day, when they may be cowering and unsure of their surroundings. We are there when they finally start to come out of their shell. And we are there to see their wagging tails and purrs when they find forever homes.

Whether they are here 10 minutes or 10 months, we try to show these animals compassion and we do not ever euthanize any animals for space or time concerns.

Our visitation policy is an extension of our attempt to make this a safe haven for the animals in our care. Since we have implemented this policy, our animals are at the front of their cages, ready to spend time with those who are looking to adopt, instead of hiding in the back, overwhelmed by all the faces at their cage during the day.

We have seen no decrease in adoptions due to this policy, but have seen a decrease in animals needing time away to relax from the stress. We've also seen a decrease in sick animals and returns after adoption.
How do you become a volunteer?
1. VOLUNTEER APPLICATION. Volunteer applications can be found at the front desk in the lobby of the SFAHS. You must fill out the application thoughtfully and in its entirety to be considered. You must be at least 16, be able to commit to 4 hours a month for at least 6 months. We do not offer court-ordered or diversion program volunteering.

2. PROCESSING & APPROVAL. Your application will be submitted to the volunteer coordinator for processing and approval. If you are approved, you will be contacted to set up a time to attend a volunteer orientation. If you are not approved, you will be contacted as well.  If you have not heard back about your application after 2-3 weeks, please reach out to our volunteer coordinator.

3. ORIENTATION. After your application has been approved, you will need to attend a volunteer orientation before you are able to start volunteering. This will give you the opportunity to hear more about the shelter, the volunteer program, and expectations, as well as a tour of the facility. You may only attend orientation if your application has been approved.  You will receive your name badge and your volunteer punch-in number at orientation.

4. VOLUNTEER! Welcome to the SFAHS Volunteer Program! If you have any questions while you are volunteering, we are here to answer those for you. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to staff and ask for help.
How do you become a foster?
1. FOSTER APPLICATION. Foster applications can be found at the front desk in the lobby of the SFAHS. You must fill out the application thoughtfully and in its entirety to be considered.

2. PROCESSING & APPROVAL. Your application will be submitted for processing and approval. If you are approved, you will be contacted. If you are not approved, you will be contacted as well.  If you have not heard back about your application after 2-3 weeks, please reach out. 

3. EMAIL LIST. After your application has been approved, you will be added to our foster email list. We also suggest you join our foster Facebook group, which you will be given the password to once approved. This is where we will reach out when we have a need for fosters. Our biggest need for fosters will be in spring and summer, but also ask for fosters in the fall and winter.
What is SFAHS Kids Club?
Be a part of the fun and learning at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society by becoming a member of our Kids Club! All children ages 5-11 are invited to join. You will get to participate in fun animal activities with our team of staff and volunteers. Regular playdates will be held so that you can meet the shelter’s staff and pets. Learn about animal safety, care and behavior and participate in fun craft projects and games!
How do I become a SFAHS Member?
To become a SFAHS member, please register here.
I want to visit with a school or other group. What do I do?
To schedule a tour or find out more, please fill out the tour form here.
What does a stray wait mean?
A stray wait is a hold that is placed on an animal that has come in as a stray animal. The length of the holds is determined by the city you live in, not by the humane society.  After a stray wait has been completed, if no one has claimed the pet as their own, it is signed over to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.

A stray wait is NOT how long an animal will be held before being euthanized; no animals are given pre-determined length of stays or time limits. The SFAHS will never euthanize an animal due to time restrictions, breed or length of stay.  If an animal does not meet our criteria for adoption, we may seek other alternatives including but not limited to transfer to another shelter or rescue, behavior modification intervention, and veterinary services.
I need to surrender my pet. What do I do?
Please call 605-338-4441 to make an appointment.
To make sure we are prepared for your pet's arrival and have the proper space for your pet,
appointments are required for surrendering your pet.
You must be 18 years of age and present a valid photo ID.
If you have multiple animals to surrender, we ask for a maximum of 4 animals to be brought in at one time from a single family.

For more information see the "Re-Home Your Pet" page.
My pet is missing, what should I do?
Please see our "My Pet Is Missing" page for steps on what to do. Make sure you fill out a Lost Report here.
Where do I file a lost report?
You can file a lost report online HERE. You may also file a lost report by calling 605-338-4441.
Where do I go to pick up my lost/missing pet?
If you live INSIDE Sioux Falls City Limits, you will need to go to the City Annex building next to the humane society. The building is in the same parking lot as our adoption center. Follow the parking lot to the West. The building says "City Annex" on it. 

If you live OUTSIDE Sioux Falls City Limits, you will need to come to the adoption center first before going to the City Annex building to identify your pet.
I found a stray after the SFAHS was closed. What do I do?
If you have found a stray animal after we have closed for the evening, or before 11am, you may bring them to the SFAHS Night Receiving Area which is just West of our front doors. This is a secure area with kennels and access to food and water. Please fill out the paperwork located in the night receiving area so we can know as much as possible about the animal, making it easier for us to reunite the animal with their rightful owner. For more information view our "I Found A Pet" page.
Why can't SFAHS release any information about pets that have been surrendered?
Every person who chooses to surrender their pets to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society signs a contract agreeing to sign over their legal right to their pet. That pet then becomes the legal property of the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. When that animal is adopted out, they become the legal pet of the person who adopted. Due to privacy laws, we cannot release any information after this contract is signed.
Why can't SFAHS release any information about pets that have been adopted?
When that animal is adopted out, they become the legal pet of the person who adopted. Due to privacy laws, we cannot release any information after this contract is signed. This is also for the confidentiality of the person who adopted the pet. 
Why can't SFAHS post photos on their social media of pets that come in as strays?

Animals that come in from inside the Sioux Falls city limits are the legal property of the Sioux Falls City Animal Control. While they are cared for by the SFAHS staff, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society has no legal ownership of them. Therefore, we cannot take photos and publicize them due to legal conflicts as well as privacy laws.

Animals that come in from outside the Sioux Falls city limits are the legal property of the SFAHS.  We cannot take photos and publicize them due to legal conflicts and privacy laws.

We also do not post photos of strays due to past occurrences of false claiming of pets.

If I found a pet can I keep it/adopt it?
If you are interested in adopting an animal you found, you must first bring it to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society so it can possibly be reunited with its rightful owner. You will be listed as an interested adopter. If no one claims the animal, you may proceed with adoption if your application is approved. Harboring a stray is illegal in the state of South Dakota.
I have an animal emergency who do I contact?

If you are having a veterinary emergency, please contact your personal vet, unless you are a SFAHS foster. Fosters please refer to your emergency numbers listed in your foster packet.  

If you have an animal emergency INSIDE Sioux Falls City limits please call City Animal Control at 605-367-7000.

If you have an animal emergency OUTSIDE Sioux Falls City limits please call SFAHS Humane Officers at 605-254-4058.


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