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Washington Humane Society
Washington Humane Society

The Washington Humane Society (WHS), the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, has been the area’s leading voice for animals since 1870. As the open-access shelter in the Nation’s Capital, the Washington Humane Society provides comfort and care to nearly 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering, adoption, spay and neuter, CatNiPP, Humane Law Enforcement, lost and found, human–animal therapy programs and Humane Education.

Charted by Congress 140 years ago, WHS established the city’s first public housing facility for stray and unwanted animals.  A year later, WHS pioneered the creation of the District’s first ever animal cruelty law and for a period of time in the late 1800s, WHS also was given the power to investigate cases of child abuse.

Throughout the years, the organization has helped spearhead new legislation to protect the animals that live in the nation’s capital. In the 1960s and 70s, WHS helped DC create laws to prevent animal hoarding, and better health standards for pet shops and medical research clinics.  

In 2001, after years of upholding and enforcing District animal cruelty laws, WHS was successful in its campaign to make animal cruelty a felony level crime.  Just months after the law was enacted, a man was convicted of felony animal cruelty in Washington, DC and was put behind bars for two years for stabbing and killing his pet dog.

WHS operates two shelter locations; our private shelter at 7319 Georgia Avenue, as well as the District of Columbia Animal Care and Control Facility (under contract by the Department of Health) at 1201 New York Avenue.  In addition to the two animal shelters, WHS operates a low-cost, high-volume spay and neuter facility.  The National Capital Area Spay & Neuter Center serves the entire Washington, DC metro area and is located at 1001 L Street, NE, in the heart of Capitol Hill. WHS also has a new animal training facility called the Behavior and Learning Center, located at 7315 Georgia Avenue, NW.

The organization’s administrative offices are located at 4590 Macarthur Boulevard, NW. 

WHS has nearly 100 dedicated employees, 21 distinguished members on the Board of Directors and more than 300 active volunteers.