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Mission & History

Mission & history


Berkeley Humane serves the people and animals of our community by providing life-saving programs for cats and dogs, cultivating compassion, and strengthening the human-animal bond.


Because the well-being of animals reflects the well-being of our community, we engage minds, hearts and hands to provide care for dogs and cats in the East Bay.


Respect, Care & Community.


In 1927, three concerned citizens formed the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society, originally named "Animal Rescue Haven," at the corner of Ninth and Carleton Streets to rescue homeless animals in Alameda County. As the needs of the community's animals shifted throughout subsequent decades, education programs, community pet support programs and a veterinary hospital were added. Berkeley Humane closed the veterinary practice to the public in early 2009 to focus on providing medical care exclusively for shelter dogs and cats, making it the first veterinary hospital in the East Bay to serve only homeless animals.

In the 1970s, the Board of Directors committed to a revolutionary adoption guarantee model: that no healthy or treatable shelter animals in the Society's care would be euthanized. This commitment set the stage for Berkeley Humane placing 100% of healthy and treatable animals into loving homes for nearly forty years, a commitment that awarded Berkeley Humane and partner organizations the prestigious Maddie's Fund Lifesaving Award in 2009.

From our humble beginnings in a renovated former pool hall in West Berkeley, Berkeley Humane continues to expand and adapt the services of the organization to meet the ongoing needs of the community's animals and their human guardians. Berkeley Humane's work would not be possible without its strong partnerships with local animal welfare groups and the support from animal-loving friends who share the Society's vision. Today, Berkeley Humane has thousands of supporters and volunteers, and remains steadfast in its practices to curb pet overpopulation in the East Bay and give pet guardians the tools they need to ensure that their pets remain happy and healthy in their homes for the rest of their lives.

Despite a major fire that destroyed the Adoption Center on May 20, 2010, Berkeley Humane remains fully committed to its mission and vision. Our programs are in full operation and we continue to provide critical services to our community every day. We are fortunate to be working with a talented team of professionals, including Noll & Tam Architects and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, to design the most efficient new building possible on the site of our current hospital and fire-damaged shelter. The process from start to finish will take a few years, and we will have to be patient. But we know that when it's done, we will have a beautiful, state-of-the-art shelter where animals will receive the best care and highest standards of welfare possible, and where community members will find the love and companionship of a new pet. In the meantime we continue doing what we've always done--serve the animals and people of Berkeley and the East Bay with vital services that last year alone matched over 930 animals with loving families and individuals.

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