To promote the humane treatment and responsible care of animals in West Michigan through education, example, placement & protection.
Our vision is to build a more compassionate community where all animals are given the care they deserve.
Our Values and Beliefs
Managed Admissions Policy
Humane Society of West Michigan manages animal admissions coming into our shelter. This means that we mindfully balance the number of animals we intake in order to continue providing the best care and shelter for our current animals. This admission policy requires the public to schedule an appointment in order to surrender their owned animals to make sure that we have proper space available. This policy is based solely on space capacity and our goal to provide quality care without overcrowding. Our staff is dedicated to finding homes for all of our adoptable animals and this is only possible by limiting the number of animals admitted to the shelter.
Best Care Standards
We provide humane and responsible care for all animals and facilitate placement to appropriate homes.
Collaboration Brings Results
We cannot achieve our vision on our own. It requires collaboration with animal welfare organizations and other community partners in order to achieve our common goals.
Education Changes Behavior
Education directed toward an understanding of responsible pet care; the pet overpopulation problem; the need to spay and neuter pets can change citizen behavior over time.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We at Humane Society of West Michigan believe that we are better together, not only for the animals in our care, but also for the humans within our walls and the community we serve. Our goal is to become an example of change by building a culture where our staff and volunteers can bring their whole, honest, unique selves together for the animals we serve every day. We also hope to have a positive ripple effect within the West Michigan community that we support. Our commitment to further advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, in all facets, is something we aspire to do each and every day.
Humane Society of West Michigan has a long history of promoting humane treatment and responsible care of animals in West Michigan. The organization was originally known as Humane Society of Kent County, and was first organized in 1883 by a group of citizens who shared a concern about abused, neglected and homeless animals.
This compassionate group housed the animals in their homes and veterinary clinics until the first shelter was built in 1944. Due to a fire at this first shelter, the Humane Society moved in 1969 to 1890 Bristol Road NW in Grand Rapids. This move was a major step forward for homeless animals and the Humane Society as it provided significant improvements in its ability to serve as a haven for neglected, abused, and unwanted companion animals.
February 2001 brought an equally important move to a new, larger facility at 3077 Wilson Drive NW in Grand Rapid, HSWM's currently location. Sitting on 28 acres in a 21,500 square foot facility, the shelter was generously funded by individual and corporate donors.
In 2015, the Cattery Enrichment Project was completed, benefiting the healthy and happiness of our cat populations. With the amazing support of Cathy and Mark Bissell and a number of awesome donors, an additional 500 square feet were added to the cattery, two more cattery living spaces were created in our lobby, a window placed in cat holding, and larger cages were installed for our cats in the medical room.
Humane Society of West Michigan is serving Kent County, other counties in Michigan, and other states overpopulated with companion animals in need of homes. We are our area’s leading animal welfare organization, with a vision to build a healthy, safe, and compassionate community where all animals receive the care they deserve. Through education, example, placement, and protection, we strive to provide companion pets and those that care for them with education, expertise, and resources to ensure the highest quality care for our region’s animals. Demand for our services continues to grow at a high rate.
In partnership with over 300 active community volunteers, we are:
Passionate about animals and their care
Committed to ending pet overpopulation
Dedicated to placing homeless animals in permanent homes
Advocates for the protection of animals
Our area’s foremost educator of children and adults with regard to humane animal treatment
Focused on behavior training and support for adopters by way of behavior consultations, behavior classes, and a dedicated behavior department
Vigilant about ending pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering shelter animals and we provide the best medical and behavioral shelter care possible.
With a dedicated staff of 45 part time and full time employees, and an annual budget entirely supported by charitable gifts from our community we work tirelessly to attend to the animals entrusted to our care. We are distinct from other regional animal organizations in that we:
Do not euthanize animals based on space or time considerations
Provide a full range of educational programs for the public
Provide exceptional shelter care
Have a dedicated and expansive Animal Behavior Department with trainers and staff who not only provide animals with nutrition, exercise and love, but also enrichment plans to help animals manage shelter stress (most shelters do not have behavior staff who are trained in animal behavior).
With over 135 years of service to our community, we are proud of the support for our shelter animals from local foundations, businesses, families and individuals.
At Humane Society of West Michigan, we feel strongly that we want to be an open book to any donor, potential donor, or other interested party. Below are financial and informational publications for your review. Should you want to know more about HSWM or want to be added to our mailing list, please call 616-453-8900.