“Things aren’t like they used to be here.”

Every change we’ve made has been for the sake of our animals and the safety of our community, our staff included. 


Why can’t I go in the dog room anymore?

Starting on March 20, 2020 the Copper Country Humane Society implemented a new policy about the way we allow visitors to interact with shelter dogs. We no longer allow anyone but staff to enter the dog room. When you arrive at the shelter, there will be books up front with photos and bios of our current dogs available for adoption. If you are a dog walker, you are more than welcome to look at the book and let staff know which dog you’d like to walk, or you can let us choose for you, though when we are very busy we will remove the book and select dogs for walkers. If you are looking for a new forever friend to adopt, you can look at the photos and let us know who you are interested in meeting or if you’ve already seen a dog online, you can ask us about that dog.

There are some very important reasons for these changes:

  1. Most importantly, less stress on our dogs! The animals are why we are here. Their physical, mental and emotional health is very, very important to us. We get anywhere from 50-150 visitors during each open shift. Can you imagine that many people staring at you? Well, many of our dogs don’t like it. We have put signs up asking people not to stand in front of certain kennels, yet still we catch people teasing dogs, taking videos of very stressed out dogs leaping off the walls of their kennel and so on. What not everyone understands is that these behaviors can get worse over time, especially when encouraged by the observer who is laughing, mocking, barking back, etc. Stressed out dogs can start to have increasingly worse behavioral issues, and this makes it more difficult for them to be adopted. Unfortunately, stressed out and anxious dogs can also turn into aggressive dogs. Dogs have big teeth! We like to keep them in their mouth and off our skin.
  2. More communication! Talking about the dogs we have and what you are looking for leads to a much better understanding of what you need, your expectations, what the dog’s needs are and leading you to the best match for your home. If you are looking for a dog to be a couch potato, it’s unreasonable to expect a young, spunky and energetic dog to be your perfect companion.
  3. Giving dogs a chance that otherwise wouldn’t have one! So many times people go in the dog area and come back up front telling us how mean or aggressive some of the dogs are. That is so far from the truth! They are not mean at all, but have barrier reactivity. This is stress-induced behavior. These dogs will have a much better chance at being adopted by being seen one-on-one without immediate judgment based on how they act in a kennel. Those dogs deserve the best forever homes as well as the ones that are calmer in the kennels, and this will give them the best opportunity to find that home.
  4. Safety. No matter how many times we tell people, no matter how many signs we put up, people will still open kennels and go into areas where they are not allowed. This can be a safety and disease control issue. 

Thank you for your understanding and support as we continue to strive to always do the best we can for our shelter dogs and cats.

Why is the cat room by appointment?

In 2020 we had to start limiting the number of people allowed in the cat room for obvious reasons. It had another amazing effect for the cats: much less stress! When there are a lot of people in the cat room, the number of fights, grumbles, and amount of sass was so much worse. Now that we have limited the number of people in the cat room, they are so much happier. It also helps show their personalities better when they aren’t overwhelmed by so many people. It also makes the staff’s life much easier in talking to potential adopters and volunteers about certain cats. 

Why can’t I take a pet home the day I apply?

Occasionally this is possible, especially if you already have an approved application, but if it is your first time coming to the shelter and you haven’t applied, we will need time to process your application. This is for your AND the pet’s sake. We want to get to know a little about you to know which of our dogs would best fit you. We also want to ensure our animals go to good homes, so we check with references. If you rent, we also like to confirm that you are allowed to have a pet there, as it seems silly to adopt them out only to come back. This process takes us some time. We know people are so excited to take home a new pet, but we have a process that has served us well, and we will continue to follow it. 

Why can’t I take a pet home for the night to see how it goes?

People often want to take home an animal for the night or for the weekend, just to see how it goes. There are a lot of reasons why we do not allow this. 

First, it is not likely to give you a good idea of how they will do in a home. Many pets take multiple weeks in order to settle into a new home. It’s pretty likely that your new cat would hide the whole time, and your new dog would probably just be getting used to being in a new place. Some adjust really fast and make themselves at home right away, but most take time. There is a graphic in this blog post that shows a general timeline of how long it takes animals to settle in, though sometimes it takes pets longer. In short: 3 days they may feel overwhelmed, scared, and not themselves. 3 weeks they start to settle in and get into a routine. 3 months they are pretty comfortable and set in a routine. Some take more or less time, but overnight or a weekend is not likely to gain you any insight into how they will be.

We also want people to treat adoption seriously and go into it wanting to keep them forever. We understand that sometimes things don’t work out, but we hope that people go into it planning to keep the animal, rather than just taking them home for the night.

Going into a home just to come back to the shelter can lead to depression. They get excited because they think they are back in a home and out of the shelter, just to go back to the shelter. It can be very hard for animals to come into the shelter, even when they’ve been here before, and this is the same reason why we don’t allow previous owners to see animals they have surrendered: it’s too hard on the animal. Getting excited by the possibility of having a home, just to have that taken away is heartbreaking. Some animals get very depressed and just stop eating. Some don’t even want to get up to go outside or get playtime. Others, especially those who are more stressed at the shelter to begin with, can start to act out, because they are just so confused. These behavioral issues can cause them to have an even harder time getting adopted. The stress can also lead to illness, especially in cats. Upper respiratory infection is very common in shelter cats, and cats who are stressed are more likely to get it. 

What if we’re worried about how they will do with our other pets?


Dogs are required to meet any other dogs they will be living with and we are willing to do introductions with other dogs they would spend a lot of time with as well. 

If you have a cat, we can test the dog you are interested in with one of our cats. Of course a shelter setting is different from a home, but we can usually get a decent idea if they will be okay with a cat or not. (We still encourage adopters to be very cautious with a new dog around their cat). 


If you have a dog, we can test a cat you are interested in with one of our dogs. 

We also typically have a good idea of how they will do with other cats. We really get to know their personalities and how they behave when they are around or see other cats, so we generally have a good idea of if they would do okay in a home with another cat. 

Cats tend to take even longer to get used to other animals, so a slow introduction is ALWAYS encouraged. You can find all our best tips for taking home a new cat here.

But what if we try our best and it just doesn’t work out?

If it doesn’t work out you are contractually obligated to bring them back to us anyway. We totally understand that sometimes things just don’t work out. Despite best efforts, sometimes it’s just not a good match, and we will not fault you for that. We just ask that our animals come back to us. Some people might think it’s a good idea to try to find them a home themselves, but they really need to come back to us, so any potential new adopters can go through the application process.