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Humane Society Silicon Valley

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Children & Youth, Veterinary Services, Youth Development Programs

Mission: To save and enhance lives - both two-legged and four-legged.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area and beyond

Programs: HSSV adopts rescued, abandoned and surrendered companion animals into new, loving homes.  Through our Regional Rescue, Behavior and Foster Programs, we collaborate with other shelters and rescue groups in Silicon Valley to save dogs and cats who are out of time, or need special medical and/or behavioral treatment to become adoptable.  These animals are cared for at HSSV's Animal Community Center until they are ready for a new home.  Oftern, animals who need a bit more time or need a quiet place to recover will stay in a foster home until a permanent home is found.  We also have a robust Lost/Found program and operate a behavioral helpline.  We invest our efforts in extensive behavioral assistance for people who might surrender their pets if we don't intervene.   Our goal in Adoptions and Placement services is to find homes for the animals we save, and to keep animals in homes, so they never see the inside of a shelter.

Community Stories

49 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

HSSV makes such an incredible difference in the lives of our special animals in need of security, love and a forever home. The Animal Community Center is amazing in its environmental design (earned the LEED's designation), attractiveness and comfort. The "guests" live in glassed and airy condos while they are with us. The organization and staff of HSSV are so incredibly professional and compassionate. The huge family of volunteers and foster care homes are so significant to the heart of the HSSV Mission. HSSV has incredible community outreach/educational programs including Camps that always have a wait list for the young people. HSSV is instrumental in helping and working with other shelters in the area to save lives and increase adoptions with great success. The medical facility and vets and staff are state of the art and so integral in saving so many precious lives. The Kitty Nursery is special and allows the needed extra care, love and attention that these babies at risk require. I am so very proud of the HSSV community and the many lives that are saved and enhanced--both human and animal--because of the incredible work of HSSV. I am honored to be on the Board of this outstanding organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) has formed a coalition of all shelters in Santa Clara County and together they have done extraordinary work in saving the lives of homeless animals. The HSSV staff, under the professional, caring leadership of Carol Novello, works tirelessly to improve and excel every day - everyone is on the same page with regard to the mission and it shows in the results. I couldn't be more proud to be associated with HSSV.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The allegation in the most recent post could not be farther from the truth. I have served on the HSSV board since 2008, when Chris was President, and I recently became board chair. I can attest to the fact that under Carol's leadership, HSSV is continuing the excellent lifesaving work that Chris began and is saving the lives of a great percentage of all animals than ever before. Sue Diekman

Review from CharityNavigator

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Client Served

Rating: 5

HSSV is a wonderful place with unmatched service. As soon as you walk in to their amazing facility, you will instantaneously sense the care and passion the workers/volunteers have for these animals. As I toured the building, I was impressed to see clean rooms with food and water for all of the animals. More importantly, the animals looked well cared for and they were generally excited to see guests peeking in to the rooms.

Having the opportunity to speak with some of the volunteers and leadership at HSSV, I am happy that HSSV is part of my community. Every animal they save and every adoption they make, HSSV is coming one step closer to their goal. I encourage you to go check it out for yourself (you will be impressed, and you might walk away with a furry friend).

Client Served

Rating: 5

HSSV goes out of its way to make sure that baby cats and dogs get even more care and attention to help them along until they get loving adoptive homes. For example, HSSV has created a kitten nursery especially for underage kittens and nursing mama and babies to provide a safe environment for these babies to grow up before they’re big enough for adoption (we will be fostering babies this kitten season). They also have the P.U.P. Program, which I wasn’t aware of until I learned about it a year or so ago. In this program, if your cat or dog has a litter of babies, you can receive help finding homes for the babies through HSSV’s adoption program. HSSV will vaccinate, spay/neuter the babies and find them great homes, and not only that, HSSV will also spay mom for free! If that’s not a caring organization, I don’t know what is! It was through this program that I have come to know HSSV best, and through which my family and I had the most wonderful and special experience.
About a year ago during the holidays, our 15-year-old Australian cattle dog (the best dog in the world, I might add) was diagnosed with kidney failure and wasn’t expected to survive past the end of the year. With his daily treatments and frequent visits to the vet hospital, it was a really stressful time. It was also during this time that we brought home to “foster” a 12-week-old Chihuahua mix that was brought to HSSV through the P.U.P. program. Though we were apprehensive about bringing home a rambunctious little pup to a sick old dog, we were thrilled that this pup was destined to be adopted by a family member, and it was only supposed to be for a few days. So, we took the chance and brought home the pup. It was the best decision we could have ever made. Our old dog perked right up, appointed himself as chief puppy-raiser, and found a renewed sense of purpose. He had a reason to live, and it was his job to take care of this puppy. And, that he did. He took his new role as puppy boss very seriously. He also proved his veterinarians wrong and lived well past his expected life span. It was this puppy that came to us from an unwanted litter that kept our old sick dog alive for so long. Though our old dog has since passed, this little Chihuahua mix is still with us (we have adopted her) and continues to bring joy and happiness to our home on a daily basis. If it wasn’t for HSSV’s commitment to the community and if it wasn’t for the P.U.P. program, all this would never have happened. Our family will be forever grateful for such a wonderful experience and because of it we will always support the efforts of HSSV to continue providing much needed support to the community. Thank you, HSSV!

Donor

Rating: 5

In my experiences with HSSV, the leadership has always been OUTSTANDING, and the current CEO, Carol, continues to handle her leadership and management role in the same outstanding manner as her predecessors. It is indeed unfortunate that some slanderous individual has attempted to belittle her performance by making totally untrue remarks on this web site. Such individuals only serve to denigrate the entire non-profit community, HHSV in particular, and serve no useful purpose at all. Keep us the good work Carol and make sure HSSV remains a world leader in the care and maintenance of stray and unwanted animals in the bay area.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been donating to this organization for a couple of years now because we are impressed with their whole approach to the treatment and placement of animals.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first became familiar with Humane Society Silicon Valley when I decided I needed to do something about the 25 scrawny and suffering feral cats living in my apartment complex and the many kittens they were producing every year. The Humane Society helped me with everything including a class on the TNR program, loaning me the traps, giving me trapping advice, doing the spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, vaccines and treatments - not to mention finding homes for all the kittens. Now the colony has stabilized at 5 healthy and robust adult cats which I care for and the program is working better than I ever imagined. I couldn't be happier with the help I received from HSSV. They really know what they are doing.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been nothing short of impressed by the caliber of the staff, programs, events and stewardship I have received through my association with HSSV. This is an organization that cares DEEPLY for the well-being of animals and to a person I can tell that the staff are part of this organization to make a difference. There are many animal welfare organizations that exist, and I support them to a lesser degree, but I have chosen to focus my giving specifically on HSSV because of the caliber of excellence that it represents. I encourage my friends, colleagues and even people I meet briefly to get to know HSSV and the staff and programs. Once you know them you will love them and you will want to support them in the vital work that they are doing to help save animal lives. During this holiday season I would STRONGLY encourage you to make a donation and support their important mission!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I have supported the Humane Society of Silicon Valley for the past many years and hope to continue my support. My concern is that less than 80% of expenses go to actual program activities and fundraising is over 14%. In addition, for a charity of this size, the CEO compensation is on the high side: 2.4 cents of every dollar go to the CEO. I hope future fundraising costs can be reduced and the CEO compensation be more in line with similar charities.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

HSSV euthanizes [kills] young, healthy animals in order to make room for animals that are more easily adopted. This new policy began under the current CEO, Carol Novello. This is nothing but bean counting at the expense of helpless animals. Under the previous CEO, Chris Benninger, animals were kept util adopted [except under extremely unusual circumstances, such as a dog that bites everyone who gets near]. Young, healthy animals were never killed for convenience, until Novello came on board. Now HSSV kills healthy young animals -- for Novello's bragging rights for having adopted out "X" number of animals.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served on HSSV's Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for the entirety of my high school career, with my service culminating in my role as board co-chair in my senior year. Before joining YAB, I had already held HSSV in high esteem, as it was the most notable animal shelter in my area, and I would frequently beg my parents to stop by and let me visit each of the cages. HSSV's move to the new Milpitas facility was certainly a dream come true not only for me, but for all involved with helping animals in the area...and of course, the animals who were, are, and will continue to experience the care of HSSV. Through my experience here, I wish to particularly highlight two aspects of this organization. Firstly, HSSV is a model for animal shelters everywhere in its resources and the genuine love HSSV staff and volunteers have for animals. From simply taking a tour around the facility, you can experience this for yourself. The dedication of the people here truly makes all the difference in the lives of the animals--from ensuring that every shelter guest gets individual attention and playtime, to ever keeping a watchful eye on the animals' health, and most of all, to never giving up on the search for the perfect home. Animals at HSSV stay as long as it takes to find new families right for them, and the foster care system provides important support as well. At HSSV, each happy ending is celebrated. Staff and volunteers are always rooting for each adoption. Secondly, I believe that one of HSSV's greatest treasures lies in its well-managed, thoughtfully conceived education programs. The education department was my guide in my years of involvement here, and I speak for every young person who has been in an education program at HSSV when I say that this humane society helps the community to grow in its stewardship, knowledge of, and love for animals. I have been involved in every educational program available for the teenage age group, including YAB, Compassion In Action (CIA), Amazing Animals summer camp junior volunteer counseling, and volunteering at other sessions for children and special events. YAB has given me a chance to lead other high school students and exercise our voice for animals at HSSV. CIA was community service for the HSSV animals, while making friends and hosting our own educational event. Summer camp counseling allowed me to take responsibility in helping animal-loving children learn and have fun, and re-live my own animal-centric childhood (that was a bonus). Volunteering in other events simply enabled me to offer my time to many worthwhile causes to sustain the organization, and be surrounded by animals too! Behind every activity in every session of every program lies meticulous planning, consideration, and care on behalf of the education department. Many people my age seek to help animals, and all of these programs provides opportunities to directly help the animals (such as making needed supplies), forge new friendship with peers with the same passion and drive, become empowered to educate others about the plight of homeless animals, and of course, playing with the animals! I have never seen a sad face in these programs, except when it comes time to leave. I will be forever grateful for the role HSSV has played in my life, as without it, I wholeheartedly believe that my senses of leadership and responsibility would not be as they are today. So is HSSV a "Great Nonprofit?" My answer is yes, and everything more. When it comes down to everything this organization does to impact both human and animal lives, the word "great" simply doesn't do it justice.

Caroline S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe in the Humane Society of Silicon Valley for several reasons. First off, it truly supports the welfare of animals. Secondly, whenever I am there, I have a smile on my face because of what a welcoming place it is. Last but not least, all the volunteers at HSSV are so dedicated and passionate about what they are doing. I fully support and believe in the mission of the HSSV an would choose this humane society out of any others.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attends a monthly class for kids. They learn about so many things related to animal habits, care, how they are treated in the community, how the children can be helpful in the community towards animals, and they do craft proejcts. My son loves it so much, we had his birthday party there too. We also adopted a cat from HSSV, which was a very easy process. Everyone there loves animals and treats the animals and the humans with great respect and courtesy. I love this place!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have always had an interest in animals and in giving back to society, but with every organization I tried to join, I was told I was too young. When I came to know of the HSSV however, I was able to join their Compassion In Action program right away, subsequently volunteering at their summer camp for kids, and now being on their Youth Advisory Board for a year (and going into my next year). Not only are its facilities the cleanest I've ever seen, but it is the best place where so many animals can be taken care of at once. Furthermore, it has a variety of activities for everyone, allowing each and every one of us to find where our interest in giving (to animals) lies. I am a very proud member of the Humane Society and the extreme success that it is today.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My girls took a six-month class there and they absolutely loved it. They have learned so much, from handling the kittens, to petting dogs, to making toys for the kittens, etc. They are so happy to go there. The staff is friendly, lets us know what they have done, and what to expect before each class (we receive an email). I am considering becoming a volunteer there myself! We will continue going next school year. It's great to see such amazing, selfless, dedicated staff and volunteers there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe that through volunteering one can help elevate their community. My experience at HSSV was powerful in the sense that I felt the passion that everybody had for the animals and could connect with them. I am eager to continue to volunteer and help these great animals with other great people who have a passion like me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started off at the Humane Society to fulfill requirements for school, but almost immediately I fell in love with volunteering at it. It's been a wonderful experience being able to work with animals and help the students in the CIA program learn what the program has to offer! I can't wait until my next opportunity to volunteer here.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a student volunteer, it's hard to make the time to focus on both schoolwork and community service, but rearranging my schedule for the purpose of the Humane Society's Compassion in Action program was worth the effort. During the short amount of time I spent in this 8-session time, the message of the HSSV was clear. The team there is so compassionate and so loving, I felt welcomed and I couldn't wait to come back to see what more this shelter had to offer to the people and the animals. The facility was clean, the smiles on the staffs' and volunteers' faces were welcoming, and the animals in safe hands couldn't have made me feel happier for them. I cannot wait to come back soon to see how far those animals have progressed, thanks to the Humane Society of the Silicon Valley.

Drew McManus

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a donor, supporter, and client of HSSV. There really is no way to sufficiently describe this place. It is not like any "animal shelter" you have ever seen or visited. Go take a tour--you'll be moved by the work they do.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for the HSSV for about a year and a half as a dog socializer and assistant to behavior staff. They have a fabulous training program to promote consistency in handling of dogs across all the volunteers, and although many dogs are adopted quite quickly, I have seen the incredible difference HSSV staff and volunteers can make working with an animal over time. One dog in particular went from 75 pounds of jumping up, dragging people on leash, overwhelming exuberance to a dog who could sit to be leashed, walk nicely, knew basic commands, and was a pleasure to be around. And it was all done with only positive reinforcement, and a dog with only positive associations with people. These folks take in overflow from other shelters, and dogs that need more work than other shelters can give (medical or behavioral), and love them till they can find their "forever homes." The facility itself is marvelous, with two dog parks (for big and little) and daycare, and summer camp programs, and lots of beautiful animals to visit. I love having "TLC a dog" as part of my volunteer duties!