Defining CMHS' Priority Paws At-Risk List

In a spirit of transparency, CMHS will now utilize an At-Risk List to be shared publicly on our social media and website. We know that the term “at-risk” can be concerning for members of our community, but we want to highlight why we have this list and what it is used for.

Shelters and rescues all over the country are seeing record-high intakes and increased length of stay. We are prioritizing getting animals out of the shelter as quickly as possible to avoid having to make tough euthanasia decisions. We cannot hold animals for many months because we do not have the kennel space to do so. Having community support is vital to maintaining a 90% or higher save-rate for all the dogs.

Is CMHS a No-Kill Shelter?

We are frequently asked “are you a no-kill shelter?” The answer can be complicated.

For some, the term “no-kill” means a shelter doesn’t ever euthanize animals. To others, it may mean no healthy or treatable pet is euthanized, or that a shelter never euthanizes pets despite their behavior or the quality of life they are experiencing in the shelter. To most in the sheltering industry, it means that 90% of ALL pets that entered the shelter leave through positive outcomes, such as adoptions, return-to-home, or transfers to other shelters or rescue groups.

CMHS is the only open-door shelter for strays in Boone county meaning we take in all pets despite their health or behavior conditions. We also partner with Animal Control to house stray/lost pets, bite quarantine/court cases and law enforcement requests. While we try to manage our owner surrender admissions, most of the time our requests outweigh the kennel space available. 

We also have a responsibility to keep our community safe by not placing animals that we feel may be unsafe, to relieve a pet’s suffering when they are in pain and discomfort, or when they are experiencing a poor quality-of-life at the shelter.

We have maintained a placement rate over 90% since 2015.

CMHS prides itself on being a transparent organization. Each month we make our statics available to the public.

    More Information

    Central Missouri Humane Society, as an open admission shelter with a municipal contract, maintains a live-release rate over 90%. However, there are times when we must euthanize animals in our care. CMHS is committed to lifesaving and works within certain parameters, policies, and protocols to determine when euthanasia may be necessary. Some of this criterion includes, but are not limited to, severe illness or injury, quality-of-life concerns, and/or public safety concerns. Quality-of-life includes animals that are too stressed in the shelter environment and/or have shown concerning behaviors while in our care—animals that continue to deteriorate while at the shelter, including losing weight due to stress, developing unsafe behaviors, or completely shutting down due to the environment.

    No person, including staff or volunteers, wants to euthanize an animal, and euthanasia decisions are not made lightly. CMHS employs diligent processes and practices when discussing and determining euthanasia as a humane outcome. These processes include several team members and departments, and several “checks and balances” such as exploring alternative options like rescue, being returned home, and targeted marketing campaigns.