About the Central Missouri Humane Society

Our Mission


In continuous operation since 1943, the Central Missouri Humane Society promotes the well-being of companion animals – pets that enrich the lives of the people who love them.

Our Vision


The Central Missouri Humane Society envisions a time when no mid-Missouri pet is homeless, abused or neglected.

Our History


  • 1943: The Columbia Humane Society is formed as a regional animal welfare organization operating out of a small building on Creasy Springs Road.
  • 1968: Renamed the Central Missouri Humane Society and recognized as a nonprofit.
  • 1976: New shelter is built at 616 Big Bear Blvd.
  • 1988: Building addition to house more kennels.
  • 2009: Won the Zootoo.com Shelter Makeover Competition.

Did You Know...


In 2019, CMHS took in and cared for 1,687 cats, 1,364 dogs and 293 small animals.

Each year our veterinary team performs thousands of free or low cost spay/neuter surgeries. Spaying or neutering your pet is the best way to reduce the unwanted pet population.

We expand our limited shelter capacity through the kindness of over 100 foster homes; approximately 300 volunteers augment our shelter staff.

We have a contract with the City of Columbia to house and care for animals picked up by animal control.

We are not affiliated with any national humane organization and generate our funding primarily through private donations. It costs over $17,000 per week to run the shelter.

Is CMHS a "No Kill" shelter?


The answer to that question largely depends on how you define “no-kill.” To some, “no-kill” means that no euthanasia is performed at any time or for any reason. To others, “no-kill” status is determined based solely on save rate. However, an article in the Washington Post points out, “There is no certifying body that bestows the no-kill label, and there is no universally held definition for it.”

As the only open-door shelter in Boone County, we take in every animal brought through our doors regardless of health or temperament. Many closed-door shelters and rescue organizations accept animals on a limited basis and will not consider accepting an animal that they do not immediately consider adoptable. At the Central Missouri Humane Society, we believe all animals deserve to be treated equally and do not discriminate based on breed, gender, age, health or temperament. Thanks to a proactive adoption program and dedicated network of foster homes, we never euthanize due to lack of space and no animal has a ‘time limit’ while in our care. We rely on support from the public to offer life-saving medical care as well as intake prevention programs to keep loved pets out of the shelter. While we provide humane care to every treatable animal, we strongly consider quality of life and will never allow an animal to suffer.

Since 1943, our organization has worked to provide the best treatment possible for the animals in our care. For almost 75 years, we have provided refuge for the many sick, injured and abused animals that have come through our doors. We are incredibly proud to say that over the past nine years, our save rate has drastically increased from 50% to 97%! Not only do we provide protection and specialized treatment for the animals in our care, we empower them through positive reinforcement and give them the tools to succeed into the future.
As animal welfare professionals, we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to speak for those that have no voice. Thanks to our dedicated staff, board members and supporters, we have the ability to turn the saddest stories into the happiest endings for the animals and people that rely on us the most.