headline circle gifAbout Us > Position Statements





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The following statements defining the Humane Society of Southern Arizona's position on the use and treatment of animals have been adopted by the Board of Directors.



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Greyhound Racing
Puppy Mills & Pet Stores
Animal Blood Sports
Animals In Research
Fur Garments
Surrender of Animals
for Research

Veterinary Cosmetic Surgery
Feline Declaw
Wild Mustangs & Burros
Wild Animals As Pets
Assistance Animals

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headline circle gifRodeo


The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. is opposed to rodeo events that result in torment, harassment, and stress being inflicted upon the participating animals and expose rodeo stock to the probability of pain, injury or death. We denounce this type of unnecessary exploitation and the use of devices such as electric prods, sharpened sticks, spurs, flank straps, and other rodeo tack used to induce animals to react violently. We find these abuses cannot be justified.

HSSA believes the Southwest culture can be portrayed through other types of activities, such as parades, barrel racing and other types of Quadrille activities, or other activities that do not cause pain, injury or unnecessary stress to an animal.



headline circle gifZoos

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. recognizes the widespread existence of zoos and acknowledges that some serve demonstrable purposes for the long-term benefit of animals, such as preservation and restoration of endangered or threatened species, and education of people to the needs of wild animals and their role in the ecosystem In order to justify their existence, zoos must serve such purposes, must maintain animals in conditions simulating their natural habitats as closely as possible, and must treat them with the highest degree of humaneness, care and professionalism.




headline circle gifTrapping

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. opposes commercial and sport trapping because these activities are cruel and cause needless exploitation of wildlife. HSSA especially believes there should be an immediate and absolute universal ban on the steel-jaw leghold trap.




headline circle gifGreyhound Racing

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. strongly opposes the industry of greyhound racing because of cruel training methods, the large-scale breeding of greyhounds in the hope of producing a winner, the often cruel methods by which non-winners are sometimes killed, the sometimes appalling living conditions to which some animals are subjected, and because this so-called sport is an inhumane and unjustified exploitation of animals for profit.




headline circle gifMass Breeding / Puppy Mills / Pet Stores

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. supports the elimination of mass breeding establishments of companion animals through enforcement of current laws and regulations, enactment of legislation, and public education to eliminate the market for such animals. HSSA strongly recommends that members of the public first visit humane shelters and/or animal control facilities when seeking to become owners of companion animals.




headline circle gifAnimal Fighting & Blood Sports

Bloodsports are activities that involve pitting animals against animals or humans against animals with the outcome being injury or death to one or both parties. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. condemns and opposes all such bloodsports, and calls for an immediate end to legal acceptance of bloodsports and for strong enforcement of laws that now exist banning these brutal activities.




headline circle gifAnimals In Biomedical Research & Testing

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. is opposed to procedures and experiments utilizing animals which inflict pain, suffering, or injury, or in any other way jeopardize the physical or psychological well-being of the animals. HSSA advocates the use of the three Rs: the development and application of alternative methods of research and testing which reduce the number of animals required; the refinement of existing techniques and procedures to reduce or eliminate pain and stress in laboratory animals; and the immediate replacement of animals in research with other currently available techniques.



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headline circle gifHunting

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Inc. is opposed to the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or for the simple sport. HSSA believes that sport hunting is a form of exploitation of animals for the entertainment of the hunter, and is contrary to the values of the compassion and respect for all life that is the basis of our mission.


HSSA recognizes that the welfare and responsible management of animals may on occasion necessitate the killing of animals. When such killing is permitted, it must be used as a last resort, be demonstrably necessary, be conducted by responsible officials, and methods utilized must result in instantaneous and humane death.

HSSA also recognizes that the legitimate needs for human subsistence may necessitate the killing of wildlife. In such cases, killing must be accomplished in a humane and non-wasteful manner and must not involve endangered or threatened animals.



headline circle gifFur Garments

The trapping, raising, and killing of animals for luxury fur garments causes great pain and suffering for both wild and ranched animals. Furthermore, for every one target animal taken, at least one nontarget animal is caught in the traps, including endangered species, domestic pets, and livestock.


Because ranched furbearers experience stress during life and suffering at death, ranched fur cannot be considered a humane alternative to wild fur. Ranched furbearers are generally raised in small pens, providing no opportunity to interact or otherwise express natural instincts or behaviors. Ranched animals also suffer from genetic defects caused by excessive inbreeding to produce mutated colors. The methods used to kill these animals are chosen not for humaneness, but for economy and pelt protection. Methods may include inhalants such as carbon monoxide, calcium cyanide, or chloroform; oral poisons such as cyanide powder squeezed from a rubber syringe; injections of poisons such as magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts); electrocution; or physical methods such as breaking the animal's neck with a twist or blow.

It is clear that there is no basic human need met by the wearing of fur garments, and that animal abuse is inherent in the fur industry. Therefor, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona opposes the production and wearing of fur garments.

Realizing that many consumers are not aware of the cruelty behind the product, HSSA seeks to educate the public on the reasons to stop buying and wearing fur garments.



headline circle gifSurrender Of Animals For Research

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona opposes the surrender of animals by any animal care or control agency to research laboratories, educational institutions, pharmaceutical houses, or related facilities. HSSA believes all animals coming into the possession of a shelter should either be returned to their owners, placed in suitable homes, or humanely destroyed. Owners who fear that their animals may be subject to experimentation are likely to abandon those animals rather than bring them into the shelter. The surrender of these animals for use in biomedical research contributes to a breakdown of effective animal shelter and control programs by lessening public support and faith in the humaneness of the operation.


In an area where there presently is not a law or ordinance prohibiting animals from an animal shelter from being released, an animal care or control agency should work for a law or ordinance to prohibit release. In an area where there is a law mandating the release of animals from shelters for purposes of biomedical research, an animal are or control agency should work actively and aggressively to repeal this law. Further, the HSSA condemns any organization calling itself a humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals that voluntarily sells or gives animals in its custody to biomedical research laboratories.



headline circle gifTransportation Of Pets & Children In Open Vehicles

The transportation of pets and children in open vehicles is dangerous for the animal, the children, and sometimes for the public. While riding in the open vehicle, pets are exposed to weather extremes and wind that can irritate mucous membranes and blow debris into their eyes, nose, or throat. Animals that jump or fall from truck beds in traffic create a hazard for drivers who must rapidly brake or swerve to avoid collision with them.


Surveys of animal care and control agencies and veterinarians provide evidence of thousands of cases of injury or death to animals that have fallen from open vehicles. One survey of veterinarians found that fully seventy percent of the respondents had treated dogs that were injured while riding in the back of a pickup truck. The veterinarians reported that serious injuries were common and more than half the dogs required emergency treatment. Some noted severe injuries to dogs that had been tied in the back of a pickup and dragged after jumping or being jarred off the truck. The HSSA opposes transportation of animals and children in open vehicles, and calls for the passage of local and state laws prohibiting this method of transportation.



headline circle gifRabies Vaccinations

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona considers anti-rabies inoculations of dogs and cats a necessary protective measure and enthusiastically recommends it to all dog and cat owners. The HSSA considers periodic inoculation a necessary component of responsible pet ownership and supports legislation that requires compulsory vaccination of these domestic pets. Further, the HSSA believes an anti-rabies inoculation requirement is an integral part of an effective animal control program.  


While there are some municipalities and counties nationally that require mandatory rabies for cats and even some that also require licensing, these numbers are few. While the HSSA believes that cat laws should be the same as dog laws in requiring mandatory rabies vaccinations and licensing, our local government has stayed away from this controversy. Should future laws pertaining to these topics arise, the HSSA will continue to support responsible pet ownership and legislation for all animals.

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headline circle gifVeterinary Cosmetic Surgery

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona opposes all surgeries which are not in the patient's best interest, are done for the sake of appearance, and place the whims of the client over the needs of the patient who suffers as a result. Ear cropping and tail docking is considered cosmetic surgeries, unless done for therapeutic purposes only and only by a licensed veterinarian.


The following reasons are supportive:

Tail docking, as part of a breed standard is medically unnecessary.

Tail docking involves removing a segment of the dog's vertebral column which may compromise as much as 1/4 to 1/3 of the total body length.

Tail docking is usually done without anesthesia.

Tail docking causes pain to the individual dog without any attendant benefit. Additionally, current research indicates that the immaturity of the central nervous system in neonates may cause increased pain perception relative to adults because their pain inhibitory pathways are not fully developed.

Tails serve as part of the dog's behavioral repertoire and therefore should not be removed unless necessary for the dog's health.

Numerous other countries prohibit tail docking because of its inherent inhumane nature.

The HSSA also recommends to the American Kennel Club bans appropriate breed associations that action be taken to:

  • Delete mention of cropped or trimmed ear and docked tails from breed standards for dogs
  • Prohibit the showing of dogs with cropped ears or trimmed ears and docked tails if such animals were born after some reasonable date.



headline circle gifFeline Declaw

The HSSA believes that other alternatives should be explored before considering the decision of declawing a cat. Other alternatives include: numerous types of natural and artificial scratching materials or the application of "soft paws" nail protectors. The HSSA believes that many cats are adopted and maintained in caring homes because of the nondestructive nature of declawed cats. As a last resort, if the decision is made to declaw a cat, it is recommended that only the front paws be declawed and done by a qualified licensed veterinarian with adherence to proper pain relief and postoperative care and compassion. All declawed cats are left defenseless and should be kept exclusively indoors.




headline circle gifWild Mustangs & Burros

It is the policy of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona to support efforts to protect the remaining herds of wild horses and burros from cruel exploitation and extinction and use its influence to ensure existing protective legislation is properly enforced and administered so that those concerned solely with exploiting these animals for profit, and those with conflicting interests, will not succeed in destroying these animals and will oppose vigorously the use of improper methods of capturing and managing wild horses and burros.




headline circle gifWild Animals As Pets

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona believes that most wild animals make unsuitable pets under virtually all circumstances and that very few people, adult or child, are equipped to properly maintain wild animals in the home environment. HSSA is against the general traffic in wild animals. In all cases it is opposed to the keeping of those animals who will suffer by capture, transport, and confinement (all nonhuman primates are included, as are wild canids and felids) and the traffic in any animal whose kind is already known to be endangered or is believed likely to become endangered. The society is equally opposed to the private confinement in the pet category of any animal potentially harmful or dangerous as a transmitter of disease or as an attacker of humans because of the inevitable disenchantment with such animals and the problems of appropriate and human disposal.




headline circle gifUse Of Assistance Animals

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona recognizes that certain animals can help special needs individuals lead more independent lives by assisting them in the performance of everyday tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Animals can assist individuals who have physical, visual, or hearing limitations. They can also alert owners to such potentially dangerous situations as fire or intruders. The HSSA believes that when animals are trained and used to assist humans in this way, it is critical that the needs of the animals, as well as the people, be met. In order for an assistance animals and his/her owner to have a successful relationship, the HSSA believes that the following criteria be met:


1. The animal must be a domestic animal.

2. The owner of the animal and/or another designated person must accept responsibility for ensuring that the animal's medical, physical, behavioral and psychological needs are met.

Organized programs that provide assistance animals must adhere to the above criteria as well as the following guidelines:

1. Selection of animals to be used as assistance animals must be based on a sound knowledge of their specific physical, behavioral, and psychological characteristics, as well as knowledge of the individual animal's temperament. The animal must be able to carry out desired tasks without invasive physical manipulation, such as teeth pulling or debarking. The HSSA advocates the sterilization of all assistance animals.

2. Programs that provide temporary housing and care for assistance animals must ensure that the needs of the animals are being properly met during this period.

3. Training of animals to perform tasks for their new owners must be based on positive reinforcement rather than on physical punishment such as striking, choking, or electric shock.

4. Humane disposition must be assured for animals who fail to qualify for the program or become unable to perform required tasks, animals whose assisted owner dies, or animals who, for some reason, cannot continue in the program for which they were selected. Acceptable disposition options include placement with another qualified individual, adoption to a responsible home, or euthanasia when unavoidable.

The HSSA believes that programs that meet the above criteria can provide some special needs individuals with a level of independence they would not otherwise be afforded, without harming the animals involved.


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