Where does the Humane Society of Harford County get its funding?

The Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC), Inc. is not a department of Harford County Government nor do we receive any funding from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Many people think we are a branch of HSUS because the words “Humane Society” are in our name, but actually we are an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and do not receive funding from them. Please donate locally!

Our annual operating expenses are just over $1.3 million. As of FY19, we receive $950,000 of this funding from the Harford County Government as a fee for services provided. HSHC is the contractor to the Harford County Government to provide an open admission shelter for the county, taking in all animals from the community through the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit and from the general public. About 60% of the nearly 3,000 animals that come to our facility every year are stray pets found in Harford County. Others are either owned pets relinquished by Harford County residents, or seized by Animal Control for cruelty, neglect, hoarding, dogfighting, or for other animal welfare concerns. However, even with an average of 6-7 animals coming into our shelter every single day of the year, we have consistently increased our live release rate, and in 2020, had one of our highest lifesaving years ever, with a save rate of 90%! For more information about our shelter statistics, click here.

We must fundraise approximately $350,000 per year just to keep our doors open. We can’t keep our animals fed and warm, keep the lights on, or provide veterinary care without your financial support. All donations to HSHC are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

We regularly examine our business practices in order to keep a close eye on our expenses and reduce costs wherever possible, to ensure that taxpayer and donor dollars are well-spent. However, certain expenses have continued to skyrocket, especially with the opening of our new, 19,000 square foot facility.

As of our FY20 audit, we are proud to let our donors know that our administrative fees (management and fundraising) have reduced to just 8%, which means that 92 cents of every dollar donated will directly benefit our animals! While these “overhead expenses” are a necessity, and many donors prefer to see this number be as low as possible, it is important to remember that these are legitimate expenses that need to be reimbursed for HSHC to be sustainable, effective, and have impact. We want to change the world, and these costs are necessary to build the infrastructure of our goals. Of course, we are careful with costs, but without them there may be more harm than benefit to HSHC. The idea that an organization should always have low overhead is called “The Overhead Myth” and organizations such as the BBB, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar have partnered to educate donors on why this is so. Learn more by clicking here!

We are in need of community support now more than ever! Please help us to help the stray, abused and homeless animals of Harford County by making a tax-deductible contribution today, by clicking here!

Click on the links below to download a copy of our most recent 990 filings:

Fiscal Year 2015 990

Fiscal Year 2016 990

Fiscal Year 2017 990

Fiscal Year 2018 990

Fiscal Year 2019 990

Fiscal Year 2020 990