About Us

Open Door to Compassion

The Anti-Cruelty Society has been on the forefront of animal welfare and humane education since it was founded in 1899.  Its focus is to provide the following:

  • Compassionate care for any animal in need
  • An attempt to find a home for every healthy or rehabilitatable dog and cat
  • Intervention to prevent cruelty to animals
  • Community education on animal issues to inspire compassion and respect; and
  • Low or no cost spaying or neutering

The Anti-Cruelty Society’s mission is to build a community of caring by helping pets and educating people. We are an open admission shelter which means we care for all animals and will not turn away any animal in need. There are no time limits placed on any animal in its care and the Society operates under the belief that no healthy or rehabilitatable pet should be euthanized. Based on the premise that the key to pet overpopulation is sterilization, the Society offers access to low or no cost spaying or neutering and it relies on its education programs to promote responsible pet ownership.

The Anti-Cruelty Society believes that companion animals provide people with joy, offers recognized health benefits and unconditional love, and it is our goal to find a home for every companion animal in need. The Society offers a variety of programs and services to build a community of caring by helping pets and educating people including the following: Cat and dog adoptions, spay/neuter clinic, humane education, cruelty investigation and rescue, dog training classes, free behavior hotline, three rehabilitation and treatment centers, pet loss and grief group sessions, pet visitation program, active foster and volunteer programs, pet first aid and CPR classes, and other pet-related workshops. Working together with other organizations and the public raises awareness about the needs of animals and how we can work together to promote responsible pet ownership and help prevent cruelty, abuse, and neglect.


How do we make this happen? 

The Anti-Cruelty Society is committed to finding a home for every adoptable and treatable cat and dog that comes through our doors by living our philosophy to provide an open door for any animal in need,  365 days a year. A key strategy for the Society is to rescue animals from cruelty and neglect while both advising and educating pet owners and potential pet owners about how to care for animals. A free behavior helpline provides advice and guidance with animal related issues. The Society also offers spay/neuter surgeries at a low or no cost while also providing education on compassion and respect for all living beings. Additional key strategies include providing much needed veterinary care for those animals whose owners would otherwise not be able to afford proper care or providing temporary housing for animals whose owners involved with crisis situations. The Anti-Cruelty is also committed to working with other organizations to take in animals who need help.

In 2018, the Society spayed or neutered 9,873 animals. The Society’s spay/neuter clinic provides surgeries to the general public at a low cost and for feral cats free of charge. Through the Society’s adoption program, nearly 5,700 cats, dogs, and other small animals found their forever homes in 2018 furthering the Society’s goal to place every adoptable and rehabilitatable animal in Chicago into a loving forever home. Every potential adopter is counseled in animal care and must be meet the Society's adoption requirements before they are able to adopt a pet. In an effort to protect animals, the Society’s humane investigators respond to over 600 cruelty and abuse complaints offering education to pet owners or removing the animal if the situation is life threatening.

The Society provided community outreach to more than 25,000 school children and community members in 2018, teaching messages of respect and compassion for all living creatures. This is accomplished through:

  • An after school program for high school students and ongoing programs for younger children provide basic awareness about animal welfare. 
  • A veterinary mentoring program in partnership with the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine that helps train future veterinarians
  • A charity veterinary clinic that assists Chicagoland pets whose owners would not be able to afford the cost of veterinary care for their pets. 
  • A free behavior helpline offers help to pet owners experiencing issues with the family pet. 
  • Pet visitation programs reach out to the sick and elderly bringing a furry friend to those who can benefit most.

All of the work of the Society would not be possible without a very committed and dedicated group of volunteers and people willing to foster animals. More than 53,000 hours of volunteer service supports the work we do to care for animals each year. Our foster program offers a temporary home for the animals who need some additional personal care before they are ready for adoption.

The Society has a staff of 102 employees and over 600 volunteers who support the work of The Anti-Cruelty Society by working 365 days a year to accomplish strategic goals set forth by the Board of Directors and President of The Anti-Cruelty Society.