About Human Animal Support Services

man with his daughter and black and white dog

A whole new world for companion animal services is within our reach. We are leaving the past behind to build a new, better animal welfare system focused on keeping people and pets together.

American Pets Alive!’s Human Animal Support Services project is leading a growing national and international movement to transform animal services through innovative programs and services built to support people and pets within their communities

In this model, shelters assist the majority of pets without separating them from their families or community. We are bringing the animal welfare world and community members together to engage in partnerships that support the bond of people and animals.

Our Mission

To collectively build community-centered animal services to better meet the needs of animals and people where they live.

Our Vision

A world where there is a collective responsibility to care for animals, every person has equitable access to and is actively engaged in helping animals in need, and the relationships between animals and people are supported by government and non-profit organizations, within and outside of animal welfare.

Our Values

Animal welfare solutions are rooted in the values and needs of each community.

We emphasize the interconnections of people, animals and the environment.​

We demonstrate an ongoing commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, to addressing power imbalances and to developing mutually beneficial partnerships with communities we serve.​

We consistently work to combat discrimination and inequity in animal services and to build programs and services that are accessible and welcoming to all.​

We believe every animal who enters a shelter should receive urgent, individualized treatment and care, with the goal of a live outcome.

We proactively work to build strong and lasting human-animal relationships in our communities and affirm our central role of protecting the bonds between people and animals.

We ensure people working in animal services organizations have access to support, resources, and information to promote their physical and emotional well-being.

MAS - Elderly food pantry recipient-web

Our Origin Story

In March of 2020, during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis when the world shut down, American Pets Alive! began an urgent, rapid effort to gather animal services organizations together to help each other in adapting their operations during the pandemic. With a massive shift to a community-based animal services model and many media pushes to increase foster and adoptive homes, shelters began to innovate programs and services to protect people and pets during these unprecedented times.

Under the leadership of animal welfare visionaries Dr. Ellen Jefferson and Kristen Hassenit worked. Communities joined animal services organizations to protect pets, and get them in homes through fostering, safety net programs, collaboration between organizations, and more.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, caring people across the U.S. and throughout the world have enthusiastically adopted, fostered, donated, fed, and otherwise cared for animals in need. 

In this time of tremendous uncertainty, HASS has provided a path forward. And having seen this success in action, we continue to forge ahead creating and sharing policies, tools, and training, advancing meaningful change. 

The COVID-19 crisis showed the urgent need for this reimagining of animal services—and also showed the power of this model to prioritize helping people keep their pets, reserving the shelter for animals who truly need in-shelter services, and to protect and strengthen communities as a result. 

Together, we are creating a new world for animal services. One that is humane, cost effective, and collaborative, preserving and honoring the human-animal bond, and saving animals’ lives. 

COVID-19 Hits the United States

March 2020

First Collaborative Industry Call hosted by American Pets Alive!

March 23, 2020

The American Pets Alive! COVID-19 Preparedness Guide is Created

April 2020

Human Animal Support Services is Officially Launched in 33 Pilot Cities

June 2020

Human Animal Support Services Website is Released

October 2020

The Keeping Families Together Eviction Response Toolkit is Launched

With support from The Association of Animal Welfare Advancement and The Humane Society of the United States

January 2021

Pro Resources are Launched

Pro Resources formally established to provide organizations with tools to implement Human Animal Support Services drawing people from over 125 countries to the HASS website.

February 2021

HASS hosts its 200th Live Event

June 2021

The HASS Partner Organization Program is Launched

November 2021

About the HASS Project

The HASS project launched in June 2020, with 33 pilot shelters across the United States and Canada. These 33 shelters serve a combined total of more than 20 million people with an estimated total of more than 11.3 million pets. And our project is constantly growing with the new opportunity to become a HASS Partner Organization.

30 Working Groups

The HASS Working Groups are made up of animal welfare and human support services professionals across the world. They come together to tackle specific topics and barriers around changing the face of animal sheltering as we know it.

1,500+ Animal Welfare Professionals

Over 1,500 animal welfare professionals across the world are involved with HASS, meeting weekly in working group calls, Job-Alikes, and in other purposeful gatherings to collaborate, share ideas, and drive the Human Animal Support Services project forward.​

12 Educational Toolkits

12 educational toolkits so far in HASS Pro Resources are being developed by industry leaders on urgent topics like: Keeping Families Together through evictions; lost pet reunification; supported self-rehoming; and more.


A Job-Alike gives animal welfare professionals weekly opportunities to network with peers doing the same work, to discuss common issues, ask questions, brainstorm solutions, and share program ideas .

And we are growing still! The project is now, for the first time since our launch, opening up to new partner organizations. We’d love to include you! Join our movement. Get involved.

Find out more here>>

Human Animal Support Services Is Spreading Worldwide

Take a look through the map below to see all the organizations  involved in the Human Animal Support Services Project.

The HASS Strategic Goals

Create a truly collaborative, industry-wide voice for change.

Use evidence to drive and support community-based animal services.

Incorporate the HASS Elements into communities everywhere.

Change the laws, ordinances, and regulations that impede the successful implementation of HASS elements.

Position diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of animal services work.

The HASS Project Cycle

The HASS Project cycle illustrates the phases and projects of the HASS strategic plan. Our team, partner organizations and working groups have been hard at work on the creation of HASS and making it a sustainable model. As we advance and open the HASS project up to more partner organizations, we’re moving into phase 3, the education and implementation phase of the cycle. We’re always learning from our partner communities, making modifications, and testing new programs, refining the HASS model. Click on each section of the cycle to see what the phases are and the milestones within each phase.

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