RAS and Human Animal Support Services



Reimagine Sheltering Old Model v New Model   

Human Animal Support Services (HASS) is a new, international coalition of shelters and animal welfare organizations that are reimagining sheltering by promoting community involvement and helping people and pets stay together. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of animals who unnecessarily enter the shelter by refocusing efforts, resources, and support to offer community-based solutions.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, Rochester Animal Services, like many other shelters, was supported by animal lovers who fostered pets, adopted, and helped lost animals get back to their homes. This support gave animal welfare organizations the opportunity to collaborate with our communities in new ways and has allowed us to create a better model of animal services. To learn more about the collaborative movement, check out the HASS website and video.

Our Commitment to the Community

Pets for Life  

Pets for Life addresses the critical lack of accessible and affordable animal welfare services, resources, and information for people and pets in underserved communities. In the  Rochester Pets for Life program focus area, more than 50% of people live below the poverty line with little or no access to pet care services.

Community Vet Care

Rochester's Animal Services Center houses a community veterinary clinic open to the public by appointment. The clinic offers a wide range of pet services, from pet wellness appointments to lab services, digital x-rays, and surgery for owned pets. The clinic also offers no-cost spay/neuter surgeries to help owned pets and community cats live happy and healthy lives. 

Building Community Support

We envision a new world of animal services, where most pets are housed in homes and communities, not in the shelter. In this reimagined system, the role of animal services is to keep pets with their families. We want to get pets home quickly and help families who are struggling to meet their pets’ needs.

          Lost Pet Reunification         

The organization operates a comprehensive lost pet reunification service to successfully get most roaming pets home without them having to enter the shelter system.                  

Pets physically entering the shelter have outcome pathways identified before or at the time of intake, so in-shelter length of stay is drastically reduced.
Pet Support Services    
Pet owners can access pet support services, including housing, medical and behavioral support, as well as food and supplies, to help keep the human-animal family together.
Supported Self-rehoming 
Pet owners who can no longer keep their pets are given the tools to safely and quickly rehome their own pets with ongoing support from shelter staff or volunteers.
Field Services & Public Safety    
Animal control and field services protect public health and safety, enforce animal ordinances, and aim to address the root causes of animal problems. They provide support, information, access to care and      resources to the community.     
Role of the Shelter       
The core functions of the physical shelter are to provide emergency medical care and short term housing for pets with urgent needs and to ensure public safety and public health priorities are met.            
Community Partnerships 

Human social services agencies, veterinary practices, rescue groups and other community partners work closely with the animal services organization, treating people and animals as a family unit.
Foster-Centric Housing
The majority of pets who enter the shelter system are placed in foster homes within hours or days of arrival and foster pets are adopted directly from their foster homes.
Volunteer Integration 

Volunteers are engaged in every area of operations and play a key role in implementation and creation of HASS.
Case Management 

 Animal services personnel serve as trained case managers, helping people keep their pets; providing resources and support to struggling pet owners; and assisting owners who need to rehome their pets, and helping people find missing or lost pets.

Remote Customer Service

Customers will be able to reach the organization quickly and easily using remote technologies like text, phone and web chats.


Myths vs Facts Infographic

Media Release - City Animal Services Making Changes as Part of National Coalition

Media Release - Rochester Animal Services Distributes Microchip Scanners to Reunite Lost Pets With Owners

Media Release - Keeping Lost Dogs In Neighborhoods Best Way to Get Them Home

Media Release - City Announces Home to Home to Give Pets a Smoother Transition Into a New Home


Pets and Animals