Humane Rescue Alliance

Advocating for animal-friendly communities. Strengthening the animal-human bond.

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Humane Rescue Alliance

The Humane Rescue Alliance has protected and cared for the animals of the nation’s capital for more than 150 years. We support families and advocate for positive change to create a world where all animals can thrive. We enrich the humanity of our communities by promoting compassion and encouraging people to find joy, comfort, and companionship through the love and appreciation of animals.

In July 2019 the Humane Rescue Alliance and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center of Madison, New Jersey, merged to create the first regional, community-based, multi-state animal welfare organization in the nation.

The combined group provides direct rescue and care of animals in need, cruelty investigations and local animal control services, robust regional community support programs that allow pets to stay with their families, and a premier transport program that invests in partner communities to solve pet overpopulation sustainably and nationwide.

Lisa LaFontaine, President and CEO of the Humane Rescue Alliance and a nationally-recognized leader in animal welfare, leads the combined organization as President and CEO.

“By unifying two industry-leading organizations, we are building an alliance that can tackle the systemic challenges facing animals in our region and beyond, with the goal of saving more lives,” said LaFontaine.


History of the Humane Rescue Alliance

In 2016 the Humane Rescue Alliance was established by the historic merger of two iconic animal welfare organizations: the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL).

Both organizations have more than a century of experience protecting, rescuing, and caring for animals in the District of Columbia. WHS was established in 1870 as the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States while WARL, founded in 1914, operated the first animal shelter in the nation’s capital. Over the decades, thousands of animals—and people—have benefited from WHS and WARL programs and services.

Building on the success of these organizations and bringing together their progressive programs and services, the Humane Rescue Alliance now provides area residents with a single destination for animal-related needs, whether it is a search for a new companion to join their family, financial assistance with veterinary care or pet food, assistance with behavioral problems, vaccination or spay/neuter services or help from officers for a lost, injured, or abused animal.

We hope to serve as a model for other animal welfare organizations and to create a community where there is a loving home for every unwanted animal, affordable medical care for every sick and injured animal, an end to animal abuse and cruelty, and stronger bonds between animals and people through education and training.


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