About us

Our story

When our organization was founded in 1910, it was named after a London, England, animal welfare group called “Our Dumb Friends League.” In those days, the term “dumb” was widely used to refer to animals because they lacked the power of human speech. Today, the Dumb Friends League, headquartered in Denver, is the largest community-based animal welfare organization in the Rocky Mountain region—providing a strong and steadfast voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

As part of a compassionate community, we:

  • Rescue sick, injured and neglected animals
  • Investigate cases of neglect and mistreatment
  • Provide shelter, veterinary care, and behavior and training programs to homeless companion animals and horses
  • Adopt homeless pets and horses to new homes
  • Reduce pet overpopulation through mobile spay and neuter projects in underserved areas
  • Offer learning opportunities for the public to keep more pets in homes
  • Educate children and adults about animals and their needs


But we don’t do any of this alone.

We rely on individuals to bring us animals they can no longer care for, entrusting us with their pets. We rely on neighbors to report abuse and neglect. We rely on the Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society in our partnership to encourage lifelong veterinary care for pets. We rely on transfer and placement partners to ensure as many animals as possible find homes. We rely on the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance and the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies to stand beside us as we tackle animal welfare issues throughout our region. We rely on all members of our community to consider adoption when choosing a pet. And we rely on the generosity of our board, donors, adopters and volunteers as they help support an organization that provides continuity, strength and, above all, compassion for our community. 

Over the years, we have been able to significantly reduce the number of homeless pets, find homes for more pets, and support an overall better quality of life for animals in the community. Throughout our history, the benevolent Denver metro community and beyond has helped sustain the organization so we can fulfill our mission. We are eternally grateful for the community’s trust in the Dumb Friends League and its support of the animals we serve.

Who we are

We are a leading adoption organization.

The Dumb Friends League has one of the highest placement rates of homeless pets in the country among shelters of our size. In the last year alone, 17,656 pets and 88 equines were adopted, reunited or transferred to placement partners or impounding agencies. Our goal, by 2018 or sooner, is to reach a 90 percent or greater placement rate for all cats and dogs that come to us for rehoming. We are already way ahead of schedule. Every day, we strive to increase the number of pets saved through our "humane equation."

We are a pre-emptive care organization.

We have no set time limit for how long a pet can remain in our care. We use veterinary services, behavior programs, foster programs, special-needs adoption programs and placement partners to give as many pets as possible a second chance at a happy life in a new home.

We are a no-suffering organization.

We strive to relieve animal suffering, always keeping in mind the needs of the animal first. In some cases, this may lead to euthanasia, and may be at the request of pet owners who do not have or cannot afford veterinary care. At no time do we take the ending of a pet’s life lightly. Our staff devotes itself, just as a loving owner or veterinarian would, to treating each pet as a unique living being that deserves respect, care and love. We do not euthanize healthy animals.

We are a preventative organization.

We know, that to reduce the number of homeless pets entering our doors, we must focus on preventative measures. In our shelters, we microchip and spay/neuter the pets in our care. In the community, we offer subsidized spay/neuter services to underserved areas through the metro area, teach compassion and understanding of animals through our humane education programs, and work in conjunction with law enforcement to stop abuse and educate pet owners on responsible pet ownership.

We are a collaborative organization.

To better reach and impact our community, the Dumb Friends League is a proud partner of the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance (MDSA), a coalition of 25 public and private shelters, rescue groups and other animal-service providers committed to saving pets and fostering responsible pet ownership and regular veterinary care. By coming together as an alliance, we are able to place as many shelter and rescue animals as possible into loving homes within the far-reaching areas we serve.

Our mission

The Dumb Friends League is committed to the welfare of animals:

  • We shall provide shelter and care for animals
  • We shall provide programs and services that enhance the bond between animals and people
  • We shall be advocates for animals, speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves