Our Story

Our mission

Working with our compassionate community, we will end pet homelessness and animal suffering.

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, compassionate 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 behavior20 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 Colorado Veterinary Medical Association 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 Animal Welfare 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.

Thanks to our compassionate community, the Dumb Friends League has achieved one of the highest placement rates for homeless pets in the country. In fiscal year 2016 alone, 19,218 pets and 108 equines were adopted, reunited or transferred to placement partners or impounding agencies. 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, transfer 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 do the right thing for every animal we receive, always keeping in mind the needs of the animal and the animal’s quality of life. In some cases, relieving an animal’s suffering may lead to euthanasia. 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 preventive organization.

We know that to reduce the number of homeless pets entering our doors, we must focus on preventive measures. In our shelters, we microchip and spay/neuter the pets in our care. In the community, we offer subsidized spay/neuter services to pets in underserved areas throughout metro Denver, teach compassion and understanding of animals through our humane education programs, and work in conjunction with law enforcement to stop neglect and mistreatment of animals 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 Animal Welfare Alliance (MDAWA), 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.