Our History

The Columbia Humane Society was formed in 1943 to provide shelter and care for Columbia’s abandoned animals. Originating in a little structure on Creasy Springs Road, the organization has grown into today’s Central Missouri Humane Society, a regional animal welfare agency caring for thousands of animals annually and providing veterinary services for low-income pet owners.

Our Mission

Welcome to CMHS! The Central Missouri Humane Society exists to prevent and alleviate suffering and uncontrolled reproduction of companion animals with emphasis on public education, adoption and providing basic veterinary services for under-served pet owners.


1943: The Columbia Humane Society is formed.

1968: Renamed the Central Missouri Humane Society and recognized as a nonprofit.

1976: New shelter is built at 616 Big Bear Blvd.

1988: Building addition to house more kennels.

2009: Won the Zootoo.com Shelter Makeover Competition.

Did you know?

  • In 2015, our shelter at 616 Big Bear Blvd. took in 3,143 unwanted animals.
  • Our primary goal is to find caring, lasting homes for every adoptable animal; we place more animals than any other humane organization in central Missouri.
  • CMHS staff and volunteers care for more than 200 animals daily.
  • The most important way to reduce the unwanted pet population is through spay/neuter; last year our veterinary facility (that primarily serves economically disadvantaged members of the community) spayed or neutered 2,832 animals.
  • We expand our limited shelter capacity through the kindness of over 100 foster caregivers; approximately 300 volunteers augment our shelter staff.
  • CMHS has a contract with the City of Columbia to care and seek homes for dogs picked up by Animal Control and not claimed by owners within a seven-day period.
  • We are not affiliated with any national humane organizations and generate our funding primarily through private donations.  It costs over $17,000 per week to run the shelter.
  • CMHS partners with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, Shelter Medicine program to offer Intern opportunities for veterinarians interested in pursuing Shelter Medicine as a specialty.