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

In continuous operation since 1943, the Central Missouri Humane Society promotes the well-being of companion animals – pets that enrich the lives of the people who love them.


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.