Animal lovers have the opportunity to give the gift of shelter this holiday season, with the Humane Society caring for countless loving, domestic pets in need of a home.

“The animals are affectionate and loving, and they are incredibly loyal,” explained Kaitlyn Janak, resource development director for the Sioux Falls Humane Society. “When you adopt through us, you’re saving an animal’s life, giving them the opportunity to live in a home where they are cared for.”

The holiday season is a popular time for pet adoption, but the staff at the Humane Society stresses the importance in the animal’s owner being involved. Lavern Aventi, Humane Society of the Black Hills kennel manager, emphasizes the significance in adopting an animal. “We ask that owners please be sure they are ready to adopt. These animals will become a part of your family, but they require a lot of work. This is not a part time job.”

HSBH front office supervisor Megan McNeill added, “There might be an adjustment period for both yourselves and the animal as you get used to each other’s habits, quirks and schedules. Animals require a lot of time and dedication, sometimes as much as a child, so we want to make sure our adopting families have the time and patience needed.”

The nation’s most notable animal protection organization takes care in placing their animals in the right home. Its open admission policy provides the shelter with a selection of dogs, cats, rabbits, and other common household pets. Evaluations are done by adoption advisors, helping determine the best fit for a home. Existing household pets are taken into consideration, and adopting families are offered a 24 hour hold to confirm their decision.

Unlike adopting through a breeder or pet store, the animals available at the Humane Society often come spayed or neutered, with vaccinations started and included in the adoption fee.

“We have fantastic pets here that couldn’t be in their previous home for many reasons, very few by a fault of their own,” said Aventi. “Many are already trained, and the consistent interaction they have with the staff ensures you’re finding a loving, life long friend.”

In addition to supporting the Humane Society through adoption, the organization provides the opportunity to volunteer, allowing animal lovers to spend time walking dogs, socializing with cats, and assisting with laundry. The Humane Society requires participants to be 16 years of age or older, asking for a commitment of four hours of volunteer time a month.

“Our volunteers are the backbone of the entire society,” emphasized Aventi. “We work with the most amazing and wonderful volunteers anyone could ask for. We couldn’t do what we do without them.”

The work the Humane Society is doing is life changing. As each location houses up to 200 animals at a time, the South Dakota Humane Society locations are saving the lives of thousands of animals each year. When asked what she loves about her job, Janak says the rewards outweigh the work. “These are loving animals who just want to be cared for, so there is no better feeling than when you see them find a family to go home to.”

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society and the Humane Society of the Black Hills are hosting a handful of fundraising events throughout December, including pet portraits, pub crawls, annual holiday events and a month-long Giving Tree. For more information on the specific location’s events, visit the SFAHS at, and the HSBH at

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