By historic definition, a humane society endeavors to end human and animal suffering. Since their inception in the late 1800's the mission of these organizations has drifted or evolved to focus on finding homes for every dog and cat without a home or in need of human care. We call them companion animals, but so many dogs and cats live without the comfort and safety provided by a human caregiver.
The tragic pet overpopulation crisis used to require that we euthanize many animals which have been lost, abandoned or relinquished as unwanted. It is not necessarily the case anymore, especially here in Oregon. Collectively, lost, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats account for as many as 8 million companion pets nationwide. Fortunately, shelters, many of which are run by local, independently funded humane societies, provide transitional, temporary homes for these pets in need.
By accident or intention, progressive modern day humane societies also devote attention to human welfare needs because they consider the human condition and cater to the needs of specific and sometimes special demographics of people.