Humane Society of Southern Arizona Campaign Underway

By April Bourie –

$10 Million Animal Care Campus

About 72 years ago, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona was founded by a group of women who requested a donation from a local rancher who raced horses. “If my horse comes in first place in the next race, I will donate this property to you,” he told them. His horse won.

That location, 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd., south of the Rillito River and east of Country Club Road, has served as the Humane Society campus ever since, but the organization is quickly outgrowing it.

“Animal welfare has changed quite a bit in the last 72 years,” said Diana Cannon, HSSA chief development officer. “We have morphed into an inefficient campus at our current location. We’ve put new services in temporary buildings where they fit on our property, rather than in a location that makes sense. It really is a patchwork.”

The need for services has also grown. Cannon explained that in addition to animal admissions from individuals in Tucson, the nonprofit takes in 1,700 animals each year  from other animal organizations in Tucson, and even as far away as New Mexico.

To resolve these issues, HSSA is building a new campus at 635 W. Roger Road, less than one block west of Oracle Road, that will be more efficient and better serve the animal welfare needs of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

The Architecture Company was chosen in an extensive RFP process to design the new campus, which includes three main and distinct entrances:

• The Welcome Center, where people wanting to adopt animals enter

• The Admissions area, where the public can bring or search for lost pets

• The Clinic, which also has separate entrances for dogs and cats.

These distinct entrances reduce cross-contamination between all of the animals coming for various services, and they reduce wait times for Humane Society customers. Educational programs and special events will also be held at the new campus, something the current facility cannot easily accommodate.

“We are honored and proud to be able to serve our community, and this new facility is going to allow us to better meet the needs of our pet population,” Cannon said. “We can’t wait to begin this new chapter.”

“We are very fortunate to have Shelter Planners of America partnering with The Architecture Company on the design of our new campus,” said Brandy Burke, COO and acting CEO. “The new campus design incorporates the latest and best in animal sheltering and is going to significantly reduce the time it takes for a pet to find its forever home. The quicker we can help a pet get adopted, the more animals we can help. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The campus will also include more natural space with many mesquite trees for shade. Richard Fe Tom, owner of The Architecture Company, said that they took cues from the land in the design.

“The mesquites that were already located on the property provide shelter and food for the wild animals living in them,” Tom said. “HSSA also does this for the animals it takes in and cares for. We wanted to utilize these trees and expand on the natural aspects of the lot to allow the site to tell the story of the importance of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s mission and vision.”

A capital campaign has raised more than 60 percent of its $10 million goal. “Once we give a tour of our current campus to potential donors, it is easy for them to understand how great our need is,” Cannon said. The public phase of the capital campaign is scheduled to launch in January and will include billboards, television and radio, social media, digital advertising and email campaigns, according to Vanessa Ford, HSSA director of marketing and communications.

The $10 million will cover the entire cost of planning, design and construction, which is slated to begin in December and should be completed by late 2017. The capital campaign is necessary because HSSA doesn’t receive any government funding. “The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is a private 501(c)(3) organization that depends solely on the generosity of donors and foundations to operate and to build new facilities,” Burke said.

Anyone interested in learning more about 

the capital campaign should contact Diana Cannon at (520) 321-3704, ext. 117 


or donate online at

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