Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2007 and officially took over the sheltering of the City’s companion animals in 2009. It is a common misconception that the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter (YVAS) is a division of the City of Billings. While we do maintain a contract with the City to care for Billings’ lost/stray animals, we are separate entities. In fact, our City contract accounts for less than one-third of the shelter’s annual income, leaving us to raise the remainder of our budget through other means. In 2021, YVAS entered into a contract with the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office to house and reunite lost dogs. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide an open door policy to County cats at this time. We will accept cats from outside Billings city limits on a case-by-case basis, depending on adoptability and availability of space.
Over the last decade, YVAS has grown to become the largest shelter in Montana, intaking over 5,000 every year. Despite being one of the largest shelters in the state, YVAS has one of the smallest staff when compared to others in Montana; employing 5 part-time and 12 full-time staff members.
YVAS has also made many changes over the years; ever-evolving to provide the best care for animals and the people of the Billings community. Our current shelter programs include reuniting lost pets with their owners, adoption, foster care, volunteer, outreach & education, low-cost spay & neuter clinics, and our life-saving Working Cat Program. We have recently partnered with the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program to increase our lifesaving capacity and improve the health and wellbeing of the animals in the community.
“Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter is committed to the humane treatment of animals. We are considered an “open door” shelter. This means that we will turn no animal away that is from the city of Billings regardless of health, temperament, or age. Because we understand that all animals come to us under the care and compassion of someone, we also are committed to the people involved in the care and welfare of these animals.”