Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Saving lives since 1924.

aka Houston SPCA   |   Houston, TX   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

EIN: 74-1287171


To promote commitment to and respect for all animals and to free them from suffering, abuse and exploitation.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Ms. Patricia E. Mercer

Main address

7007 Old Katy Road

Houston, TX 77024 USA

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Subject area info

Wildlife biodiversity

Animal welfare

Veterinary medicine

Human-animal interactions

Environmental education

Population served info

Children and youth



Economically disadvantaged people

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Houston SPCA aims to address the animal welfare needs of Houston and the surrounding areas, namely: animal abuse/neglect, stray animals, wildlife injury, animal overpopulation, and more.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sheltering, Adoptions and Foster Care

The Houston SPCA, a nonprofit organization founded in 1924, provides the most comprehensive array of animal adoption, shelter, rescue, rehabilitation, and other programs and services in the Gulf Coast region, including Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties. Our menu of programs and services includes sheltering, adoptions, foster care, spay/neuter of all adopted animals, cruelty investigations, disaster relief, rescue, and recovery, 24-hour injured animal rescue ambulance, humane education, summer and holiday camps for children, PetSafe (providing free shelter and care for pets of individuals or families fleeing violence), and a shelter medicine and animal welfare partnership with Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

We provide services for more than 40,000 animals each year, including dogs and cats, horses and farm animals, small mammals, exotic species, and native wildlife.

We place 100% of our healthy animals into new homes. Animals are never euthanized for space (to make room for an incoming animal) or time limits. Last year, we helped over 6,660 animals get adopted.

Thousands of orphaned, sick or injured animals receive temporary shelter, love, and care in volunteer foster homes before placement. The Houston SPCA also fosters healthy adoptable animals when space is needed for incoming dogs, cats and small mammals. Foster care typically lasts anywhere from 7-10 days, or as long as 6-8 weeks. While animals are being fostered, the Houston SPCA provides the medical care, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, crates and linens, so that our volunteers can concentrate on helping the animal become well, without worrying about financial stressors. In 2017, over 2,300 animals were nurtured and cared for by our foster volunteers.

All animals adopted from the Houston SPCA are spayed or neutered prior to placement.

Population(s) Served

Humane education. Humane education is the teaching of respect, kindness and compassion in relation to animal welfare, social justice and environmental issues. It brings forth the desire and capability to live with compassion, integrity and wisdom, and can give the knowledge and skills to take action in meaningful ways that allow humans to live in a kinder world. The Houston SPCA provides free, TEKS-aligned presentations and lesson plans to all area schools. In 2015, we provided lessons for 4,996 students. We also offer 12 weeks of Critter Camp for children ages 8-14. Last year, 779 children attended Critter Camp. We also offer a Boy Scout Dog Care merit badge and a Girl Scout Paw Patch. Last year, 898 scouts and 395 troop leaders/parents participated in scouting programs at the Houston SPCA.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Cruelty Investigations: The Houston SPCA Cruelty Investigations department is staffed by nine full-time cruelty investigators. In 2015, the Houston SPCA Cruelty Investigations team responded to over 7,000 reports of animal abuse and neglect and was able to intervene on the behalf of 22,000 animals. They drove a total of 124,790 miles protecting the innocent. The work of the Cruelty Investigations team is featured globally on Animal Planet’s “Animal Cops: Houston” television show.

24-Hour Injured Animal Rescue Ambulance: The Houston SPCA is the only agency in Houston and the surrounding area that provides an injured animal ambulance and rescue service 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays. In 2015, our injured animal rescue technicians rescued 3,404 animals from danger and distress.

Disaster Response: he Houston SPCA is also the region’s lead nonprofit agency responsible for animal-related disaster rescue, relief and resources. Our reach is wide, as we are called to step in when hurricanes, fires, and storms ravage the region and throughout the state of Texas. We have lent our assistance in such emergencies as the Great Houston Flood of 2015; Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike; the Gulf Oil spill of 2010; and the Tri-County Wildfires of 2011.

Population(s) Served

PetSafe: The PetSafe program allows families to flee from domestic violence without being forced to abandon their much-loved pets to a violent or life-threatening environment. Through PetSafe, animals are given temporary boarding, veterinary care, vaccinations and spaying/neutering while their families work towards re-establishing a safe, stable life. PetSafe exists through a partnership between the Houston SPCA and local women and family shelters.

aniMeals on Wheels: The aniMeals on Wheels program exists as a partnership between Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston and the Houston SPCA. Through aniMeals, low-income, housebound seniors enrolled in the Meals on Wheels program receive free dog and cat food for their pets. No longer do Houston’s elderly have to make the difficult choice between feeding themselves or feeding their beloved companion animals. The Houston SPCA provides donated food for aniMeals on Wheels.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Approximately 150 fourth-year veterinary students from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences participate in a required, graded two-week Shelter Medicine and Animal Welfare rotation on our campus annually. The goal of the partnership is to provide students with a broad range of high-quality training experiences, under expert supervision, to ensure that they are well prepared for the variety of challenges they will face as practicing veterinarians. The rotation provides an invaluable learning experience, exposing students to many different conditions, diseases, disorders, injuries, and treatment needs that affect diverse species. Students learn how to manage a high-volume caseload in a high-quality manner. As a result of the partnership, future veterinarians will be more knowledgeable about the full spectrum of animal treatment and welfare, including rescue and forensics investigations – and will be better equipped to respond to community needs.

Population(s) Served

All animals are spayed or neutered prior to placement. Our highly-skilled Veterinary Services Team is often called to provide emergency, urgent or critical care medical service to our animals, especially those who come to us through Cruelty Investigations or Injured Animal Rescue. Last year, our talented team performed over 7,000 spay/neuter surgeries and life-saving medical procedures.

Population(s) Served

The Houston SPCA's Wildlife Center of Texas is Houston’s only trauma and wildlife rehabilitation center that treats all injured, sick or orphaned native Texas wildlife. Last year, more than 10,000 native wild animals representing 350 different species arrived at The Wildlife Center of Texas in need of treatment and care.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Houston SPCA's primary goal is to save animals.

Earned Revenue
Increase overall revenue and diversify funding sources by developing new sources of earned revenue to supplement fees already generated through adoptions and other services.

Animal Cruelty
Reinforce position as the leader in animal cruelty investigations in the greater Houston area.

Public Awareness and Reputation
Change public understanding and awareness of the Houston SPCA, re-establish as a market leader in promoting mission of commitment to and respect for all animals.

Expand Board of Directors to be comprised of enough leaders with the energy, passion for the mission, expertise, and relationships needed to advance the Houston SPCA’s mission.

Increase the amount of money raised each year to meet growing needs.

Capital Campaign and New Campus
Complete capital campaign and construct Phase 2 of improved Houston SPCA campus.

Wildlife Center
Fully integrate Wildlife Center operations with Houston SPCA

The Houston SPCA is the largest and oldest animal welfare agency in Houston, caring for over 40,000 animals per year and conducting thousands of life-saving surgeries. The organization's reach is far beyond the city of Houston; other counties served in Texas are Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller. Its subsidiary, the Wildlife Center of Texas, allows the Houston SPCA to widen its scope even further, as the Center is prepared to respond to oil spills affecting wildlife along the Gulf Coast, as well as in Louisiana and Mississippi. Together, the two organizations are able to address the needs of ALL species of animals, making the Houston SPCA more than capable of its mission to promote commitment to and respect for animals.

The Houston SPCA was named a "Harvey Hero" by the Greater Heights Chamber of Commerce in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey. The organization saved hundreds of animals during the storm and reunited them with their owners.

The Houston SPCA recently completed its "More than Shelter" capital campaign, which saw the construction of a new Adoption Center, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, green spaces, dog parks, and more. The organization is currently in the second phase of its campaign, "Medical Center for All Animals," which will see the construction of a Veterinary Medical Center, farm animal stables, an outdoor flight cage, and more.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2022 Houston SPCA - Financial Audit 2022 2021 Houston SPCA - Financial Audit 2021
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 10.02 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 18% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$2,871,605 $8,787,074 $1,530,938 $2,940,937 $9,751,565
As % of expenses -27.2% 78.4% 14.4% 26.0% 71.0%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$3,576,435 $7,636,015 $53,501 $1,415,410 $8,299,799
As % of expenses -31.7% 61.8% 0.4% 11.0% 54.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $14,464,744 $14,789,366 $12,037,969 $14,858,665 $27,506,920
Total revenue, % change over prior year -35.8% 2.2% -18.6% 23.4% 85.1%
Program services revenue 6.3% 4.0% 2.8% 4.0% 5.4%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 4.1% 3.2% 2.4% 2.0% 1.2%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 7.7% 10.5%
All other grants and contributions 77.8% 77.0% 72.2% 74.1% 81.1%
Other revenue 11.8% 15.8% 22.6% 12.2% 1.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $10,560,836 $11,209,341 $10,621,956 $11,312,959 $13,741,560
Total expenses, % change over prior year 3.4% 6.1% -5.2% 6.5% 21.5%
Personnel 51.2% 53.2% 49.0% 41.6% 50.2%
Professional fees 12.8% 10.0% 13.8% 4.9% 9.0%
Occupancy 2.5% 2.4% 4.1% 4.0% 3.5%
Interest 3.4% 4.1% 3.0% 2.1% 0.6%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 30.0% 30.3% 30.1% 47.3% 36.7%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $11,265,666 $12,360,400 $12,099,393 $12,838,486 $15,193,326
One month of savings $880,070 $934,112 $885,163 $942,747 $1,145,130
Debt principal payment $0 $1,135,674 $412,435 $1,247,518 $6,873,296
Fixed asset additions $11,364,819 $8,092,193 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $23,510,555 $22,522,379 $13,396,991 $15,028,751 $23,211,752

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 0.8 0.5 1.3 1.2 6.0
Months of cash and investments 25.4 17.9 19.6 22.5 18.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 22.0 20.3 22.5 22.9 21.0
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $662,113 $444,568 $1,150,198 $1,098,387 $6,862,191
Investments $21,714,227 $16,254,804 $16,196,473 $20,145,598 $14,698,905
Receivables $3,469,792 $6,132,246 $5,888,559 $4,030,270 $4,849,536
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $47,934,478 $55,532,922 $55,599,686 $55,401,028 $55,764,487
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 9.3% 9.2% 11.8% 14.1% 16.5%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 16.6% 14.3% 13.0% 11.3% 0.6%
Unrestricted net assets $53,185,562 $60,821,577 $60,875,078 $62,290,488 $70,590,287
Temporarily restricted net assets $3,599,150 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $1,218,312 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $4,817,462 $2,282,615 $2,223,097 $2,545,497 $2,239,923
Total net assets $58,003,024 $63,104,192 $63,098,175 $64,835,985 $72,830,210

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President & CEO

Ms. Patricia E. Mercer

Patricia Mercer has been at the helm of the region’s first and largest animal protection organization for the past 33 years. Her innovative programming has increased lifesaving and reduced shelter admissions by 40% since 1996. Under her tutelage, the Houston SPCA has grown from a small shelter on Studemont Street to the only animal protection organization in the U.S. which cares for all species of animals on one central campus. Mercer is one of the early leaders of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) organization, which is a national association dedicated to developing animal welfare leaders throughout the US, Canada and beyond. She has had multiple tenures on the board of directors and served as Vice President. She also served on the development committee to create the first certification exam and standards for Certified Animal Welfare Administrators.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Tommy Harper

Patricia E. Mercer

Houston SPCA

Adam Adams

One Arm Red

Connie M. Bergen

Zane Carruth

Laird M. Doran

L. D. Eckermann

Westbury Animal Clinic

Annie Graham

Kandace G. Longoria

Martha Seng

Jackson & Ryan Architects

Douglas E. Clarke

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/30/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser