The Washington County Humane Society was formed in West Bend in January, 1960, when Helen Ziegler and twenty-six people who were concerned about the well being of the county’s animals got together. It was a totally volunteer organization whose members responded to lost or stray animal calls.
In 1968, the organization was incorporated.
WCHS originally shuttled strays to the Milwaukee shelter, but because of the large number of animals in Milwaukee, the chances of adoption were not good. In 1978, the shelter opened its present 2-acre site beside the Polk Town Hall on State Road 60 sandwiched between Jackson and Slinger. Animals now had a home where they were protected and cared for, and where owners could reclaim their lost pets. During its first year of operation, the shelter cared for less than 1,000 animals, and for many years, this facility adequately served the animal population of Washington County.
The needs of the shelter continued to grow, and in 1994, a capital campaign began.
Although WCHS had always emphasized education, and had a history of doing school visits and civic presentations, a formal program was designed in 1995. Romp With The Animals, a summer school program, has since gained popularity and Reading with Rover has been developed in area libraries.
The animals moved into the new addition in August 1996. The facility is now energy efficient, safe for the animals and staff, and welcoming to the public. The building is constructed of concrete and steel, and kennel size for the dogs was increased. An enclosed courtyard allows canine residents to freely run and play with staff, volunteers, and prospective owners.
A crematorium was added in 1998, and we offer group and private cremations to the public, as well as area veterinarians.
The administrative offices are located in the old portion of the building which was renovated in 2002, and the original dog training facility continues to provide a source of income through low-cost training classes, fundraisers, and room rentals.
The Village of Richfield is the first Municipality to recognize the experience and resources of the Humane Society for handling animal complaints, and appoints the WCHS Humane Officer for their village.
WCHS runs a pilot Trap, Neuter, Return program at the Green Valley Mobile Home Park in Jackson. Due to the high success of the program, WCHS decides to pursue a permanent program at the shelter.
Using grant money from the Thomas J. Rolfs Foundation WCHS starts the current Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program for feral cats.
WCHS reaches beyond the shelter doors to combat the rising amount of stray cats in the area by starting the Barn Buddies program. Geared towards friendly barn cats, the program offers a low cost spaying and neutering to local residents.
Everyone involved with The Washington County Humane Society feels proud about all we have accomplished so much over the years. We are a member of the Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, and are proud of our cooperative relationships with shelters around the state. We believe that working together strengthens all of us and continually moves us closer to a better world for the animals in our care. We couldn’t have done any of this without our amazing supporters, so we are eternally grateful for their continued support.