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The Ruff Report: News about humane societies

New approach to help curb pet surrender

A Texas humane society is hoping to reduce the number of animals surrendered to it by providing free behavioral advice to pet parents.

The Waco Humane Society & Animal Shelter has hired a full-time behaviorist to help pet owners with animal-etiquette situations that result in some deciding to give up their animals, the Tribune-Herald reports.

Karen Froehlich, the society’s director, says about 70 percent of pets dropped off at the shelter are left because of behavioral issues such as excessive barking, jumping and running away. Most pets’ negative actions can be stopped, regardless of an animal’s age or background, she said.

"There are so many options other than just surrendering," Froehlich told the newspaper. "Some of the behavior can be fixed in a day."

So the shelter has hired Sandy Wittliff, who owns seven rescue dogs and three "grand-dogs," to answer pet parents' questions by phone or e-mail.Wittliff is also a registered "pet partner" through Delta Society, a nonprofit group that tries to bridge relationships between animals and humans.

"Dogs get 95 percent of their information from our body language," Wittliff explains. "Words don’t mean jack to them. It’s all about body language and your tone of voice. That’s it."

Visit for more information about the humane society's new initiative. (December 27, 2008)

Florida humane society receives accolades

A Florida humane society has received recognition from a leading charity evaluator in the United States.

The Suncoast Humane Society of Englewood was cited for fiscal soundness by Charity Navigator, the humane society reports on its web site.

"We are proud to announce Suncoast Humane Society has received our 4-star rating for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances," Ken Berger, president and CEO of Chairty Navigator wrote in a letter to the humane society.

Only 25 percent of the organization's reviewed by Chairty Navigator receive the highest rating, Berger states. "Suncoast Humane Society executes it mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America. ... and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust," he states.

Visit for more information about the Suncoast Humane Society. (December 20, 2008)

Gift helps humane society realize dream

The Humane Society of North Iowa must have had a premonition when it named its fund-raising campaign to build a new animal shelter in Mason "Making Miracles Happen."

A miracle of sorts happened during the society's efforts to raise $1 million in the form of an anonymous matching gift offer of $500,000, the Globe Gazette of Mason reports.

"We are excited to finally see our dream of a new shelter become a reality," Humane Society Board President Stacy Rooney told the newspaper. "As a nonprofit organization that relies solely on individual donations and grant dollars, this is a big moment for us."

The new shelter will adjoin the city of Mason's new stray animal shelter, which is managed by the humane society. (
December 6, 2008)

Pet rescue made a little easier in Kansas

The Kansas Humane Society has started a program that allows people to help a shelter animal even if they are unable to adopt one.

The "Sponsor Me" program allows people to make donation to help pay for surgeries or special care for animals, The Wichita Eagle reports.

"If you see an animal on our site and you want to help them, but you can't take them home, you can make a financial gift to help care for them," Jennifer Campbell, a shelter official, told the newspaper. "It's kind of a virtual adoption."

Every animal available for adoption at the humane society has a "Sponsor Me" button by its photo on the organization's web site, Campbell said. The average gift has been $25, but some donors have given as much as $300 or $400, she said.

The Kansas Humane Society needs new sources of donations to care for the animals, Campbell said. "We look to take in 18,000 animals this year," she said. "Two years ago it was 14,500."

Visit for more information about the program. (November 29, 2008)

S.C. humane society has a thrifty idea

The economic slowdown has meant fewer donations for many animal welfare organizations, but a South Carolina humane society is hoping to cash in on the hard financial times.

The Humane Society of York County is planning to open a thrift store located behind the organization's office in Fort Mill."

Donations are down, adoptions are down," Elaine Siegel, who's coordinating the opening, told the Fort Mill Times. "That's why we're so excited about the thrift store."

A recent yard sale at the Fort Mill office brought in $600, so the humane society realized a thrift shop has the potential to raise more money, Siegal said, because more people are using them in these difficult economic times.

"There are a lot of humane societies that have these shops," she said. "The one in Lake Wylie does about $1,500 every Saturday."

The store will be open on Saturdays, but it may expand hours if demand exists."We will do clothes, household goods, toys, baby stuff," Siegel said. "If it's decent, we'll take it," Siegel said.

The humane society costs $17,000 per month to maintain, and money raised through thrift store sales will be used to help fund its operations.

Visit for more information about the Humane Society of York County. (November 29, 2008)

Minnesota humane society gets financially creative

A Minnesota animal humane society has turned to a profit-making venture to support its nonprofit pet projects.

The Animal Humane Society is turning a vacant office-warehouse near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport into an upscale, 24-hour pet boarding and dog daycare facility, Finance and Commerce of Minneapolis reports. The facility, called Now Boarding, will have indoor and outdoor play and exercise areas, training, and a spa and grooming area equipped with a therapy pool and massage services.

The new business will operate as a for-profit subsidiary of the Animal Humane Society and generate money for the society’s nonprofit programs, said Janelle Dixon, president and CEO of the Animal Humane Society. "It’s important, especially in these economic times, to look at diversity of funding," she said.

The Animal Humane Society is the largest animal welfare organization in the Upper Midwest and one of the five largest in the nation, according to society spokeswoman Deb Balzer. Its largest facility is in Golden Valley, but it also has locations in Coon Rapids, Woodbury, Buffalo, and St. Paul.
(October 25, 2008)

$6 million Ohio animal shelter has all the perks

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has opened a new $6 million shelter in Ohio that features a dog-obedience training room, meeting rooms, outdoor exercise areas and an animal art gallery.

The shelter in Sharonville provides more space than an antiquated shelter it replaces that was built in 1964, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Each dog has its own kennel instead of sharing space, and the kennels have glass doors instead of chain-link fence fronts.

"It doesn’t look like a doggy jail," SPCA president said Harold Dates told the newspaper."This place is nice. It’s more elegant looking," said Camille White of South Fairmount, whose family adopted a 2-month-old Beagle.

White, her husband, Eric, and children, Erica, 14, and Cameron, 11, bonded with the dog after spending time with the puppy in one of four "get-acquainted rooms" at the center."I’m glad we were able to take him aside and have a chance to look at the personality of the dog in private," Camille White said. (October 4, 2008)

Montana humane society to build new shelter

A Montana humane society is trying to raise $5 million to build a new pet shelter that will accommodate 90 dogs and 176 cats.

The Lewis and Clark Humane Society plans to build the shelter to serve the greater Helena area. It also will have space for spay and neuter clinics, pet training sessions and workshops on responsible pet ownership, the Queen City News reports.

"Our expanded facility will enable the Lewis and Clark Humane Society to make an evolutionary transition from an intervention facility to a prevention facility," society official Dan Anderson told the newspaper. "We will be adding educational and training components to increase our animal’s success of being placed for adoption through training and other means."

Society officials say the existing shelter, originally built in the 1960s, can no longer meet the needs of the area’s rapidly growing human and pet population.

The City of Helena will lease a 10-acre site to the society for $10 a year, and the society’s board has hired one of the top animal shelter architectural firms, Daggett and Griggs, to design the new 17,800-square-foot shelter to fit the property. (September 20, 2008)

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