Riverwest and the Wisconsin Humane Society

humane-cat.jpg by Barry Ashenfelter

The Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) has been caring for and saving sick, injured, and homeless animals in our community for 125 years. WHS provides top-quality, cost-effective services to people and animals. It is the largest animal shelter in Wisconsin, and one of the largest, and most respected, in the United States. The Wisconsin Humane Society provides lifesaving care and services for over 15,000 abandoned, homeless, injured and orphaned animals every year. More than 40,000 people visited our shelter in 2002, many from the Riverwest area. Since 2000, more than 500 animals have been brought to WHS from Riverwest. Nearly 600 companions from WHS have been adopted into loving homes in the neighborhood. And, currently, 17 great volunteers from Riverwest are lending their skills to help the animals at WHS. A review of some of the work the Humane Society did last year: Saving Lives 100% of adoptable animals found loving homes in 2002. Many of these animals needed and received extensive medical treatment. Thousands of injured, ailing, and orphaned wild animals, some rare and endangered, were rescued and released. Cultivating Kindness The Wisconsin Humane Society is actively involved in community life through our outreach, education and advocacy programs. Humane educators and animal behaviorists worked extensively with children and adults to promote responsible companion animal care and instill an ethic of empathy towards animals. Wildlife advocates promote humane solutions to local animal issues. Ending Suffering WHS provides lifesaving medical care to thousands of sick and wounded animals. Low or no-cost veterinary services were provided last year for hundreds of low-income families and individuals. Animal welfare advocates worked with local partners to prevent violence against animals and people, and pushed for improved animal protection laws. Sheltering with Dignity The Wisconsin Humane Society provides a safe, comfortable and healthy living environment for all shelter animals. The environs are also pleasing and welcoming to potential adopters and other visitors. Extensive care, training, and socialization services are readily available. Ending Pet Overpopulation Pet overpopulation is the single largest cause of animal suffering nationwide. Over 20,000 kittens and puppies are born each day in the United States. Many never find a permanent home. Cats are particularly at risk in Milwaukee. Tragically, there are thousands of free roaming, stray, and feral — cats that are completely unsocialized — in the Riverwest area. Spaying or neutering, a surgical sterilization technique for companion animals, is the only humane way to end the tragedy of pet overpopulation. Spaying or neutering also has many positive health and behavioral benefits. All animals adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society are spayed or neutered and have received other top-quality veterinary services. The Wisconsin Humane Society regularly helps pets from low income households through the Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). To see if you qualify, contact 414/431-6205. Appointments are available in December. To help ease suffering for cats, the Wisconsin Humane Society and the Milwaukee Area Veterinary Medical Association have teamed up to spay or neuter one hundred cats on Spay Day, Tuesday, February 24, 2004. Call 414-ANIMALS for more information about Spay Day. Barry Ashenfelter is the WHS Community Relations Director.
by Barry Ashenfelter