The Kentucky Humane Society was founded in 1884, making it over 130 years old with one mission in mind: to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats through adoption. In 2013 alone, KHS was able to aid nearly 6,500 pets in finding a home—their biggest adoption year in their outstanding history. KHS suggests these numbers were made possible by their efforts to spay and neuter pets, the training programs offered to all animals, and the thousands of volunteers/fosters that keep the organization going.
The Kentucky Humane Society has two major facilities where they can rehabilitate and train animals. The main campus (their largest facility) is open seven days a week for adoption and admissions while the east campus is open Monday through Friday. In addition to their two campuses, KHS also works out of several Feeder Supplies stores, where they have had the most success at adoptions occurring. In total, there are nine locations in the Louisville area that grant access to pet adoption. Addresses and hours may be found on their website at www.kyhumane.org/aboutus/locations. Often times KHS offers specials for pet adoption, such as one in the month of May which had larger dog’s adoption cost reduced by 50%, and all adult cats adoption costa lowered to only $20.
As mentioned above, KHS suggests a part of their success stems from their endless efforts to spay and neuter the animals so overpopulation decreases. Each year, more than 11,000 animals are “fixed,” and many through the KHS run program, S.N.I.P. (Spay/Neuter Incentive Program). Since opening in 2007, more than 60,000 animals have been spayed or neutered. They even offer special payment plans, including those for college students. In addition to this clinic, KHS supports T-N-R, or trap and release spaying/neutering, especially to impact the growing population of cats, who, because of litter size, have a higher stray population than dogs. KHS also offers free service to neuter or spay pit-bulls, or pit-mixes that are second to cats in the over-population category.
While reducing the number of animals in the streets, KHS also takes in dogs or cats so that they can be both emotionally and physically rehabilitated. Sometimes strays or abandoned animals have suffered trauma, illness, or lack of contact with people. In these situations KHS, through their extensive training and fostering programs, many pets are able to be placed for adoption upon completion of one of the programs. Fostering is a volunteer service in which a person takes on temporary ownership of an animal that is deemed particularly “needy.” This can be a kitten or puppy that still needs to be bottle-fed, a pet that is skittish of human contact, or those in need of special care after surgery. Once rehabilitated, the pet is able to be put up for adoption in order to find a permanent home.
Besides fostering, there are many other ways KHS finds homes for animals that do not come into the shelter adoption-ready. P.R.O.U.D. which stands for Prisoner Rehabilitation for Untrained Dogs, allows canines with behavioral issues to be placed with an inmate for 30 days and taught basic instructions to be better ready for adoption. This rigorous program has a high success rate, with over 250 dogs taking part in it every year. As for cats, when one is unable to be assimilated into indoor life, often times they are adopted as “working cats,” where they are placed in locations such as barns, warehouses, and the like to keep pest control down, but the cat still has a caregiver to look after it.
To run these programs, and the organization as a whole, the Kentucky Humane Society has a high need for volunteers. Thankfully, KHS is comprised mostly of those who volunteer their time and efforts in order to help animals in need. Orientation is held every Saturday so members of the community can be trained to work with the animals, but the volunteers can do much more than feed or walk the animals. Volunteers also take photographs of the pets (for the website), sit with those who are coming out of surgery so they are less frightened, and many other unique tasks that most would not consider immediately when thinking of volunteering with KHS.
After the over one hundred years of excellence, the Kentucky Humane Society has become a model non-profit blueprint for aspiring organizations to follow. Standing up for one’s beliefs and keeping true to the mission has been a formula for this organization’s success.