The South Pacific County Humane Society began as a grass roots effort to help the animals of the Long Beach Peninsula. Dawn Gregory formed a group called the Pet Protectors, a small non-profit organization. Another small group began under the name of the Humane Society. The Pet Protectors and the Humane Society each worked to trap and alter feral cats, providing a loose network of foster homes, providing temporary refuge for stray pets and connecting them with forever homes. Meanwhile, Ed Ketel and Catherine Lindblad’s Oceanside Animal Clinic in Seaview, Washington, was pinch hitting with medical care and very temporary shelter as they could without jeopardizing resources for their patients.
There was not a no-kill shelter in the region and so, when a pet had nowhere to go, the only options were humane euthanasia or to beg a pet be taken in by a surrounding shelter, buying it a little time, a last chance.
The two groups joined forces under the name Humane Society resulting in today’s South Pacific County Humane Society (SPCHS) and plans for a facility were dreamed into reality. The building plans included space for a veterinarian, including examination and medication areas although these have never been used in this way. Floors heated by water pipe, concrete block construction, air circulation system, quarantine and common areas were all a part of the plans. The City of Long Beach granted SPCHS an extended lease for the land on which the Shelter sits, with a yearly rent of $1, which has been paid for fifty years.
A ground breaking ceremony took place on October 4, 1996 and construction began just 3 days later. Funding for the Shelter facility came primarily from a $50,000 grant, a $10,000 bequest, a fundraising mailer raising between $5-$6,000, and a classic car raffle. In addition, a number of businesses and individuals donated time, talent and materials. Major contributors included Steve Langer, Steve Newell, Milt Wadler, Maria Patten, Krissy Lindsey, Billie Sacks and Doris Holcomb. Mr. Phil Olsen of the Longview Humane Society was a vital consultant in the construction phase of the shelter. Don Anderson of Peninsula Plumbing, Gary Miller of Universal Services, Ford Electric, Tony Mourikas, Jeff Dorr and Miller Paints were among some of the many merchant donors. So many names were not recorded; we would like to acknowledge those unnamed volunteers, business and contributors who are not listed here. Your gift of time, goods and/or services has allowed us to reach out to the community and better serve our animals in need and we, along with generations to come, thank you.
Some of the cash donations received along the way created the organization’s general operating fund. While the Shelter was being built, the group continued to use donations of cash and goods to provide food and medical care to pets in need, keeping as many as possible in forever and foster homes.
Since the beginning, pets in our care have received medical attention and socialization. All animals adopted from our Shelter are spayed or neutered; it is in our mission to alleviate the dog and cat overpopulation problem.
When the Shelter opened its doors in 1997, it was unofficially as a no-kill Shelter. In that first year or so, we very temporarily had a director with different ideas and the Board and volunteers quickly ensured that NO-KILL was a part of our mission and vision for all time. No animal in our care is euthanized unless its health dictates this as the most humane course of action or it is un-adoptable due to aggression we are unable to either retrain or move to a facility with more capability than our own.
A decade later, in 2006, the shelter was reorganized. A group of Board members and Shelter volunteers spent more than a year with the bylaws, clearing up sections that led to dual interpretations and preparing the organization for the next decade and more. Board, Staff and Volunteer manuals were developed and policies and procedures were developed to both ensure our legal compliance with government organizations and to better position the organization to apply for, and receive, grant and other funding. A balanced budget was created and has been adhered to, thanks to the amazing generosity of the community we serve.
The frugality and responsibility of the Boards and volunteers that came before them left this Board with a small surplus amount of funds that could be invested to ensure the longevity of the Shelter and seed the dream that it might someday be self-supporting.
In August of 2009, SPCHS entered into an agreement with Pacific County and the City of Long Beach to lease a small piece of land north of the shelter facility, through July 31, 2019. Using grant funding, the area was developed into a Meet & Greet area for dogs.
In March of 2011, SPCHS entered into an agreement with Pacific County to lease the modular building to the west of the shelter facility, at 318 N 2nd Street, Long Beach, WA 98631, through February 28, 2021. The property had a solely administrative function until 2016 when permission was granted to develop a fenced area into a small dog exercise area.
We have one full-time Shelter Manager and half a dozen part timers working inconvenient shifts to make sure the cats and dogs receive proper medical care, exercise and feedings. The rest of our operation is completely volunteer-driven.
Even though we run as tight a ship as is possible, it still costs roughly $14,000 per month to operate our facility. That’s a lot of people making a lot of donations of dog, cat, kitten and puppy food, litter, toys, blankets, collars, toys, office supplies, paper towels building materials, talent, time, and CASH. That’s a lot of phone answering, dog walking, training, cleaning, cuddling, mitigating, planning, fundraising, problem solving, neglect complaint pursuing and so, so much more.
We have the typical overhead of utilities and payroll, of course, and our consumables of medicines, food and litter are rather remarkable. That’s an average of about $200 for each pet that finds a new home through our efforts. We don’t charge for adoptions what it costs us to re-home pets. Instead, we rely on the generosity of our community for funding and respond to their requests to keep fees low. This enables us to find homes for more animals.
Despite incredible generosity on the part of our local vets, we average monthly veterinary bills of $3-4,000 per month.
Our volunteers do something on the order of a dozen loads of laundry per day, walk, play with and clean up after 50-ish animals, greet the public, answer questions, produce fundraisers and events, foster special-needs animals, intervene in cases of cruelty and neglect, increase awareness of pet issues in our community, build fences, write grants, create and send mailings, write for the newspaper, take photos of animals, post adoptable pets on a national website, keep our own website active, and so much more.
Each of us is gratified to participate in this effort. Won’t you join us?
Our story has just begun.
Would you like to sit on our Board of Directors?
How about our Advisory Council?
Maybe you’d like to volunteer in the Shelter?
…or donate a service?
We’re looking for qualified, motivated people to serve on our board, and volunteers of all kinds and commitment levels to participate in Advisory Council. If you would like more information about board service, or know someone who would make a good addition to our team, please leave a message for any Board Officer, at the Humane Society (360) 642-1180, or email email@example.com. Better still, come to a meeting so you can find out more about us, and we you!