The Humane Society of Parkersburg is a private, non-profit open admission animal shelter serving Wood County, WV, and the surrounding area. Founded in 1958 our mission is:
The Humane Society of Parkersburg is an advocate for all animals, striving to foster humane treatment and to prevent cruelty and abuse. We provide animal control for our community while offering a shelter for homeless cats and dogs. Working with our community through education we strive to inspire compassion and respect for all living things, while stressing the importance of spaying/neutering and the value of the adoption of homeless animals.
What does private mean?
We are not owned by a person, group or government entity. We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. We operate based on monies generated through fundraisers, donations, grants, shelter revenue, and service contract fees with Vienna, Williamstown and Wood County. Forty percent (40%) of our revenue is generated by service contracts and the remainder (60%) is generated through fundraising, donations, etc. We do not receive any state or federal funding from any entity, nor do we receive any funding from any other humane organization such as the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States or the American Humane Association.
What type of animals do we provide services for?
We provide animal control and sheltering services for domesticated animals including livestock. Wild animals and generally exotic animals may NOT be accepted. We try to assist with small reptiles – lizards, geckos, small snakes, etc. but State Law requires that natively wild animals be referred to the WV Department of Natural Resources.
What does open admission mean?
The Humane Society of Parkersburg is an open admission—or open door—humane society. This means that we will not turn away any animal for breed, sex, age, health or behavioral reasons. There are also no time limits on how long an animal can remain in our Shelter. See below for circumstances where we can't accept animals.
When can't you accept an animal?
- Stray animals from outside Wood County, where there are animal shelters in those counties. People who have lost pets will normally look in their local shelter. These local shelters are there to support their county's animals.
- WV State Law mandates that animals crossing state lines must have a rabies vaccination. This limits our ability to accept animals from Ohio without verification of this vaccination. Owned animals from Ohio with proper vaccinations may be accepted.
- Owned animals that have bitten a person in the prior 10 days cannot be accepted. Again, State Law mandates these animals be quarantined in the owner's home or a licensed boarding facility. We will however, accept them after the 10 day quarantine period.
Is the HSOP a "no-kill" shelter?
No, we are not. A "no-kill" shelter or limited admission shelter limits the animals they will accept. As an open admission shelter we don't restrict what animals we will accept (with the exceptions above) and so we will give temporary refuge to any animal. Even if it's sick, severely injured, or too aggressive or behaviorally unsound to be adopted. Many "no-kill" or limited admission shelters do not accept animals like these.
These "no-kill" shelters must make a decision as to which dogs or cats will receive their care and attention, and therefore they limit the number of animals they will accept. In some cases, "no-kill" shelters will only accept animals they know are highly adoptable or limit the types of each animal they will accept. In doing so they exclude those which are less adoptable or that they already have plenty of.
For example, Pitbulls, which are known to be difficult to place are often excluded in "no-kill" shelters, in large part because they know these dogs may spend years or the rest of their lives in the shelter because they are hard to adopt out. This of course, is not only a difficult life for the animals, but also takes space and resources that could be used for other animals. As a result, "no-kill" or limited admission shelters may choose not to help the animals that come to them with such issues or are less adoptable.
It is our belief that no animal should be turned away because of these issues. Especially in our community where there are no other shelters and few to no other alternatives for unwanted animals. We also believe that in some cases animals with behavior problems or medical issues can be rehabilitated and made adoptable.
However, sometimes they cannot. In fact there are times we admit animals knowing that they are not adoptable. We do this because we also know that if we don't accept them, the animal may be dumped, abandoned, abused, starved or even worse. Sadly, humane euthanasia is not always the worst option for an animal. And while it is never desirable, we do believe that euthanasia, done in a humane and compassionate manner, can be a more humane alternative than some others.
When do you euthanize animals?
Most often we euthanize animals because we simply run out of room. We receive more than 4500 animals a year and only have space in our shelter for about 100 animals at a time. Space is the biggest driver and animal overpopulation is the biggest cause of this space problem.
In some cases, some animals are unhealthy and untreatable. This means they are suffering from a disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the animal’s health. Some may have a behavioral or temperamental characteristic that poses a health or safety risk. The seriously ill animals are not likely to become healthy even if provided with care and treatment. Dangerous animals must not be released back into the community; these are the animals who should be euthanized to minimize suffering or for the safety of the public.
Sadly, we also may have to euthanize for less serious health reasons. When animals are sick or injured we can't always afford the treatment or the time it would require to get them healthy. And in a situation of limited space, healthy animals will always have a better chance for adoption than those that are sick or injured. But if we have room in our shelter, we will make every attempt to help both sick and injured animals in every way possible and for as long as possible.
Why do you euthanize animals?
Simply put there are not enough homes for all the animals who are born each year. And until this changes, euthanasia will still be a reality. A humane reality that is the responsibility of our open admission shelter. Simply turning our back on these animals and merely pronouncing that euthanasia shouldn’t exist won’t make euthanasia go away. Turning animals away is not an option. But working tirelessly toward increasing adoptions and rescue activity, furthering pet pregnancy prevention, and educating the public are the only REAL solutions to the problem.
What are you doing to solve these problems?
We currently offer a spay/neuter assistance program to help defray some of the costs to pet owners to encourage more people to spay and neuter their pets. Yet, this is not enough. And as such, we are actively engaged in raising the funds necessary to construct and operate a low cost spay/neuter clinic for our community and the surrounding area.
We also have committed Humane Officers who investigate accounts of cruelty, abuse and neglect. Policing and enforcing the law not only encourages responsible pet ownership, but in some cases protects animals from abuse and removes animals from the hands of irresponsible owners.
We set standards for the care of the animals in our Shelter and as such have a very dedicated staff and a very active volunteer program that try to rehabilitate as many animals as possible so that they are adoptable.
We work with rescue groups who help us find homes for many of our animals each year.
We also offer educational programs including a kids camp to strengthen the message of respect and compassion to the future pet owners in our community.
What is a Rescue and why does the HSOP send animals to Rescues?
There are thousands of Rescue groups in the United States. Each group has their own philosophy, rules, regulations, adoption procedures, etc. Rescue groups come in all shapes and sizes with some rescuing hundreds of animals a year to some that just rescue a handful. Some Rescues focus on a single breed of dog or cat. Others may focus on animals with special needs such as senior animals. Others have no specific type they service but simply work to help homeless animals. Some Rescues place their rescued animals in kennels until they are adopted, while some only rescue as many animals as they have available foster homes.
The general idea of a Rescue is that they will help shelters by pulling animals out of the shelter and into the care of the Rescue. Thus giving the shelter space for more animals. Rescues have the luxury of picking animals they know they can find homes for. They also have the luxury of only choosing animals they have the resources to care for.
Animal shelters and Rescue groups are very different but work together to save the lives of many animals. And almost half of our placement of animals, is done through Rescue organizations. Because of the sheer volume of animals received at our Shelter, we do not have the means to thoroughly evaluate each animal for personality, temperament, and good/bad qualities like a Rescue can. Most of the time, they are also able to provide comprehensive medical care. One of the primary benefits of a responsible Rescue group is that they do have the time and resources to provide these things before the animal is adopted.
We work with several Rescue organizations, most of which we have long on-going relationships with. We also screen all new prospective Rescue partners to ensure they provide our expected level of care and attention to the animals they take from us. Background and reference checks are done on all Rescue partners before we will send any animal to them. However, we value greatly the effort and assistance of the Rescues that we have a relationship with and they have proven time and time again to be invaluable in helping us save the lives of homeless animals in this community.
What can I do to help?
First, ensure that your pet is spayed or neutered. Also, you can help by sharing the message of need in our community for animals to be spayed and neutered. Certainly volunteering, adopting, donating and spreading the word about the need for responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering, are all excellent ways to help solve the problems of pet overpopulation, homelessness, neglect and abuse in our community. Being a vocal advocate for animals is the most important thing you do can as they cannot speak for themselves!!!