Washington County Humane Society Renovation Designed to Minimize Animal Stress Levels

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Demolition is set to begin Thursday, February 13th at the Washington County Humane Society (WCHS) where much of the existing facility will be razed to make way for a larger, modern, animal-centric building. The 34,435 sq. ft. space, designed by The Kubala Washatko Architects and built by Altius Building Company, has been purposefully created to provide a more comfortable, stress-free environment for animals during their stay.


“Our animals in this new shelter will have a safer environment. It’ll be less stress for them. And we’ll be able to provide more enrichment activities, which is critical for their health and wellbeing said WCHS Executive Director Marnie Brown. “Cats, especially, have a hard time adjusting when they come into a shelter. But we know that in the right environment, animals will get sick less often and get well faster so they can be made available for adoption sooner. We’ve already completed Phase 1 of the renovation, the intake ward, where the average length of stay for cats has decreased by 50 percent and the average stay for dogs has decreased to a week.” Altius Building Company completed Phase I and has been contracted to execute the next phases.


The next phases of the renovation will get underway this year, as WCHS celebrates its 60th anniversary. It was 1960 when an all-volunteer group of concerned residents formed what would eventually become The Washington County Humane Society. Over the decades that followed, WCHS became a thriving community resource that today cares for more than 2,500 animals each year, placing 100% of adoptable animals in ‘forever’ homes.


“When completed, the renovated spaces will allow us to build on our success,” added Brown. “In the new facility, we’ll be able to provide an even greater level of care for the animals, create a more efficient workflow for employees and expand our relationship with the community by providing educational programming and other services in a safe, positive, energy-efficient environment. This has been a long-time dream, and I think our animals deserve it. Our community deserves it.”


The $60,000 Challenge


Much of the $7 million project cost has been funded through gifts from individuals, foundations and estates. To help raise the final $1 million, and to commemorate the shelter’s 60 years of service, Barb and Jim Heiligenstein of West Bend have generously offered to match any donations or pledges up to a total of $60,000 from now through May 1, 2020.


To learn more about the renovation project and see artist renderings of the new facility, view a video at, and then join us the last two weeks of February to see the wrecking ball drop on the existing building!



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