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Local YWCA Distinction Johnson

YWCA of Racine 15th annual Women of Distinction Award recipient Imogene Powers Johnson.

MOUNT PLEASANT — The Wisconsin Humane Society reports a successful first year of operations here, both for adoptions and financially.

One year after taking over the former Countryside Humane Society shelter, WHS reports it nearly doubled adoptions from 2012 levels.

And it ended its fiscal year on Sept. 30 with an operating surplus of about $58,000, WHS Director of Communications Angela Speed reported Thursday.

Donations so far total $341,770.59.

WHS took over the shelter at 2706 Chicory Road last Jan. 1. The organization provides animal sheltering and pick up of confined stray and lost animals in most Racine County municipalities. Abuse, neglect and cruelty and animal-at-large complaints are handled by each municipality.

Adoptions from the Racine County humane shelter soared by 91 percent last year, rising from 880 in 2012 to 1,680, Speed said. That figure included 309 animals transferred to WHS’ Milwaukee and Ozaukee shelters.

There are many reasons for the near-doubling of adopted animals, Speed said. They include:

• Same-day adoptions, which she called “huge.”

• No adoption fees for adult cats.

• Promotion and exposure of available animals to WHS’ entire three-county area.

• The shelter staying open until 8 p.m. for adoptions.

• Follow-up support: behavioral and veterinary, for example.

She also cited an “open adoption philosophy.” Some organizations might nix an adoption because the person lacks a fence, for example, she said. WHS’ philosophy “helps adoption counselors make a good match — rather than just a black-and-white checklist.”

“Also,” Speed said, “I think there’s something to be said for community trust,” the organization’s reputation.

Greater costs

WHS operates differently than Countryside did, resulting in greater costs per animal. Countryside did not sterilize intact animals unless they were adopted. WHS neuters or spays all animals considered adoptable before they’re put up for adoption, then does same-day adoptions.

Also, WHS does not euthanize for space or time reasons.

Milwaukee-based WHS had set a goal of $300,000 in donations by the end of its fiscal year, Sept. 30, for its Racine County campus. It fell short at $246,969, Speed said.

But, because WHS reached that date with an operating surplus, the donation goal was overly aggressive, she noted.

“Your first year is sort of testing,” Speed said. “... You set this budget based on your best information.”

Almost half of the money donated so far, $150,000, has come from the Sam and Gene Johnson Community Fund. For the month of September, Gene Johnson, widow of the late Sam Johnson, and the Johnson family offered a $75,000 matching pledge for donations to the local WHS campus.

The challenge elicited $88,000 from others, Speed said, and it was WHS’ largest public campaign of the year.

Since then the Johnson Fund gave WHS an additional $75,000 from the Johnson Fund, she said.

For the current fiscal year, WHS set an expense budget of $846,951 with $250,000 of that to come from donations. WHS will avoid having to repeat approximately $100,000 in start-up costs, Speed said.

“We’re really excited to see such improvement in just our first year of operation, which is totally due to the community’s support,” Speed said.

“We’re very pleased with the first full year of operations. ... We have more volunteers, more donors, more adopters. We hope to continue on this trajectory.”

Wisconsin Humane Society By The Numbers:

Wisconsin Humane Society provided these figures for 2013, its first year, at WHS’s Racine County campus, 2706 Chicory Road, compared to Countryside Humane Society in 2012:


2013 — 1,680 (309 of those were placed through the WHS Milwaukee or Ozaukee shelters)

2012 — 880 adoptions


2013 — $341,770.59

2012 — $24,000


(mostly stray animals, also includes impounded animals)

2013 — 428

2012 — 327

Spay/Neuter Assistance Program surgeries

2013 — 722 (352 cats, 370 dogs)

2012 — Not offered

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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