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Highland County Humane Society

Mission: The Highland County Humane Society’s (HCHS) mission is to meet the needs of Highland County’s animals and their families.

Community Need: The pet owning Highland community members face numerous challenges such as:

  • There is no permanent veterinary clinic in the county. The community relies upon mobile veterinary services which presents obstacles for many.
  • Prevention of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens is difficult. The nearest veterinary clinic providing low-cost spay and neuter services is a 150-mile roundtrip. The clinic is not open on Saturdays making use of the services especially hard for working families.
  • Highland’s population is aging and over 12% live below the federal poverty line. Clients sincerely want to care for their pets, but lack the resources to do so properly. With encouragement, subsidized veterinary care and in-kind support, families can care for their pets successfully.
  • Numerous studies have documented the importance of pets to seniors and the home-bound. Pets provide love, companionship and connection. Seniors in particular depend on their pets. They experience distress if they cannot care for their pets properly.
  • HCHS does not have a counterpart local government agency with which to share the burden of serving clients. Volunteers are often the only alternative for people facing difficult decisions.

Constituents Served: Although HCHS concentrates on Highland County, they have no boundaries. They pool their resources with similar local organizations to assist neighboring counties and communities. Their collective efforts in this region have decreased unplanned litters, provided health benefits to sterilized pets, prepared foster animals for adoption, and supported pet retention in the rural mountains of VA and WV.  They are open to anyone in Highland who needs their assistance.  Most of their direct assistance targets low income, home bound, or senior community members with pets. Last year HCHS assisted over 200 pets in Highland with surgery, veterinary care, transportation, pet food, and animal supplies.

Primary Activities: The HCHS provides subsidized spay/neuter and other veterinary care through direct funding or through their network of veterinary clinics to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens; they provide free transportation and the use of supplies like crates and traps; and advice to keep pets healthy in their original homes.  Finally, they also provide loving adoptive homes for surrendered pets.  Their foster-based animal rescue focuses on at-risk dogs and cats both in shelters and those about to lose their homes. They try to never turn away anyone who needs advice, assistance or to surrender their beloved pet.

Their priority is to expand and improve their pet retention activities and services particularly for senior members of the community. Pets provide comfort, connection and unconditional love.  Seniors in particular often rely on their pets for emotional support. Their pet retention program keeps pets in their original homes while improving their quality of life. They already provide free pet food, free grooming and veterinary services, parasite control and general support.

Amount Requested: $7,500

Operating Budget: $67,400

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