by Linda Bricco Schalk - editor, The Whitewater Press
For those of us who love animals, a house without critters certainly doesn’t seem like a home. Our homes have always had pets, almost always in the plural―up to three dogs, a pair of cats, more cats in the barn, fish, gerbils and as many as four horses. Although in the past we had Briards (look that breed up) over the last dozen years or so, all of our pets have been rescued critters. I even thought seriously about going to vet school when I was a teen.
So, taking this edition of The Press to help find forever homes for the dogs, cats and a few bunnies at the Walworth County, Lakeland Animal Shelter is an honor. Lakeland is the only full service animal shelter in the county, serving about 2500 stray and abandoned animals every year. With the brutal economy, that number is rising.
Challenging economic times also makes fund raising harder. Lakeland depends on private donations of money and pet supplies to continue its work. Operating capital is also provided through adoption fees, fund raising events, annual animal-control contracts with Walworth County and the profits from the Lakeland Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) Nine Lives Boutique, a resale shop staffed by volunteers and staff in Lake Geneva.
Walworth County Humane Society was accepted by the state of Wisconsin as a non-profit, tax exempt organization in November of 1978. In 1985 the name was changed to Lakeland Animal Welfare Society (LAWS). Lakeland Animal Shelter is owned and operated by Lakeland Animal Welfare Society. It is centrally located three miles south of Elkhorn on Highway 67. Its doors are open to the public six days a week except on legal holidays. The shelter is staffed by dedicated and trained employees. Volunteers also play a crucial role in meeting many of the shelter’s special care needs. A board of directors, elected by LAWS members, establishes the policies of the Society and the operation guidelines for Lakeland Animal Shelter.
The goal of LAWS is to prevent cruel treatment to animals. They do this through educating the public on the needs of pets, help enforce laws pertaining to animal welfare and to humanely end the suffering of any animal for which a proper home cannot be found. What I discovered is this shelter, unlike many, only euthanizes animals when illness or injury requires a humane and comfortable passage. Their goal is to care for all animals until a family and forever home is found.
As a result, they care for many, many animals. So much so, Lakeland has decided to move forward to build a new facility. The plan is to build a new building on land they have purchase adjacent to their present location on Highway 67 south of Elkhorn. This will grow their space from the present 3,000 square feet, to 25,000 square feet. The present location was designed for about ¼ of the present number of animals it now houses, and they have accomplished this by using all the ‘people’ spaces, like offices and meeting rooms for animals. It works, but is less than ideal, both for the people and more importantly, for the animals.
During my visit to meet Kristin Perry, the shelter director, it was obvious the shelter was over crowded, but I was completely impressed with the organization, the cleanliness, the caring and the love I saw everywhere. All of the dogs go outside for fresh air and a romp every day. The volunteers and staff are amazing and despite wanting and needing forever homes, the animals are content, knowing they are safe and loved.
On the covers and pages of this edition of both the Whitewater and the Elkhorn Press, you will meet about two dozen of the over 200 animals in the care of Lakeland at any given time. The holidays are especially hard, so we wanted to challenge our readers to open their hearts. Please seriously consider adopting a dog or cat. There is nothing more beautiful than opening your arms and home to a deserving animal. If adopting is impossible for you, please make a donation of either money or pet supplies. You can always call the shelter to find out what is on their wish list.
We challenge your group, organization, office or company to pool money or gather supplies to donate. There are many opportunities for those who want to help! While many of needs are in the shelter, there are a variety of external volunteer activities that serve an equally important role. The foster program plays a huge role in the lives of many animals.
Please email us your story. We would love to run pictures and tales of your new found family member in the May 2012 edition of the Press. The ultimate goal is to get more people into the shelter to see what great animals are there. Your new best friend is waiting for you!
They are located three miles south of Elkhorn, WI. on Hwy 67
3551 State Road 67
Delavan WI 53115
P.O. Box 1000
Elkhorn, WI 53121
Go here to watch video of the Shelter:
Go here to watch and hear Kristin talk about the plans for the new facility:
HOURS: Monday - Friday 12-6
Sundays & Holidays closed
A very special Thank You to Kevin & Amie Alvarado of LaBelle Photography Studio in Whitewater for donating their time, talent and studio to take the “glamor’ pictures of our furry friends gracing the pages of this edition! www.labellestudio.com