RASKC commends the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County, an organization that has helped people and pets in the Puget Sound region for more than 100 years.

Please tell us about Tacoma Humane.

The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County was founded in 1888 by a handful of concerned citizens and has grown into one of the state’s largest animal welfare agencies. We care for around 10,000 pets each year, reunite thousands of lost pets with their owners, provide medical care for ill and injured shelter pets, and offer comprehensive low-cost spay-neuter programs.

How would you describe the mission of your organization?

Our mission is to advance the welfare of animals and promote positive relationships between animals and people.

What are some of your organization’s achievements that you’re most proud of?

We’re proud to have grown the shelter’s outreach efforts in the past few years. In fact, the first-ever pet support team was created in 2020 as a resource for adopters and pet owners in Pierce County. Our pet support counselors provide guidance and resources to adopters with a new pet and owners looking to surrender their pet. Having this resource available increases the chance of adoption success and decreases the chance of a pet needing to be surrendered.

To further help keep pets with their families, we have also prioritized community-centered initiatives. In 2021, our biggest new initiative was the launch of our Community Clinic, which provides low-cost spay and neuter surgeries and other services for low-income residents. With commercial spay and neuter surgeries alone costing around $400 to $500 or more, our Community Clinic is needed now more than ever.

What kind of help – if any – would your organization most like from the public?

The shelter is always in need of volunteers and fosters! Volunteers help thousands of animals in need and it’s a chance for the animals at the shelter to get additional love and socialization. There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities, including dog walking, cat socialization, bunny enrichment, and much more.

Fostering is also a great way to help an animal that might not be doing well in the shelter environment. Volunteers and fosters play an important role in achieving our mission and they make it possible for the shelter to help as many animals as possible.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find more information on our website at thehumanesociety.org/get-involved/volunteer.

Anyone interested in fostering can find more information on our website at thehumanesociety.org/get-involved/foster.

What is your organization’s vision for the future?

The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County envisions a community where every pet has a permanent and loving home and all animals are treated with respect and compassion.

As our organization and the need from the community continues to grow, we are always striving for the best quality of animal care and to help as many animals as possible. In order to do this, we are actively pursuing a new space not only for a new shelter but also to create an animal welfare campus. This means more kennel space for more animals that can find their forever homes. A new veterinary center to perform more lifesaving surgeries and needed medical care to low-income families in the community. A new landscape for pets to get more exercise and socialization with our staff and volunteers while they wait to be adopted.

Are there any other “fun facts” that you might like to share about yourself or your organization?

An interesting fact is that shelter was founded by a group of revolutionaries and animal welfare champions who questioned the status quo to help prevent cruelty toward animals. In the summer of 1888, when Tacoma was just a frontier town, a drunken logger brought a bear cub to a local street corner and began kicking him to get him to perform tricks. The Justice of the Peace was summoned, and the logger was arrested. Later that week, a group of town leaders met to form what is now called the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County.