Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you planning a new shelter in Racine County? What's the problem?
The current shelter in Racine was originally constructed as a potato barn and despite renovations to improve the facility, a new shelter is critical to provide proper housing, veterinary care and behavioral intervention for animals. In addition, there is no community space for kids or families to engage with our work. It's simply too small and inadequate to meet the needs of the community. We must get the animals out of there.
Will the new shelter look like your shelters in Milwaukee and Saukville?
Our vision for Racine space is quite exciting, as shelter challenges have changed a lot even in the last decade. We are proud to have robust adoption traffic, which wasn’t as true before the Milwaukee Campus was built to address the stereotype of shelters as loud, smelly and scary. Today, it’s just as important to have animal housing that isn’t just attractive, but flexible, especially in Racine. On Monday, we may need a row of kennels for dogs available for adoption, but on that same night, we may take in 20 dogs from a hoarding situation.
Separate and flexible lodging spaces will allow us to address the most critical animal-related issues in our community, including overpopulation, abuse and neglect. So yes, the Racine Campus will look different, as we’ll be designing it to match the needs of a bustling Racine community.
How much will it cost?
The total cost for this project is approximately $5.4 million. This includes new land, construction of the 16,000 sq. foot facility and equipment.
Why do you need our help? What about government, corporate and other big groups?
Most of our support comes from individuals. We receive no general government funding and we are not part of any national umbrella organization. In addition, the WHS is not a statewide organization – we are a local nonprofit working in southeastern Wisconsin. We do receive funding from philanthropic-minded businesses in the community, but the vast majority of our gifts come from individual people who want to create a community that values animals and treats them with respect and kindness.
When are you breaking ground? When will the new shelter be open?
We will not break ground until fundraising has reached at least 85% of the way toward our goal. WHS is one of the most fiscally responsible nonprofits in the country and we’re committed to doing this project responsibly; key milestones have been developed to be in lockstep with our fundraising benchmarks. Construction is estimated to take 9 months to a year after the groundbreaking.
How many more animals will you be able to adopt out each year?
Currently, we transfer animals out of our Racine Campus to our shelters in Milwaukee and Saukville because of the limited space and challenging environment. The building will allow us to keep those animals safely housed in Racine, and adopted into the community from which they originated. Ultimately, this project is about raising the standards of care for the animals we are serving. The animals, staff, volunteers and community deserve a facility that does not erode wellbeing, but improves it.
What kind of programming will be offered at the new shelter?
The planned multipurpose room will allow us to serve the community in many ways. We will be able to host volunteer trainings onsite and accommodate more clients for vaccine clinics. The community room will also allow us to explore offering programming for youth and adults in the community, which is impossible in the existing facility.
Will the new shelter cost more to operate?
We do expect increases in operating costs and will continue to grow our network of individual and corporate supporters to ensure long-term sustainability.
Will the expanded facility compete with existing Racine/Kenosha veterinarians or other animal rescues?
We have strong partnerships with many veterinary clinics and other organizations in the community. WHS encourages all of its adopters and clients to build a relationship with their own private veterinarian, to maintain and improve the health of all animals in the community. The new shelter and its increased ability to serve more animals will be a net benefit to all of us working in animal welfare in Racine County and Southeastern Wisconsin.
Will Racine have a wildlife rehab facility like Milwaukee?
No. Of all our locations, just Milwaukee has the capacity and space to operate a wildlife hospital.
I don’t have pets. How does this project benefit the Racine community?
A robust, professional and modern humane society benefits not only individual animals, but the community as a whole. WHS will be able to offer more volunteer and employment opportunities to the Racine community. We project increasing our volunteer program in Racine to three times the number of volunteer positions available today. In addition, our Milwaukee and Ozaukee Campuses serve as community meeting places for local organizations, and we hope to be a source of interest and fun for Racine organizations, too.
If you don’t have pets, you may be unaware of the myriad of ways that pets enhance the physical health and quality of life for pet owners of all ages. Researchers has only begun to explore the range of health benefits of pet ownership, but early studies indicate benefits that improve wellness overall. Research at UCLA, the University of Missouri, and City Hospital of New York report these health benefits of pet ownership:
- Dog owners require less medical care for stress induced aches and pains
- Elderly pet owners make fewer visits to the doctor
- Heart patients with pets have higher survival rates
- Pet owners with AIDS experience less depression and reduced stress
According to the National Institutes of Health, current or future research includes the benefits of therapy animals in clinical settings and how pets may positively affect children with autism. Anecdotally, we witness every day how important the human-animal bond is to our clients’ wellbeing and happiness, and we work to preserve those loving bonds for the benefit of the families and communities we serve.
There are so many vacant buildings in parts of Racine County – why not use one of them?
Our operations team has explored all options, but animal shelters have unique needs – from complicated plumbing and HVAC, to the necessity of having space to segregate animals and control for noise. From the aspect of reducing disease transmission, it’s akin to building a hospital for humans! We know that the best solution to address the housing and health of animals is to build a new facility.
Ok! I’m on board and want to support you. How do I help?
If you are interested in learning more about the project or naming opportunities, please contact Heidi Boyd, Campaign Director, at 262-833-4010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also make a gift online here. Gifts at all levels are deeply appreciated and get us closer to our goal. For more ideas on how to support the campaign and spread the news, please visit our "How to Help" page.