The Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Humane Society
was awarded a $200,000 grant from The Rachael Ray Foundation to support its foster program.
Through the program, WHS places dogs, cats and rabbits that are not yet ready for adoption with families to receive socialization and basic training, or to recover from minor illness or injury. About 3,500 shelter animals were placed in foster care through WHS in 2018.
“We are absolutely floored by the generosity of our friends at The Rachael Ray Foundation,” said Anne Reed, president and chief executive officer of WHS. “This incredible gift will truly save the lives of thousands of animals this year and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
WHS has five shelter locations in its network, including campuses in Milwaukee, Saukville, Racine, Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay. The foster network serves as a “sixth shelter,” allowing animals to recover faster while in a home environment, said Angela Speed, vice president of communications for WHS.
“Our foster program expands the WHS shelter footprint, allowing the use of in-shelter space to serve even more animals in need,” Speed said. “Animals are sent to volunteer foster homes for a variety of reasons: they may simply be too young for adoption, are recovering from an illness or injury, are in need of more training or behavior support before going up for adoption, or to simply open up more room at our shelters for emergency intake."
WHS provides food, medications, vaccinations, animal care supplies and staff support to foster families, which costs about $250,000 annually.
A large portion of the WHS foster program is its “Bottle Babies” initiative, which places neonatal kittens with foster parents. The program, which launched in 2016, provides kittens with bottle feedings, cleaning, socialization and nurturing until they are old enough to return to the shelter.
WHS expanded by two shelters
in late 2017 when it acquired the Green Bay-based Bay Area Humane Society and Sturgeon Bay-based Door County Humane Society. It is also in the process of building a new $5.9 million Mount Pleasant animal shelter
at the northeast corner of 16th and 90th streets in Mount Pleasant, which will replace its Racine location.