Thursday, May 17, 2012

Watertown Humane Society Can Go to Hell

WTF's up with Watertown Humane Society?

Let's say you find a fairly friendly cat. It hangs around your house for a few weeks, clearly homeless. No one's looking for it. You feed him and pet him, but you already have three cats at your house, and one day it nips you- it has to go. You trap it in a humane trap, and take it to your local humane society. You're doing the right thing-- strays suffer on the streets, a biting animal should always be checked for rabies, and humane societies have the expertise and resources to take care of them-- though you do offer to chip in for the cat's care. Good for you! You can expect the humane society to quarantine, feed, vaccinate, neuter and socialize the animal, then find it a loving home...

...except, not if it's the Watertown Humane Society. They'll claim it's YOUR cat (because you fed it), then threaten to euthanize it, and then charge you $180 to take it back a week later... un-neutered and un-vaccinated.

Let's say you decide to adopt a dog from a humane society. You pick out one and happily pay $145. Good for you! As we all know, humane societies do a great job of re-homing responsibly-- they test each dog's behavior, work with it as much as possible, and try to match the dog with the right qualified adopter through a sometimes lengthy adoption process...

...except if they're Watertown Humane Society. Then, they'll hand you a dog with extreme anxiety and food aggression issues, a dog that repeatedly bites with no warning, even without food present, and destroys your house. 

Okay, let's say after constantly working with the disturbed dog for several weeks, you finally have to give up, for your own safety and sanity. You return it to the humane society. However, you feel really really bad about giving up on the dog, and you want to help it somehow-- so you tell the humane society that, instead of taking the $145 adoption fee refund, you want to donate that money to the dog's care. Good for you! You know that, since the humane society is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping animals, they'll do the right thing with your donation...

...unless it's Watertown Humane Society. Then, they'll take your money without telling you that they plan to euthanize the dog you just donated money towards within a few days.

All of this really happened-- to one person, within a few weeks. I know her personally, and I can testify that not only is she truthful, she's not the kind of person that creates drama. We'll call her Em. Em adopted the dog from Watertown Humane Sociey, returned it after a few weeks, then came in with the cat a day or two after that. The WHS Director bluntly told her they'd just euthanized her former dog, then gave her the bullshit about the cat. Without the intervention of Em's vet, WHS would have euthanized the cat as an "aggressive feral," despite WHS also claiming that the cat belonged to Em. They even refused to have a vet treat check it for signs of rabies during quarantine, because it was "hers."

 The cherry on the cake in all this? The WHS director made nasty personal remarks about Em, saying, among other things, that Em was "being selfish" for wanting to take a biting cat home, because she could be endangering others. Wait a minute, didn't WHS just give Em a seriously dysfunctional dog that repeatedly bit people?! And wait, isn't WHS the one that's going to send "an aggressive feral" cat out the door un-vaccinated, with balls intact?! And wait, isn't Em the one who repeatedly offered WHS money to help pay for the care of the dog that bit her and the stray cat that bit her?!  

Em was understandably upset by this whole experience. Personally, I am outraged. This is the ultimate pinnacle of bullshit. It's the teetering pile of oozing liquid defecation on top of the already-mountainous pile of putrescent excrement. Also, it is poop.

Watertown Humane Society has acted in an extremely unprofessional way, to say the least.

 If you agree, never never never adopt from them, don't donate to them, and tell them what you think! Watertown Humane Society: 418 Water Tower Court Watertown, WI 53094
(920) 261-1270
P.S. After paying $180 to get the cat out of WHS jail, Em brought it to the wonderful people at Friends of Ferals. They charged her all of $10 to neuter and vaccinate the cat-- because they have their priorities straight (actually helping animals). Since Em is also wonderful, she donated another $30 on top of that. Em decided to keep the $220 cat in the end, and I sincerely hope they live happily ever after.

P.P.S  Most humane societies are not like this. Dane County Humane Society has always done excellent work as far as I can see. Do you have a good or terrible humane society experience? Post in the comments below!

P.P.P.S Have I mentioned Friends of Ferals is totally awesome? They'll help you get your hoard of barn cats fixed, vaccinated and even adopted out to new homes, for a very low cost. They did all that for me several years ago, and I can't rave enough about how good they are. Have you thought about doing the same? Remember, barn cats deserve decent care too. Or maybe you want to adopt a good semi-feral mouser for your ranch-- they're only $10! There are many Friends of Ferals organizations in different areas-- go Google 'em!


  1. I used to live in the area as a teen, and agree that the Watertown HS was always a little sketchy. I volunteered there a few times n it seemed poorly ran, but they tried their best. Now the Jefferson Co. Humane Society, that's a damn great shelter. I would highly recommend volunteeting or donating there! It's a very small shelter, but they do thier best on spending time with each animal, and they all had proper care. I volunteered their n was properly advised n monitered until the staff knew my abilities. They also have a fairly low euthanasia rate for such a small shelter. My family had to surrender a dog, who was successfully rehomed (to a farm with lots more room to run!) and have adopted a dog, cat, and parakeet from them and can't say enough great things about them! :)

  2. I have heard this about a lot of the Humane Societies in Wisconsin. The one where I live won't let you bring in a stray because if you have it it's not a stray to them. I have seen many dogs with severe aggression issues, and one that was so sick it died only months after adopted (prolonged by vet care by the owner). I don't know what they are doing anymore but it's not helping animals. There is a house literally across the street from the one here that has hundreds of feral cats because the elderly man there feels bad for them and feeds them. Most are unaltered adults that breed every year. I tried catching one of the young kittens to take home and give it a good indoor life, but it was so feral at about 8 weeks old I couldn't bring it into my home. This started with a few cats and then they exploded because no one can give their cats to the shelter, so they just let them go out front in hopes that they will see the cat and catch it. Only in this town if you want anyone to catch a feral animal you have to pay for it. Something needs to be done with the WI Humane Society, they aren't even close to what they are supposed to be.