Highland County Humane Society Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Highland County Humane Society celebrates it’s 10th anniversary July 1st.  Over the past decade, the work of the Humane Society has adapted to meet the needs of the community.  Corena Huffman is the President and one of the founding members of the Highland County Humane Society.

“We got started up with a core group of volunteers, who wanted to still provide Highland County and our surrounding area with a rescue option and animal welfare in our area,” says Huffman.  “The SPCA had stopped sheltering services and, although we were not going to run the shelter, we decided to organize a foster-based, volunteer-run, animal rescue here in Highland.”

And what was the biggest challenge to starting an animal rescue?

“At first, honestly, money,” says Huffman.  “We didn’t have any.  We don’t get any local, state or federal funding.  All of our money comes from private donors, grants and fundraisers.   So, at first when we were first getting started a lot of the volunteers used their own funding to help pay for things, until we got up and going where we could have events and solicit for funds and that sort of thing.  I would say over the last ten years the most challenging thing is finding a foster home.  I would say the average foster time is two to three weeks.  It really depends on the animal.”

The Humane Society’s efforts have shifted a bit over the past ten years.

“It’s kind of flown by, but we still are strong at it with rescue and finding animals new homes,” says Huffman.  “Especially with COVID, and even a couple years before the pandemic hit, our organization quickly realized, as other organizations have across the nation, that the need for pet retention and assisting the community with their pets was one of the greatest needs and that really has taken off, especially with the pandemic hitting and people losing income or housing, not having the extra resources that are continually going up in cost.  So, as an organization, we can offer Highland County residents free spay and neuter of dogs and cats.  We do free transportation to and from the vet.  We can also help with veterinary services, as far as funding towards some of those on a case by case basis, depending.  And we offer free pet food and supplies to residents as well, most of those we can deliver or meet people in town since we don’t have a physical location.”

Huffman says they are currently distributing about 1,500 pounds of dog and cat food each month throughout in the community.

“We have taken in almost 3,000 animals and we average anywhere from 250 to 350 a year, depending on, again, resources, community need, foster homes, that kind of thing,” says Huffman.  “Over the years we’ve transferred out 1,500 animals.  We’ve adopted out almost 1,100 animals.  We currently have about 60 animals in foster available for adoption.  We have returned about 20 animals to their owners.  We do transfer quite a few animals out of the area, because Highland is so small.  We don’t have the population here to adopt every dog and cat out.  We have partners in different counties in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, that kind of thing, that can take animals into their programs.”

For more information, the website is www.highlandcountyhumanesociety.org , they also have a Facebook page and a new phone number, 540-468-1575.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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