The idea for a new independent animal shelter in Whitman County came about after an article was published in the Daily News detailing how impending budget cuts due to I-695 could severely impact the operations of the Pullman Animal Shelter.
A small group of concerned citizens from Pullman and surrounding areas formed a task force to discuss the plight of the former Pullman Animal Shelter, the tragic loss of life at the shelter, and the sad irony of having an inadequate and inhumane animal shelter in a town renowned for its veterinary teaching hospital. This group first met on February 16, 2000 around the kitchen table in Ray and Cathy Schulhauser’s home. They approached the City of Pullman to offer a solution to the animal care situation when budget cutbacks made it impossible for the city to adequately staff and maintain its animal shelter facility. The task force formally organized into the Whitman County Humane Society, Inc. and subsequently entered into negotiations to contract with the City of Pullman to provide management services for the existing pet shelter. The Society has been operating the facility since July 1, 2000.
Under WCHS’ management, several policies were initiated that more closely supported the organization’s mission statement. Under city management, overcrowding was addressed with a high euthanasia rate with very short time limitations on the lives of the animals. Because the Society and the community at large did not feel that this was an acceptable or humane management of the pet over-population problem, the Board of Directors committed to run a no-kill organization. No adoptable animals have ever been euthanized because of lack of space. Service was improved by fully staffing the existing shelter with trained animal care professionals.
The founding board members included Ray and Cathy Schulhauser, Carmel Travis, Robin Germain, Steve Barr-Jorgensen, Lauri Sue Torkelson, former shelter manager Bill Clark, veterinarian of record Dr. Chris Stone, attorney Jean Campbell, and advisory board co-chairs Mike and Susie Hardy Gormsen.
March 5, 2000: Ray Schulhauser donated a fully equipped office in the Square One Building to support a temporary WCHS headquarters.
March 15, 2000: The task force created its mission statement during the process of completing applications for non-profit status and incorporation.
March 28, 2000: A call from the Chief of Police announced that animals left at the Pullman Animal Shelter at the end of the day March 31st became the property of the WCHS task force. The Task Force called foster contacts to take care of the dogs.
April 4, 2000: Task Force makes formal presentation to the Pullman City Council.
April 10, 2000: Application for non-profit status filed in Olympia.
May 16, 2000: First "Pet of the Week" ad appeared in the Daily News.
June 12, 2000: Thirty-five coin banks were placed at community businesses.
June 28, 2000: Contract finalized with City of Pullman giving WCHS the responsibility of operating the shelter.
July 1, 2000: WCHS shelter officially opened its doors at 1:00 p.m.
Fall 2001: In an effort to create a revenue stream, WCHS opened the Tip of the Tail Treasures thrift store in the Square One Building. The store operated for almost five years before closing.
2002: WCHS website was launched to help increase adoptions and better inform the public of our services. This website has since been maintained by volunteers and board members. A 2008 grant from Pullman Community Foundation made it possible to completely revise and professionally update the website.