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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Lincoln County, WI

Lincoln County, Wisconsin, has about 30,000 human residents and is located in the north central part of the state. The Lincoln County Humane Society (LCHS) is a private non-profit that provides sheltering services for local governments. I spoke to a representative at the shelter who informed me that LCHS has a contract with the county for dog sheltering, and also has agreements with the two cities in the county — Merrill (population 10,000) and Tomahawk (population 3000). She told me that although LCHS is not contractually obligated for cat sheltering or taking in owner surrenders, LCHS provides both services because they view that as part of their mission.

The shelter’s website states that, although they do accept owner surrenders, they do not accept aggressive animals. The shelter representative told me that LCHS has an appointment system for owner surrenders, but they make exceptions for cases where a person cannot wait for an appointment. They ask for a donation for owner surrenders but do not require a donation. They do not offer owner-requested euthanasia.

LCHS recently posted their statistics for 2012, and they reported a 98% live release rate for the year. Their modified live release rate (which includes animals who died in shelter care in the “euthanasia” category) was 95%. The shelter reports a percentage for each type of disposition rather than the actual number. LCHS’s total intake in 2012 was 1258 animals. This is a high intake (42 animals per 1000 population).

LCHS has a TNR program for cats, although the shelter representative told me that they generally cannot release the cats back to the location where they were trapped, due to local opposition. Instead, they have a barn cat program to re-home the cats.

I asked the LCHS representative if 2012 was the shelter’s first year of a 90% or better live release rate, and she said that the shelter had followed the same policies for several years but last year was the first time that they had a computer system to track their statistics. She mentioned that Lincoln County is rural and not wealthy, with high unemployment, and that an important part of their program was a Petsmart grant that provides low-income spay-neuter services and vaccinations. The county does not have any breed bans and does not have a mandatory spay-neuter rule.

Lincoln County, WI, is counted in the Running Totals as a 90%+ community.

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