May 26, 2021

Today Marks 100 Years of Helping People Help Animals


DCHS staff, volunteers, and animals celebrated our 100th anniversary this May 26!

Bruno investigated the baked delicacy in front of him with his huge wet nose as he stood on the grass outside Dane County Humane Society (DCHS). Eventually, the special-made dog cake found its way into the mouth of the four-month old male hound mix, who made sure he devoured the whole thing before returning to his living quarters at the shelter.

DCHS, located at 5132 Voges Road in Madison, celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 26. Bruno and two other dogs named Robyn and Oreo were fed the tasty cake by Executive Director Pam McCloud Smith as staff and volunteers looked on.

It was another example of how DCHS has consistently helped animals in need by providing refuge, healing and new beginnings for animals in their care.

According to Amy Good, Director of Development and Marketing at DCHS, the support of the community has helped keep the shelter in operation for a century.

“Our 100-year journey at DCHS has been remarkable. Together with the hands and hearts of so many community members who have volunteered, donated, or adopted, we have evolved today into one of the nation’s leading animal welfare organizations,” Amy said. “We’re excited to imagine the next 100 years of DCHS, remaining an innovative organization that responds to the needs of our community.”

A special 100-themed meal for one of our wildlife patients.

Ida Kittleson, the wife of Madison mayor Milo Kittleson, was a major influence behind the start of DCHS in 1921. Ida would often find stray dogs and cats on the streets of Madison and take them to the basement of her house.

The humane society moved to its first permanent location at Pennsylvania Avenue on Madison’s east side in the 1960s. After the building proved to be too small for the number of animals it was taking in, construction began on a new shelter at the Voges Road location. DCHS moved there in 2000.

Currently, the humane society adopts about 4,000 pets a year including dogs, cats, rats, mice, guinea pigs, and other creatures.

Walk-in service was put on hold in spring 2020 after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it was forced to reduce its volunteer capacity, the organization has been meeting with adopters through appointments on its website.

The 29-acre DCHS campus also includes a Wildlife Center, which annually rehabilitates up to 5,000 injured wild animals such as reptiles and rare exotic birds.

The shelter is not a part of any government or larger animal welfare agency. DCHS is a local animal shelter supported by generous donors and businesses in the area.

In 2019, DCHS opened a thrift store on Madison’s west side that provides additional financial support.

Amy said she envisions that the mission of DCHS will remain consistent over the next 100 years.

“No matter what the next century brings, we’ll always act in the spirit of helping people help animals,” she said.

Learn more about DCHS's 100 year history.

Click here for more photos and video of our celebrations.

Adoptable cat, Jamal, got in on the fun with his party hat!

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