The purpose of this Society shall be the prevention of cruelty to animals, the relief of suffering among animals and the extension of humane education about animal welfare.
The mission of this Society is to unite animals and people in the community to enrich their lives and to advocate for compassion and kindness toward animals and people everywhere.
Board of Directors:
President – Suzy Crook
Vice President – Shari Sherwood
Treasurer – Sally Sroda
Executive Director – Kathy Hodge
Immediate Past President – Terry Derting
Leslie Jackson, DVM
Emily Cook, Animal Control Officer
Located in Calloway County in rural western Kentucky, the Humane Society of Calloway County’s history began with a telephone conversation in early spring, 1975: Society co-founder Keith Heim called Bobs Hopper, host of WNBS’s “Breakfast Show.” They discussed the need for an organization to speak out for animals in Calloway County because many people in the community were concerned about animal cruelty and deplorable conditions at the county dog pound. Together with Jean Blankenship and Carole Hahn, they laid plans to sample interest in forming a humane society.
The first public meeting, in mid-April 1975, drew a large crowd of 50 or more. Bylaws were adopted and officers were elected on June 30, but by that time the Society’s work had already begun. Committees had started to raise funds and improve pound conditions. Others boarded animals in their homes.
The Society became an official non-profit organization in the summer of 1975, with Richard Baker as president and Keith Heim, vice president. Charter members were Freddie and Peggy Allgood, Richard and Pat Baker, Macon and Jean Blankenship, Tom and Barbara Brown, Doris Conner, Helen Farar, Keith Heim, Harold and Bobs Hopper, Ruby Meadows, Daniel and Caroline Rodden, Edith Sheeks, and Gordon and Norma Wirt.
Three main goals, stated in the original Society Bylaws, are (1) the relief of animal suffering, (2) the prevention of cruelty, and (3) the extension of humane education. One of the first orders of business for the fledgling group was to petition to have a shelter built. With considerable help from then-Judge Executive Robert O. Miller, the shelter on East Sycamore Ext. became a reality in 1978.
The Humane Society ran the shelter under contract with the Calloway County Fiscal Court. The County owned the facility as well as the land it stands upon, and it bore some operating costs; the Humane Society paid the rest. The Society introduced standards of care and pet adoption policies recommended by leading national animal welfare organizations. Because KY laws make no provisions for shelter cats, the Society paid entirely for their care. There was no public money; it was funded one bake sale and one membership drive at a time. The shelter became a model of its kind, a place Calloway Countians could point to with pride.
At first, all shelter workers volunteered their time; the great workload and responsibility eventually made it necessary to pay part-time workers, including a full-time manager. But for most of the early years, the shelter and its part-time staff were managed by volunteer Shawn Maxwell.
In 1996, the Society approached the Fiscal Court with a plan for supporting shelter costs through increased license fees and stricter enforcement of laws and ordinances regarding animals. The County chose not to negotiate its contract with the Society, so the Society turned over the keys to the County in July 1996, and the County took over shelter operation.
The Humane Society continues to assist the shelter, providing funds for veterinary care of Shelter animals, and software for shelter operation and animal control. It also works with the County’s Animal Control Officer through the Society’s Animal Assistance and Good Samaritan Programs.
As a non-sheltered organization, the Society has grown into a large, multi-faceted entity. It remains committed to educational outreach, the Spay/Neuter Program’s “Fixed For Life” program and the Pet Assisted Therapy program. New projects include pet-owner Animal Assistance, microchip ID clinics, canine obedience classes, Trap/Neuter/Return program for feral cats and PetSafe to aid victims of domestic violence.
In 2003, the Society realized that a physical location and a paid staff person were essential for growth. Office space was rented in the Weaks Community Center and Kathy M. Hodge was hired as its first part-time executive director.
In 2005, the Society established a robust fostering program and began providing adoption services, receiving most of the foster animals from the animal shelter.
While the look of the Society has changed over the years, its mission and goals have not. It still works to reduce suffering of animals and people, to extend humane education, and to eliminate cruelty to animals. We still do this through the support of volunteers and donors as an independent grassroots animal welfare organization.