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About Us

Mission & History


WCHS values the human/animal bond, provides stewardship for homeless pets, and promotes compassionate treatment of all companion animals.


Out of deep respect for companion animals, WCHS provides

  • A modern, humane sheltering facility for homeless pets
  • Affordable spay/neuter program
  • Adoption services for homeless animals
  • Community education and opportunities for community service


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 overpopulation 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.

WCHS Timeline

  • 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 and providing care and shelter for abandoned and abused animals.

  • 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.

  • 2001

    Began developing a capital fundraising campaign to build a state-of-the-art animal shelter. A building committee was appointed which collaborated with Best Friends Animal Society in Utah to use their existing design.

  • 2002

    WCHS website was launched to help increase adoptions and better inform the public of our services.

  • 2002

    A professional capital campaign advisor was hired and a feasibility study for the building a new animal shelter was conducted.

  • 2003

    Capital campaign formally organized and collected donations of land, design services, in-kind commitments from private individuals and the construction community, and cash. The building and site plans were submitted to the City of Pullman in July for code and site compliance review. The well and pump were installed, road access to the property was established, and preliminary landscaping was started.

  • 2004

    The land was excavated and space cleared for a future parking lot. Palouse Conservation planted trees at the site. The WCHS Building Committee continued to work on plans to submit the City of Pullman for final approval. Preliminary stages of discussions for a construction loan were held. The building fund received $400,000 from the Gardner estate, bringing the total to $700,000.

  • 2005

    Plans for the project were submitted to the City of Pullman and returned to WCHS for revisions. A site plan was created for submission to the City of Pullman in 2006.

  • 2006

    Work on AnimalHaven was delayed by a number of factors, including the need to design specialized systems unique to an animal shelter. Isolation airflow systems for quarantine, sewer/waste disposal, and the design of the surgery unit were major factors. Permit applications were submitted, reviewed by the City of Pullman, and some were returned for revisions.

  • 2007

    Revisions were successfully completed and the City of Pullman approved the SEPA study in September. Plans for the septic system were submitted and approved by both the City of Pullman and the health department.

  • 2008

    An appeal against the SEPA ruling was dismissed in May. Opening bid meeting for area contractors was held in May and, in June, the building committee selected KACI General Contractors to build the Project. The $2.4 million cost forced the Board of Directors to divide the project into two construction phases in an effort to reduce the initial costs to $1.5 million or less.

  • June 28, 2008

    First meeting with KACI was held.

  • October 4, 2008

    Official groundbreaking ceremony.

  • January 15, 2010

    WCHS Moves animal sheltering operations from Guy Street location to Animal Haven.

  • 2013

    Opening of Pooch Park at Pullman