“Whatcom Humane Society must move into a new wildlife rehabilitation center in order to continue to efficiently operate and provide care and core services to injured, abandoned and abused native wildlife in our community. There simply is no other option.”
The Whatcom Humane Society has been providing care and comfort to homeless, unwanted and abused animals in Whatcom County since 1902. 115 years later, our non-profit organization continues our lifesaving work and mission which states: The Whatcom Humane Society: Advocates for animals; Educates the community to promote humane treatment and respect for animals; Provides for abandoned, injured, abused or neglected animals.
The Whatcom Humane Society operates a state-of-the art domestic animal shelter in Bellingham, (built in 2013), a 10 acre horse/livestock facility in northeast Whatcom County and a wildlife rehabilitation center in Everson. Over 4,800 domestic, farm and wild animals come through our shelter doors in need of care annually.
CURRENT SITUATION & SERVICES
Since 2014 the Whatcom Humane Society has provided wildlife rehabilitation services to injured and orphaned wildlife in need.
The WHS wildlife rehabilitation center is licensed and permitted to operate by the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife and the United States Fish & Wildlife Department . The center employs specially trained staff, including two State licensed and permitted wildlife rehabilitators and a licensed veterinary technician. The center is supported by dedicated seasonal and year-round volunteers and interns who assist staff and help maintain the center’s daily operations.
The goal at the WHS wildlife rehabilitation center is to rehabilitate and release animals back into their native habitat and educate the community about how to humanely co-exist with wildlife.
This past year, the wildlife rehabilitation center provided medical treatment, care, comfort and services to over 2,100 native wild animals including: deer, bald eagles, swans, owls, hawks, opossums, raccoons, skunk, robins, crows, ducks, squirrels, beavers, marine mammals, seagulls and rabbits.
The center is funded entirely by private donations and receives no State, City or County funds.
The center is staffed 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The current facility is tiny and cramped with no ventilation system, outdated acoustics, an ever-failing septic system, and indoor/outdoor animal housing areas that is difficult for staff to disinfect. In addition, the current wildlife rehabilitation center was poorly designed for animals, staff and volunteers, thus hampering daily operations. Crucial areas for veterinary care, work stations, storage, humane education and meeting spaces are either too small or non – existent. The option to remodel or rebuild the facility is not realistic or cost effective.
The reality is that the Whatcom Humane Society must move into a new wildlife rehabilitation center in order to continue to efficiently operate and provide care and core services to injured, abandoned and abused native wildlife in our community. There simply is no other option.
NEW WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER BUILDING PROJECT
As most Whatcom Humane Society supporters know, WHS has been working diligently for the past few years to design, fundraise and build a new wildlife rehabilitation center on the property behind our Division Street domestic animal shelter. The current WHS wildlife rehabilitation center is located on property owned by the Whatcom County parks department. An old house, it is tiny and cramped with no ventilation system, outdated acoustics, an ever-failing septic system, and indoor/outdoor animal housing areas that is difficult for staff to disinfect. In addition, the current wildlife rehabilitation center was poorly designed for animals, staff and volunteers, thus hampering daily operations. Crucial areas for veterinary care, work stations, storage, humane education and meeting spaces are either too small or non – existent. The option to remodel or rebuild that facility is not realistic or cost effective.
We had been planning for what seemed like forever to construct a new state-of-the art wildlife rehabilitation center that would provide our staff and volunteers with the resources needed to care for thousands of orphaned and injured wildlife in need. Over the past several months we had completed all the required federal, state and local wetland/environmental studies for the property, finalized building designs and applied for the various permits needed to begin construction. During this time, it became very clear that the cost to construct a modest building and outbuildings on our property were much more costly than originally thought and additional costs involving wetlands, utilities, easements with the neighbors, etc. continued to increase significantly. In light of these escalating costs, the WHS board of directors decided to seek alternative possibilities for a wildlife center site to ensure WHS was making the best and most responsible choices possible for the animals in our care as well as with our donor funds.
An exhaustive search took place and an amazing alternative site was located. Thanks to the invaluable assistance of some of our longtime supporters, we were quickly able to review county building records, zoning requirements, have the property inspected and tour the property several times with real estate professionals, our contractor and others. The 40 acre property (yes 40 acres!) located on Mission Road in Bellingham, currently has a 6 bedroom “lodge” and multiple outbuildings including pole buildings, barns, greenhouses – and is fully fenced. The property may be familiar to some who have lived in Whatcom County for years – it’s the old Anderson Creek Lodge. It’s a fantastic property and located only 12 minutes from our Division Street shelter. The property is large enough to move our wildlife rehabilitation center (with a conditional use permit from the county and some remodeling and upgrades to the lodge and outbuildings) this year and in the next 1-2 years, also relocate our farm facility to the property as well. It’s an ideal and absolutely beautiful property that fits so many of our current and future needs.
This past August, we were able to purchase the property. So exciting!
There are so many amazing things about this property but one of the best things is that WHS will actually save money by purchasing, remodeling and moving onto this land instead of building a facility on the Division Street property – AND – we will own additional land and facilities, have more room to help more animals, expansive space to expand as needed to provide services for animals for generations to come.
The WHS owned property behind our Division Street shelter will continue to be used to provide much needed quiet space and walking trails for our shelter dogs, dog walkers, potential adopters and host our annual and super popular Dog Days of Summer Festival in the future.
We are so grateful to so many people who worked quickly to make this new reality possible. Many thanks to our longtime banking partners at Heritage Bank for their invaluable assistance. This project would not have happened without the guidance and support of our friends and supporters Wayne & Max Kwiatkowski, Coldwell Banker Bain. Wayne & Max were so excited to help WHS with this project that they are generously matching donations made to the wildlife center building project dollar for dollar up to $10,000 this fall. WOW!
The Whatcom Humane Society wishes to provide public recognition for persons, companies and organizations that generously support our efforts to move into a new facility. Current naming opportunities include:
LARGE BIRD REHAB FLIGHT CAGE
SMALL BIRD REHAB FLIGHT CAGE
INDOOR WILDLIFE CARE ROOMS
INDOOR BABY BIRD CARE ROOM
OUTDOOR WATER FOWL ENCLOSURE
OUTDOOR MAMMAL ENCLOSURES
MARINE MAMMAL ENCLOSURE
INDOOR/OUTDOOR MAMMAL ENCLOSURES
KITCHEN/FOOD PREP AREA
SPONSORED – Thank You Erin Vitaljic!
SPONSORED – Thank You Mancha Family!
SPONSORED – In Memory of Mary “June” Shilleto
$25,000.00 each (3 total)
SPONSORED – Thank you Friends of the Animals!
$25,000.00 each (3 total)
SPONSORED – In Memory of Reed Merrill
$TBA (3 total)