About Whatcom Humane Society

Statement of Principle

The Whatcom Humane Society believes that all animals, as sentient beings, have value beyond economic measurements and are entitled to legal, moral, and ethical consideration and protection.


All animals in our community are treated with kindness, respect, and compassion.


  • Advocate for animals
  • Educate the community to promote humane treatment and respect for animals
  • Provide for abandoned, injured, abused or neglected animals


All domestic animals in Whatcom County have permanent, responsible, and loving homes.
All animals, regardless of species are treated with respect and compassion.
WHS operates a state-of-the-art shelter facility and resource center.
WHS is widely recognized and respected as a core service in the community.
WHS educational programs promote responsible animal care and prevent abuse, neglect, and overpopulation.


The Whatcom Humane Society (WHS) has been caring for animals throughout Whatcom County since 1902.

As the oldest non-profit animal welfare organization in Whatcom County, WHS is committed to caring for any animal in need.

As an open-admission animal shelter, WHS turns no animal away, regardless of the animals age, breed, temperament, physical or medical condition.

Our dedicated staff and volunteers care for approximately 4,500 domestic, wild and farm animals annually. We currently operate 3 shelter facilities – a domestic animal shelter, a wildlife rehabilitation center and a farm facility.

In addition, WHS provides 24 hour a day animal control & rescue services for the majority of Whatcom County including the Cities of Bellingham, Ferndale, Blaine, Sumas, Everson, unincorporated Whatcom County and has relationships with both the Lummi & Nooksack Indian Reservations.

Number of animals brought to our domestic animal shelter in 2022

Number of hours in a day that Animal control officers are available for your calls.

Injured trumpeter swans were brought into the WHS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center last year.


What is an Open-Admission Shelter?

The Whatcom Humane Society has always been and will always remain, an open-admission shelter. This means that we accept any animal in need regardless of the animals’ age, temperament, breed, medical conditions, physical conditions or the amount of space available in our shelter facilities.

Is WHS a “no-kill” shelter?
No! The Whatcom Humane Society is not a “no-kill” or limited admission shelter. We are an open-admission shelter, taking in all animals in need. In order to operate a “no-kill” facility, an organization must limit the number of animals it receives to those it has the resources to care for and the room to house at any given time. In a world where there are many more animals in need of homes than there are homes available, a “no-kill” or “limited admission” shelter can only maintain that status by turning some animals away. Those denied admission must be taken elsewhere to be adopted or euthanized. While “no-kill” shelters help some of the animals in a community, they cannot meet the needs of many of the stray or at-risk animals that are served by an “open-admission” facility like the Whatcom Humane Society. “No-kill” or “limited admission” facilities can only function well in communities that have an open admission shelter.
What do I do if I find a stray animal or see an animal in need?
If you find a stray animal or see an animal in need, please contact our animal control & rescue department at (360) 733-2080, extension # 3017 for assistance.
How long are stray animals held at Whatcom Humane Society?
Stray animals that are picked up or brought to the shelter without identification are held for a minimum of 3 – 5 days, not counting the day they came into the shelter or Tuesday and holidays. Those animals that come into the shelter wearing identification are held a minimum of 10 days. When stray animals are admitted, we make every attempt to locate their owner(s).If the animal is not claimed by the end of the stray holding period, he/she becomes the property of WHS and is carefully evaluated to determine whether he/she will be made available for adoption or euthanized. Factors taken into consideration upon making this decision often include the animal’s age, health, temperament and physical condition, as well as the amount of space available at the shelter.
How long do animals stay up for adoption at Whatcom Humane Society?
WHS has no set time that an animal stays at the shelter. Each animal is treated as an individual and evaluated on an individual basis. We will hold an animal as long as necessary providing there are resources available and the animal is physically and psychologically healthy. WHS has a large network of “foster homes” that animals are placed into for various reasons including age, health and space available at the shelter.
What is the Whatcom Humane Society’s Animal Wellness Plan?
The Whatcom Humane Society heightened its commitment to caring for animals by incorporating a comprehensive Animal Wellness Plan which includes:

  • Full time veterinarian provides in-house veterinary services for shelter animals five days a week.
  • Each animal receives a thorough physical examination by a trained animal care technician. The animal is given a “report card” that is monitored twice daily. The “report card” allows WHS staff and volunteers to observe the animal’s appetite, energy level, stool, general health and other daily activities, thus making it easier to notice changes in the animal that need to be further evaluated.
  • When necessary, each animal has a medical treatment plan prescribed by the veterinarian.

Several veterinary hospitals are now offering a free one-time basic exam with each WHS adoption. New adopters present the veterinary hospital with a copy of the animal’s WHS medical card at their initial appointment. This partnership benefits everyone as the participating veterinary hospitals increase their client base while WHS is assured that adopters are getting started on the “right paw” by taking their new companion animal to the vet.

How is it decided which animals will be up for adoption and which will be euthanized?
After the initial holding period, most animals that are relatively healthy and temperamentally sound will be made available for adoption. Those animals that would not qualify for adoption are those with aggressive behavior or those whose physical state involves pain or ongoing suffering. WHS works with rescue groups and with other shelters to place animals in appropriate homes.
What is euthanasia and how is it done?
Euthanasia is the act of facilitating a good death. Dogs are euthanized by an intravenous injection of an overdose of sodium pentobarbital. In approximately eight seconds the dog is rendered unconscious and the entire system shuts down within a few minutes. Cats are euthanized by an intraperitoneal injection. While this process takes longer, it is less stressful than an intravenous injection for cats. The euthanasia process requires a trained and certified technician. The procedure is a quick and painless one.

What do you want to know about the shelter?


Here are the great people who work hard behind the scenes at Whatcom Humane Society.

Our Staff


Executive Director,

Laura Clark

Andrea Merrill
Julia Pollock

Dana Berger

Humane Education
Alaina Rhodes

Fundraising and Donor Engagement
Paige España, Manager

Volunteer & Outreach Services
Auna Carter, Manager

Animal Care & Shelter Services
Ainsley Hay, Companion Animal Care Manager
Mark Henry, Shelter Services Supervisor
Amy Wilkinson, Behavior & Enrichment Specialist, Lead Animal Care Tech
Gabby Whitehall, Lead Animal Care Tech
Hayley Vanderveen, Lead Animal Care Tech
Leila Parnell, Lead Animal Care Tech
Sawyer Lanto, Foster Care Coordinator
Zoe Bartsch
Jillian Cobb
Emma Bocook
Allison Lukas
Becca Martin,
Kate Hawley
Mikayla Spencer
Haylie Northouse
Ben Hayes
Chandler Privitt
Gwen Stone
Shyanne Thomas
Katie Thorsell
Victoria Meadowlark

Wildlife Rehabilitation Services

Alysha Evans, Manager, Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator, L.V.T.
Annie Muller, wildlife care tech
Renata Luders, wildlife care tech
Anna Schwabe, wildlife care tech
Ashley Austin, wildlife care tech
Rachel Costello, volunteer/intern coordinator, wildlife care tech

Animal Control & Rescue / Field Services

Paul Evans, Manager
Kyle Berger, Supervisor
Carrie Anderson
Shelby Myhre
Kelsey Fast, ACO in Training (RCW 16.52.025)
Nate Flowers, ACO in Training (RCW 16.52.025)

Thrift Shop
Dana Browne, Manager
Jo Williams
Veterinary Services
Karen Rounds, DVM
Sarah Hansen

Our Board

Monthly meetings of the WHS board of directors are held the 4th Thursday of each month.

Board Members
Janet Hofmann, President
Kim Rice, Vice President
Victoria Savage, Treasurer/Secretary
Michael Berres
Dan Claffey
Deborah Dial-Monroe
Scott Rice
Jane Talbot
Kevin Williamson
Stephen Zylstra

How to Contact the Board
To contact the board, please write
c/o: Whatcom Humane Society Board of Directors
2172 Division Street
Bellingham, WA 98226

For additional information, please email director@whatcomhumane.org.

Proposed changes to WHS ByLaws:

Department Directory

Main Phone:  (360) 733-2080

Laura Clark, Executive Director
director@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3026

Animal Control & Rescue
animalcontrol@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3017

Shelter Operations
operations@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3024

Adoptions/Customer Service
adoptions@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3001

licensing@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3017

Volunteer & Outreach Services
volunteer@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3075

Humane Education
outreach@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3116

Special Events/Fundraising
events@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3014

admin@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3002

finance@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3021

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
wildlife@whatcomhumane.org / (360) 966-8845

Farm Facility

It’s a labor of love.


Job Opportunities at WHS

The Whatcom Humane Society seeks individuals highly motivated toward the welfare of ALL animals.

Animal Control Officer - Full Time

JOB TITLE Animal Control Officer – Full Time

To enforce local and state laws pertaining to animals in the community. To participate in the implementation of other field service, education, and public relations activities for the benefit of animals, always following the established policies, principles, and objectives of the Society.

1. Enforce City, County, and State Animal Control laws.
2. Investigate complaints by the public.
3. Impound stray animals at large, issue citations and written warnings to owners/keepers in violation of local ordinances. Testify in court when necessary.
4. Implement quarantine procedures in cooperation with the Health Dept. for rabies control.
5. Capture, contain, and secure livestock, exotics, vicious dogs, and unusual animals for the safety of the public, transporting when appropriate.
6. Pick up dead animals from private/public designated areas.
7. Inspect/monitor kennels, pet shops, animal fairs, zoos, rodeos, and special events to insure the safety and well-being of the animals.
8. Sell pet licenses.
9. Keep complete records, daily logs, activity reports.
10. Write clear, concise reports.
11. Obtain search and seizure warrants/court orders when warranted.
12. Obtain voluntary statements from witnesses/experts.
13. Secure crime scene. Gathers evidence if applicable.
14. Cooperate with and assist other law enforcement agencies.
15. Maintain regular, open communication with supervisor and other officers.
16. Perform service pick up of unwanted/stray animals that are confined by citizens.
17. Collect fees and contributions when appropriate.
18. Record complete animal information on pickups.
19. Transport animals to shelter, veterinarian, or other when appropriate.
20. Respond to phone calls from the public and dispatch animal control officers to locations county-wide.
21. Respond to emergencies: injured animals – domestic and small wildlife, animals in distress, vicious domestic animals at large, administers first aid/transports to shelter, veterinarian, or owner for treatment or euthanasia.
22. Maintain interior and exterior of vehicle sanitation. Reports mechanical problems to designated person or supervisor.
23. Participate in work related training and education programs both by the Society and other agencies in order to develop or improve work skills.
24. Satisfactorily complete training and certification programs required for performance of duties.
25. Other duties as assigned.

1. High School Graduate or equivalent and minimum two years professional/animal-related experience.
2. Has or can obtain a valid Washington driver’s license.
3. Minimum of 21 years of age
4. Must be eligible for authorization by Police/Sheriff Dept & Superior Court (criminal background check required).
5. Ability to learn and interpret laws and ordinances governing animal care and control and teach others.
6. Demonstrate ability to express ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.
7. Report writing ability to accurately record information in reports. Good spelling and grammar necessary.
8. Knowledge of the characteristics and appearances of common breeds of dogs, cats, and other domestic animals. Skilled in the handling and care of animals.
9. Knowledge of animal control equipment. Able to load and trailer livestock.
10. Ability to work harmoniously with other employees.
11. Ability to perform/assist with humane euthanasia and pass all certifications if necessary, as required by this agency and Washington State law in the use of Sodium Pentobarbital and Legend drugs.
12. Must be in good health, able to pass a physical examination, sit, stand, bend, twist and lift 50+ pounds.
13. Highly motivated toward the welfare and humane treatment of all animals.
14. Successful attendance/completion of WACA or NACA animal control academy (if needed) within 1 year of hire.

Must be able to work irregular hours, shifts, nights (on call after hours shifts), weekends and holidays. Be able to deal with unruly, vicious, and dangerous animals humanely. Be able to deal with a hostile public, a fast paced workload that at times can be stressful. Be able to deal with strenuous physical activity and the emotional drain of the job. Exposure to parasites and infectious diseases.

$18.75 per hour, plus on-call and overtime pay. Benefits including medical/dental, vacation, sick, holiday pay after successful completion of introduction period. Employee Assistance Program.

Send resume and cover letter to:
Whatcom Humane Society
2172 Division Street
Bellingham, WA 98226
Attn: Laura Clark, executive director
Fax # 360-733- 4746
Email: director@whatcomhumane.org


WHS is an equal opportunity employer. Please Note: we use E-verify – www.dhs.gov/e-verify


Animal Control Dispatch [Full Time]

JOB TITLE Animal Control Department Dispatcher

Full-Time 40 HRS PR WK

DEPARTMENT Field Services

ACCOUNTABILITY Animal Control & Rescue Manager

FUNCTIONS Responsible for field services department administrative duties and the daily operation and oversight of the animal control dispatch center. Provide courteous and efficient recording of the concerns and needs of the public, assisting animal control officers in the field in the operation of their job.

1. Works collaboratively with animal control officers and other shelter personnel to achieve an efficient and professional link between the public and animal control and shelter staff.
2. Dispatches field personnel accurately and maintain a safe and helpful link.
3. Prioritize phone calls and dispatch field personnel in the most efficient manner, in an effort to make the public feel they had a positive experience and the animals’ welfare was secured.
4. Maintains radio logs and animal control officer dispatch logs accurately using military time.
5. Knowledge and understanding of the Animal Control Ordinances for Washington State, Whatcom County, the Cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Sumas, Ferndale, and Everson/Nooksack and the Lummi and Nooksack Indian Reservations.
6. Administer, coordinate and process dog and cat licensing forms, online and mail-in daily and provide follow up and communication with the public regarding licensing. Provide daily and monthly reports regarding licensing to operations and finance departments.
7. Maintain regular, open communication with staff from all departments.
8. Provide support and assistance to department manager and supervisor with regards to public records requests.
9. Maintains records, complaints, and concerns accurately.
10. Review daily department on-call reports for accuracy and coordinate officer case follow-up as necessary.
11. Assist and support field services manager with administrative duties as needed.
12. Provide reports and research to executive director as needed.
13. Other duties as assigned.

• High School Graduate or equivalent and minimum two years experience working in an animal control or law enforcement setting and/or using multi-line phone system and various computer databases.
• Minimum of 21 years of age.
• Conflict resolution skills dealing with both personnel and members of the public
• Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a team with minimal supervision
• High degree of discretion dealing with confidential information
• Highly motivated toward the welfare and humane treatment of all animals
• Ability to maintain a positive attitude with other employees, volunteers and members of the public.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including word processing programs and database management.
• Ability to learn, interpret and communicate local and State laws and ordinances governing animal care and control.
• Established experience working in stressful environments utilizing conflict resolution skills.
• Able to sit for long periods of time at desk and computer screen.
• Ability to express ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.
• Ability to multi-task and make decisions under pressure.
• Ability to pass criminal background check.

Be able to deal with a hostile public, a fast paced work load that at times can be stressful. Be able to sit at computer/desk for long periods of time and handle the emotional drain of the job. Exposure to parasites and infectious diseases.

Work hours/schedule is Tuesday thru Saturday 10am – 6pm.

COMPENSATION: $19.50 per hour. Benefits include medical, dental, vision plans – generous paid vacation, sick, holiday pay – retirement plan (403b) with employee matching option. Employee Assistance Program.

To apply: Submit cover letter and resume to:
Laura Clark, Executive Director
2172 Division Street, Bellingham WA 98226
Fax # (360)733-4746

No phone calls please.
WHS is an equal opportunity employer. Please Note: we use E-verify – www.dhs.gov/e-verify



If you LOVE animals, you will LOVE volunteering for Whatcom Humane Society.

A Day in the Life at the Whatcom Humane Society.

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of our domestic animal shelter, wildlife rehabilitation center and farm facility is really like?  Check out this fun, festive music slideshow featuring our staff, volunteers and some paw-some animals and see for yourself!



Published quarterly, our PawPrint Newsletter is a great way to keep up-to-date with the work we are doing for abandoned, injured and abused wild & domestic animals throughout our community.


  Winter 2020 Winter 2019
Summer 2021 Spring 2020 Spring 2019
    Summer 2019
    Fall 2019
Questions about feeding native wildlife?  Read the latest article from our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to get all the info you need to what is best for the wild animals in your area.

Executive Director Laura Clark goes on KAFE 104.1 FM every week with an adoptable animal! See the current and previous Kafe Kritters using the link below.

Featured Pet

Address & Hours

Address:  2172 Division Street, Bellingham, WA  98226
Phone:  (360) 733-2080 ---- Fax:  (360) 733-4746


Shelter Services/Front Office
Open Tuesday thru Sunday 11am – 6pm

Animal Adoption Services and Kennel Viewing
Open Tuesday thru Sunday 11am – 6pm
Adoption counsels stop 1 hour prior to closing

Closed To The Public
Mondays & Major Holidays

Animal Control & Rescue Department: (360) 733-2080 ext 3017

Customer Service: (360) 733-2080 ext 0

Farm Facility:  By Appointment Only

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center:
Not open to the public. Please call for assistance with injured and orphaned wildlife.
(360) 966-8845

WHS Thrift Store Address & Hours


Address: 1534B Birchwood Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225 (Next to Big Lots in the Birchwood Neighborhood)

Open for Shopping: Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 11am - 3pm

Donations Accepted: Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm and Sunday 11am - 2:30pm

New location now open!

Department Directory

Main Phone:  (360) 733-2080

Laura Clark, Executive Director
director@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3026

Animal Control & Rescue
animalcontrol@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3017

Shelter Operations
operations@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3024

Adoptions/Customer Service
adoptions@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3001

licensing@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3010

Volunteer & Outreach Services
volunteer@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3075

Humane Education
outreach@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3116

Special Events/Fundraising
events@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3014

administration@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3002

finance@whatcomhumane.org / ext #3021

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
wildlife@whatcomhumane.org / (360) 966-8845

Farm Facility