The Whatcom Humane Society is an open-admission animal shelter providing care and services to domestic, farm and wild animals in Whatcom County including Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Sumas & Everson.
This is what we do


Animal Control and Rescue Services

We provide for all domestic & wild animals throughout Whatcom County.

Pet Licensing

Get your pet a new license or renew an existing one. Use our quick online form or download a form.

Low-Cost Microchip

We offer this lifesaving service for just $30 at our shelter facility. No appointment is necessary!

Surrender an Animal

As an open admission shelter we provide care for all animals in need, regardless of their age, breed or condition.

Pet Adoption

We have lots of great pets looking for permanent, loving, responsible homes. View them here!

Spay & Neuter

We offer a low-cost spay and neuter assistance program (SNAP) for eligible applicants.

Volunteer Programs

Become one of the dedicated volunteers who help us provide care for thousands of animals each year.

Humane Education

K-12 classroom presentations, fun service projects, summer camp, workshops & more!

Animal Control & Rescue

The Whatcom Humane Society Animal Control / Field Services Department is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Services include:

  • Picking up stray, injured, aggressive, dangerous and dead animals.
  • Transportation and impoundment of stray animals to the shelter for impound, or in cases of emergency, to a veterinarian for medical treatment (if WHS staff veterinarian is not available).
  • Administration and enforcement of all animal related laws and ordinances for the Cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Sumas, Everson and unincorporated Whatcom County.
  • Investigation of cruelty and neglect complaints as authorized by State, City and County ordinances.
  • Acting as a liaison for WHS at community events, pet licensing clinics and neighborhood meetings to educate and inform residents about animal welfare issues.

If you are aware of an animal being abused or neglected, please call our Animal Control Office at (360) 733-2080, ext #3017.

If you need assistance after our regular business hours and you have an animal related emergency, such as an animal running in traffic, an injured animal, an animal acting aggressively or you need to report an animal being harmed, please call 911. The 911 dispatcher on duty will contact a WHS animal control officer for further assistance.

Animal Control Emergency?

Online Licensing Form

Choose the number of pets you would like to license today.

Licensing for dogs (and sometimes cats) depends on where you live within Whatcom County. Dogs (4 months or older for certain cities and 7 months of older for Whatcom County) must be licensed within 30 days of being acquired or moving to Whatcom County or a $10 late fee will be applied. Annual license renewals must occur within 30 days of license expiration or a $10 late fee will be applied.

PLEASE NOTE: Effective January 1, 2012 the State of Washington requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated for rabies. The vaccination must be kept current. (WAC 246-100-197 (3))

If you have any questions regarding licensing, or if you no longer own your pet or they have passed away, please e-mail or call (360)733-2080 ext 3010.

Dogs in Bellingham, Blaine & Ferndale

Dogs over 4 months of age living in the city limits of Bellingham, Blaine and Ferndale are required to have a license. Before a license or renewal is issued for any dog, the owner must certify under penalty of perjury that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. A certification of vaccination signed by an accredited veterinarian which shows that the vaccination does not expire prior to the expiration date of the license must be provided upon request.

Low-Income & Service Dog Waivers in Bellingham

If you live within the city limits of Bellingham and think you may qualify for a low-income or service dog license waiver, please e-mail or call (360)733-2080 ext 3010. Low-income and service dogs are required to be licensed with a current rabies vaccination and licensing fees paid for the first year. These waivers only apply to one dog per household.

Licensing in Everson, Lynden, Nooksack & Sumas City Limits

Dogs residing within the city limits of the following cities and tribal areas are licensed separately. Dogs residing outside city limits and these tribal areas are licensed by Whatcom county. Please contact the appropriate office to license your dog:

  • City of Everson – (360) 966-3411
  • City of Lynden – (360) 354-2828
  • City of Nooksack – (360) 966-2531
  • City of Sumas – (360) 647-1980
  • Lummi Nation – (360) 312-2000
  • Nooksack Indian Tribe – (360) 592-9065
Cats in Ferndale

Cat licensing is only required in the city limits of Ferndale.  Cats over 4 months of age living in the city limits of Ferndale are required to have a license. A microchip may be used in place of a license tag for Ferndale cats. The microchip number must be provided at the time of licensing. A certification of rabies vaccination signed by an accredited veterinarian which shows that the vaccination does not expire prior to the expiration date of the license must be provided upon request.

Dogs in Whatcom County

Dogs over 7 months of age living in unincorporated Whatcom County are required to have a license.  While the rabies vaccine is required by law in Washington state, proof is not required for licensing purposes.

Kennel Licenses in Whatcom County

If you have five or more dogs and live in unincorporated Whatcom County, please e-mail or call (360)733-2080 ext 3010.

Licensing Prices & Late Fees
  • Unaltered Dogs - $41 per year
  • Altered (spayed/neutered) Dogs - $11 per year
  • Lost Tag Replacement - $2.00 – License tags do not need to be replaced every year.
  • Late Fee (more than 30 days from when license is first required or expired) - $10

How Much Does it Cost?

The annual license fee for sterilized cats or dogs is $11.

The annual license fee for each unsterilized male or female is $41.


Low-Cost Microchip

We offer this lifesaving service for just $30 at our shelter facility. No appointment is necessary!

The gate was left open...

Low Cost Microchip Clinic

1 in 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime.  Although no bigger than a grain of rice, this permanent form of identification could be your pet’s ticket home if this ever happens to them. We offer this lifesaving service for just $30.00 every day at our shelter facility.  No appointment necessary!

Spay & Neuter

Whatcom Humane Society offers a low-cost spay and neuter program called SNAP for eligible applicants.

We need to get her fixed!

Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP)

Thank you for your interest in the Whatcom Humane Society’s low-cost spay/neuter program (SNAP).

If you are interested in having your companion animal spayed or neutered, please fill out the SNAP application below and return to the shelter.  Upon receipt of your completed application a WHS staff member or volunteer will contact you to review your application, discuss payment options and schedule an appointment for your animal.  You can find a breakdown of associated fees here.

Completed SNAP applications can be emailed to:

Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet There are many compelling reasons to spay or neuter your pet. Find out why spaying and neutering is good for you, your pet, and your community!  Click here for more information.

End of Life Services

Our trained staff can provide a humane, dignified end to your pet’s life.

He is suffering...

End of Life Pet Euthanasia Services

We understand how difficult it can be to say goodbye to a beloved family companion. We encourage you to discuss this decision with your veterinarian and, if possible, have your veterinarian perform end of life services for your pet. If you do not have a veterinarian, are low-income or otherwise find your pet in need of end of life services, our compassionate, caring and trained staff can help. The Whatcom Humane Society offers humane euthanasia services for ill or suffering companion animals by appointment only. You may choose to stay and be present with your animal if you like.

Our euthanasia service fees are as follows:

Cats & Small Animals:  $50.00
Dogs Under 50 lbs:  $75.00
Dogs Over 50 lbs:  $100.00

All fees include communal cremation.  Additional fees are required for private cremation.

If this is a financial hardship for you, please discuss with our customer service department at the time you call to schedule an appointment.  For additional information or to make an appointment, contact our Customer Service Department at (360)733-2080, ext # 0. Cremation Services and pet memorial options are also available at Radiant Heart After-Care for Pets in Bellingham.

Monthly WHS Pet Loss Support Group

When your beloved companion animal dies, it’s natural to feel grief and sadness, even depression. Our free monthly pet loss support group offers support and help to anyone grieving the death, loss or terminal illness of a beloved companion animal.  Visit our Pet Loss Support Group page for more information.

Surrender an Animal

We realize how difficult it may have been for you to come to us to surrender your animal. Because of the significance of your decision, we want to ensure that you thoroughly understand our policies on surrendered animals.

Eligibility Criteria

It is important to know that the Whatcom Humane Society (WHS) is an open-admission humane society, this means that we will accept ANY animal that comes into us. Because of this, our facility accepts an average of over 3,700 domestic animals each year, not including many farm animals that are also brought into our facilities. Sadly, there are not enough homes for all of these animals. Whatcom County, and our country as a whole, are still suffering a tragic pet overpopulation problem, with an average 1.5 million animals being euthanized annually nationwide because new homes are not available. At WHS our goal is to find a loving family for every animal but unfortunately there are simply more animals than there are people who want to adopt them.

It is essential that you understand this information and that you understand that you are transferring ownership of this animal to WHS when you surrender him/her to the shelter. After you surrender your animal, our staff will examine and evaluate the animal to determine whether he/she can be placed into our adoption program. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to make him/her available for adoption as much will depend on his/her health, temperament/behavior, and availability of space in our adoption kennels. Even if he/she is made available for adoption, we cannot guarantee that someone will choose to adopt him/her.

The following is a list of conditions under which an animal may not be placed for adoption:

  • They are under 8 weeks of age.
  • Their advanced age is causing extreme medical or physical problems.
  • They are in poor general health or physical condition.
  • Their temperament or behavior is such that they are not safe around humans or other animals.
  • They are showing signs of extreme stress due to being placed in a kennel environment.
  • They show signs of contagious/communicable disease that could infect other animals.
  • There is no space available in the adoption kennels.

Depending on the specifics of the animal’s condition and availability of space, some animals may be placed in foster care until they are old enough to be made available for adoption, held for treatment/observation before being evaluated for adoption, or transferred to other facilities for potential adoption placement.

Adoption Duration

At WHS every effort is made to find loving homes for animals in our adoption program. Once an animal is placed into our adoption program there is no set holding period.  Animals may remain available for adoption for a day, week, month, or longer.  Animals available for adoptions may be euthanized if there is a decline in their health, temperament, or physical condition or or if space becomes limited and we need to make room for new incoming animals and there are no placement options with other rescue groups or facilities.

If you wish to inquire about this animal, you may do so by calling the shelter at (360) 733-2080 ext.0.  Please save your surrender paperwork to assist us in providing you with information.

Pet Personality Profiles

If you decide to surrender your pet to the Whatcom Humane Society, please complete the personality profile below and bring it with you to the shelter.  Please leave your animal(s) in the car when you arrive.  Once paperwork is complete, staff will ask you to bring them in.  Our surrender fee is $50. If this fee is a hardship for you, please call customer service at (360) 733-2080 ext 3001.

Dog Personality Profile

Cat Personality Profile

Small Animal Personality Profile

If your dog has growled at, air snapped, or bitten a person or animal please complete these additional forms:

Dog Bite Questionnaire: DOG TO HUMAN BITE

Dog Bite Questionnaire: DOG TO ANIMAL BITE

Our country as a whole, is suffering a tragic pet overpopulation problem, with 10 million animals being euthanized nationwide each year because new homes are not available.

Thank you for your interest in Volunteering!

Whatcom Humane Society cares for thousands of animals each year, and we couldn’t do it without the help of our dedicated volunteers.

How to Get Started

If you are ready to commit to helping animals in our community complete the steps below to get involved:

  • Read through the Volunteer Handbook.
  • Review the dates of the next available Information Sessions.
  • RSVP and attend the Information Session that fits your schedule.
  • Complete a WHS Volunteer Application.
  • Complete the required hands-on training session(s) for the position that interests you.
  • Become a valued member of our volunteer team!

Due to the number of inquiries we receive, there is no wait list for information sessions.

Potential Volunteers MUST:

  • Be 16+ years old
  • Make a 6 month commitment
  • Be available to volunteer at least 2 hours per week
  • Be able to squat, bend, twist, lift and stand for long periods of time
  • Be committed to treating animals and people with compassion and respect

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate volunteers looking to fulfill community service hours or students completing culminating projects.

Volunteer Opportunities

We have opportunities for every talent and skill level, including (but not limited to):

  • Dog TLC (must be 18 years old)
  • Cat TLC
  • Small Animal TLC
  • Farm Animal Friend (must be 18 years old)
  • Indoor & Outdoor Maintenance Assistant
  • Special Events/Fundraising
  • Foster Care Provider – click here for more information!
  • Wildlife Care Assistant (must be 18 years old)
  • New ~ Thrift Shop Opportunities!

Please be sure to review all of the Volunteer Opportunities in detail before choosing a position.

Other Ways You Can Help
Too young to volunteer?  Or perhaps you don’t have the time to commit to weekly visits?  There are plenty of other ways you can help the animals!  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Host a gift drive for the animals collecting collars, leashes, toys, etc. (see our wish list for ideas!)
  • Host a food drive in your school, work place, church or neighborhood
  • Host a movie night for friends and have the “admission fee” be a donation for WHS
  • Bake dog treats and donate them to the shelter – OR have a doggie bake sale!
  • Create cat toys for the shelter cats (Pinterest has great options!)
  • Host a fundraiser (lemonade stand, bake sale, garage sale, etc) and donate the funds to WHS
  • Sponsor an animal (click here for details)
  • Be a kind consumer.  Learn more about finding cruelty free products!
  • Become a foster family.  You have to be 18, but it’s a great family opportunity!  At least one parent must attend a Volunteer Info Session.

You can also reach out to the Whatcom Volunteer Center for information about other opportunities in the community.  You will find them at or 360-735-3055.


Help Wanted:

While we can’t accept new volunteers at most of our facilities right now, we do have positions open at our new Thrift Shop.  Please read through the program details and thrift shop volunteer opportunities to the left.  If any of these positions sounds like a good fit for you and your schedule, please contact Carly at  

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