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Wisconsin Humane Society staffing shortages: Ozaukee County facility at 'breaking point'

The Wisconsin Humane Society’s Ozaukee County campus has reached a point where it must halt adoptions because it doesn't have enough workers.
Wisconsin Humane Society
Posted at 3:42 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 18:36:24-04

Many animal shelters around the country are in crisis. They have been hurt by post-pandemic staffing shortages and reduced operations.

The Wisconsin Humane Society’s Ozaukee County campus is stopping all adoptions starting this Saturday, because of an extreme staffing shortage.

“We have four to five full-time openings, as well as additional part-time openings, especially for animal care technicians and adoption counselors,” said Angela Speed, Vice President of Communications for Wisconsin Humane Society. “This is a great place to work, but we’re finding it hard to compete with other, bigger businesses and companies hiring. We have openings at every single one of our Wisconsin Humane Society locations.”

Until the open positions at the Saukville location are filled, the limited number of workers who are currently there, must focus their attention on caring for the animals that are there, and new ones brought in. When they are ready for adoption, they’ll be transferred to the Milwaukee, Racine or Green Bay Humane Society campuses.

“We are desperately seeking foster parents,” said Speed. “When we have fewer staff in the building to care for animals, fostering becomes more important than ever. You don’t have to have experience, and you can choose to foster for a short time or a long time. It all helps.”

The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) is also short-staffed. But its biggest challenge is the number of animals being dropped off. It’s more than they’ve seen in years.

“We maybe have like 10 open kennels right now, and we’re probably going to get 30 dogs in today,” said Katie Hartlund with MADACC. “Our workers are completely overwhelmed. When the kennels are full, it takes them five times longer to do their jobs. We are passionate about this work and do what needs to get done together every day, but it’s a lot.”

While TMJ4 was at MADACC, a laundry basket full of kittens was dropped off. There are 350 animals currently housed at MADACC, and another 300 with foster families.

“It’s tied to the current economic times,” said Hartlund. “With inflation, the cost of everything is higher. People love animals, that will never change, but right now, a lot of people are having to make choices between paying for dog food or their mortgage.”

To try and get more of the animals adopted, MADACC is waiving the adoption fee for all dogs over 40 pounds that are already fully vetted (spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and micro-chipped). There is a $12 adoption fee for Milwaukee County residents.

MADACC is also always looking for volunteers. There are options for people to come in and help feed and clean kittens and cats in the morning. Volunteers can also take dogs for a walk outside. MADACC also offers options to take a dog home just for a weekend or foster any of the animals. MADACC’s adoption hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, fostering or adopting an animal, and applying for one of the open positions head to the Wisconsin Humane Society's website for more information.

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