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Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association
Charleston, West Virginia

Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association is a nonprofit shelter that holds the contract for Kanawha County and multiple cities within the county, serving a population of approximately 192,000 people. In 2012, the shelter impounded 4,638 cats. Until recently, it killed most of the animals it impounded. The new shelter director sees the need for change and is committed to drastically reducing kill rates and starting a Shelter-Neuter-Return program.

Future Five Progress Bar

Landmark in Lifesaving

August 5, 2014 - KCHA reported that its daily euthanasia rate has dropped to just one a day in 2014. And thanks to lifesaving initiatives, KCHA has euthanized one-tenth the number of animals in 2014 than it did by this time last year. These incredible improvements are a testament to what is possible when shelters are open to change.

Future Five KCHA Landmark in Lifesaving

Boldly Not Accepting Cats

June 2 – When KCHA made the decision to become a lifesaving shelter, they knew there would be times that that meant not taking in animals they did not have room for. Because of the dramatic increase of kittens the shelter received this spring, KCHA had to stop accepting cats in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of the greatest amount of animals. Not accepting cats who the shelter cannot keep is just one more step toward improving cats’ lives – and the shelter has already committed to enforcing more lifesaving policies, including a shelter-neuter-release program, in which they identify feral cats when they are brought into the shelter, neuter them, and then return them to their outdoor homes, and also including TNR education as a part of their intake process.

Fostering 101

Can I crash on your couch?May 31, 2014 – This Saturday, KCHA hosted a free “Fostering 101” information session, encouraging community members to open their homes for short-term care for dogs and cats. Increasing a shelter’s foster network is a lifesaving step in reducing kill rates, because working with the public and recruiting volunteers to foster helps reduce the issue of limited space – which is a common reason shelter’s cite for killing animals in their care.

A Springtime Visit to Charleston

April 31, 2014 – We just got back from a great visit to KCHA! While we were there, Diane Blankenberg of Humane Network hosted two sessions: Building a Foster Network and Building an Animal Help Desk. We also met with the board to discuss instituting surrender by appointment, which would help the shelter manage intake better, and even possibly encourage community members to find someone on their own to adopt their animal.

Pic 1 - bulletin board we saw at KCHA – it helps remind shelter staff each day why their work is so important.
Pic 2 - Cheers, KCHA! Chelsea, Executive Director of the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association, poses with Amanda, Diane, and other shelter staff in front of the KCHA building in Charleston, West Virginia.
Pic 3 - Four boxes of kittens—like this one—came through the shelter’s doors during one day of our visit. With such a high influx of kittens, shelters can fill up quickly and staff can easily become overwhelmed!

Admission by Appointment Only, Please! Four boxes of kittens—like this one—came through the shelter’s doors during one day of our visit. With such a high influx of kittens, shelters can fill up quickly and staff can easily become overwhelmed!

Getting Help From Every Outlet

March 2014 - The internet is an incredible resource for countless organizations, and shelters are no different! KCHA asked people to consider donating an item through their Amazon.com wish list, which they named Puppy & Kitten Shower. Finding inventive ways to recruit donors and engage with the community so that they feel more involved is crucial in growing a shelter’s influence and support.

Workshops and Conferences to Expand Efforts

February 2014 - This month brought great planning and educational opportunities for the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association. Shelter Director Chelsea Staley traveled to the Midwest Veterinary Conference in Ohio to learn how to further expand the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association’s lifesaving work. There was also fantastic collaboration with local organization Feral Paws, helping the rescue group come up with responses to commonly asked questions from the public and plan for future TNR workshops. 

Video Blog:
An Update from Shelter Director Chelsea Staley

January 8, 2014—Chelsea Staley, Director of Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association, provides an update on the shelter’s progress implementing humane approaches to save cats’ lives. Watch the video to learn more—and to see an adorable kitten named Samantha!

Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association Starts Trap-Neuter-Return Program

December 17, 2013—The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association officially started its Trap-Neuter-Return program for outdoor cats today. A cat named Sassy is the first cat to go through the program. Sassy is now the namesake of the program, called the Sassy Cat Project.

Alley Cat Allies Hosts Trap-Neuter-Return Workshop in Charleston, WV

December 16, 2013—Alley Cat Allies staff members perform initial assessment of the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association (KCHA) facility and hold the first Trap-Neuter-Return Workshop—including a humane box trap demonstration and suggested deterrents residents can use to keep cats out of gardens. Channel 13 news attended the workshop.

Alley Cat Allies staff members delivered an SUV full of food, toys, and other supplies to the shelter—all products of a food drive Alley Cat Allies held for KCHA.

Read the press release.

Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association First Shelter Chosen for Future Five Program

November 19, 2013—The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association was chosen as the first of the five participants in Alley Cat Allies Future Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives program. The $5,000 grant for the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association was announced during our National Conference.

“We are deeply honored to be selected as one of the shelters in the Future Five program from Alley Cat Allies,” said Chelsea Staley, shelter director for the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association.

Read the press release.