Welcome to the new KCHA!
KCHA is committed to saving the lives of animals through sheltering, adoption, foster care, spay and neuter programs, cruelty prevention, and community outreach.
Guided by compassion, KCHA will become a leader in progressive animal sheltering, eliminating unwarranted euthanasia, and create a community that celebrates the human-animal bond.
Prior to September 1, 2013, Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association (KCHA), like too many shelters nationwide, was a hopeless place. For years the shelter merely existed, confined by antiquated policies and procedures with little desire for progress. The save rate dwindled as low as 31%. A change needed to happen.
A new administration came on board, revamped all the out-dated policies, and dedicated to lifesaving in September 2013. KCHA’s save rate climbed to 63% in the few short months of change that year.
We dismantled our crematorium as a symbol of our commitment to saving lives.
For 2015, our focus shifted beyond quantity of care to quality. We shifted our focus to programs like TNR, pet retention, behavior evaluations, and enrichment. This focus on quality of animal care actually helped further our life-saving efforts.
We welcomed Julie Hypes as our Animal Behaviorist, providing behavior modification training to dogs at risk of euthanasia. Daily playgroups, in-kennel enrichment, toys, and treats help pets overcome kennel-related stress. Happy pets are healthy pets! The result? Less than 1% of dogs admitted to KCHA are euthanized for aggression.
Expanding on quality, KCHA on-boarded a veterinarian and medical team devoted solely to shelter medicine. Cat save rates climbed. Every animal is now spayed/neutered BEFORE they leave our facility! No concerns about compliance rates of a voucher, no nightmares of someone using our animals for breeding and puppy mills.
A devastating flood washed through our region. Our team jumped into action to help with disaster relief – helping us further save lives and establish our organization within our community as a resource and ally for those in need.
As recognition of our 2016 flood relief efforts, we were honored to receive the Paul Jolly Compassion Award. The Lovey has, and continues to be, a shining beacon and reminder that we can save lives – no matter the adversity set before us.
Our public, low-cost spay/neuter & wellness clinic, Fix Charleston, opened. To date they have performed over 16,000 surgeries, and seen over 20,000 pets for their wellness needs.
Our Care-a-Van took its maiden voyage! The Care-a-Van is equipped to bring KCHA’s lifesaving services to the hills and hollers who need them most – spay/neuter, adoptions, vaccine and wellness clinics, cruelty investigations, and disaster response.
Kitten nursery opened - run by volunteers, our kitten nursery has helped our organization expand our efforts and increase our save rate on those fragile fuzz balls. Our kitten save rate soared from 75% to 87%!
After receiving a grant from the Department of Agriculture for Fix Charleston, we jumped into action for data gathering to best serve our region. Within 24 hours, the application yielded 291 applicants requesting spay/neuter for 902 pets. Of those, 66% had never seen a veterinarian. Of those who had seen a veterinarian, 45% had not seen a veterinarian in more than one year. In total, the $16,666 grant subsidized 305 spay/neuter surgeries and 187 rabies vaccinations.
Our local Petco invited us on to be an in-store adoption partner with their cat habitats! This experience, which we call “The Petco Penthouse,” has been amazing for our cats. We were able to reduce length of stay, reach more adopters, and share the love of our cats with our local Petco store associates. Together, we adopted almost 80 cats from the habitats of our Petco store, along with additional pets adopted from adoption weekends!
June of 2019, we were bestowed a phenomenal grant award from The Petco Foundation for $750,000, dispersed over the next 3 years in installments. Talk about life-changing for life-saving! While we are so thankful for the investment, there is still more work to be done - we buckled down to make those precious dollars stretch as far as possible.
Everyone knows COVID has been challenging. Every field has faced their unique struggles. We are incredibly fortunate that our community remembered how we helped in 2016 with disaster relief and came to the aid of our pets. We expanded our foster network to over 1,200 families, moved every single pet into foster care, and continued supporting our community by being allies. We offered a food bank for those struggling, continued to take in animals lost, sick, injured, and in need. We increased our pet retention efforts to keep pets in homes through our mandatory stay-at-home order. Our community banded together, people and pets, to get through this pandemic safely.
- We welcomed our new Executive Director, Bethany Hively!
- Beginning to get back to "normal," we were thrilled to be able to be in our community once again! Attending events like baseball games, Live on the Levee, and other community functions - we were excited to see animal lovers supporting shelter pets!
- In another Hurricane Relief effort (this time Hurricane Ida), KCHA traveled to Tennessee to meet displaced shelter pets evacuating from Mississippi. We transported 26 pets, 15 of which went on with other rescue organizations in an immense effort to help these animals.
Every day at KCHA is a new adventure. We strive to continue progressing for the best quality of care and the most modern practices for animal sheltering. Together, we can make this organization the best it’s ever been – and save more lives!
KCHA is a private, tax-exempt organization who relies on compassionate donors for 80% of our funding. We are not a government agency, and do not receive general operating support from national organizations.